January 2, 2017


Robert Powell (1944-) b. Salford, Manchester, England.

Robert Powell

Born in Salford, Lancashire, and educated at Manchester Grammar School. It was as a student reading law at Manchester University that Powell walked away before the end of his first year and joined a repertory theatre company in Stoke-on-Trent. He moved down to London and got his big break in the Nigel Kneale-penned BBC Wednesday Play Bam! Pow! Zap! In films from 1967, Powell made his screen debut as an extra in Peter Yates’ Robbery (1967) and later landed his first starring role in the classic heist comedy The Italian Job (1969). His first major success was in the BBC’s sci-fi series Doomwatch in 1970. He followed this up with starring roles in several BBC dramas including Sentimental Education ands an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure.

Back in films he would appear in the Amicus horror Asylum (1972), another horror; The Asphyx (1972) and two Ken Russell films; the title role in Mahler (1974) and later the part of ill-fated Captain Walker in The Who’s rock opera Tommy (1975). He portrayed John Buchan’s reluctant-spy Richard Hannay in a remake of Hitchcock’s The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978), and continued in the role ten-years later in a Thames TV miniseries entitled Hannay.

For several years, Powell continued as a television regular in mini-series including the BAFTA-nominated Jesus of Nazareth, with occasional forays into film, notably James Ivory’s Jane Austen in Manhattan (1980), the David Hemmings directed The Survivor (1981) and Terence Young’s unconvincing Cold-War thriller The Jigsaw Man (1983).

Powell joined forces with his old friend and comedian Jasper Carrott to star as a pair of incompetent detectives in the BBC television series The Detectives. Recently he has been playing nurse Mark Williams in BBC hospital drama Holby City.

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