Merk argiewe: character

Geoffrey Chater: Character actor who appeared in decades of British TV

Geoffrey Chater: Character actor who appeared in decades of British TV
Geoffrey Chater, wat oorlede is 100, appeared in well over 100 TV shows, starting as far back as 70 jare terug

Geoffrey Chater, wat oorlede is 100, was a British character actor whose face was familiar from supporting roles in countless popular TV series and dramas including Heartbeat, Foyle’s War, Dad’s Army, Rumpole of the Bailey, Midsomer Murders en One Foot in the Grave, to name but a few. He was often cast as a pompous authority figure both on stage and in films, most notably as the lascivious gay chaplain in Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 film If…..

Show business was in his blood. He was born Geoffrey Chater Robinson in 1921 in Barnet, Hertfordshire to an actress mother, Peggy, whose stage name was Gwendoline Gwynn. It was seeing her playing the juvenile lead in The Wind and The Rain at London’s Scala Theatre when he was eight years old that inspired him to walk the boards. Sy vader, Lawrence Chater Robinson, was a composer of light music that was played in dance bands all over the country.

Chater was educated at Marlborough College in Wiltshire and in January 1940 op die ouderdom van 19, he enlisted in the City of London regiment, the Royal Fusiliers. Promoted to the rank of captain, he saw active duty in Burma and India where he served with the 7th Leicesters, the 1st battalion North Staffordshire and the 2nd battalion Worcestershire regiments.

Like many of his generation, he wasn’t disposed to talk about the undoubted horrors he witnessed, preferring to remember lighter moments such as when he was asked to demonstrate to his battalion how to pack a mule without being kicked. Needless to say, he was sent flying to great amusement. In Burma he wrote and performed in a comic revue, which prompted the Brigadier to suggest he should take up acting as a profession. He had already made up his mind to do so.

Repatriated in 1946, he began working in weekly repertory theatre first in Windsor and later in Hereford and Birmingham. The discipline of performing in the evening and rehearsing the next play on the following afternoon provided the perfect grounding for developing his acting skills. He also formed a great respect for writers and throughout his career insisted that scripts should not be paraphrased.

Appearing with Denis Lill in the 1985 TV series ‘Mapp and Lucia’

With the onset of television, his career blossomed and he appeared initially in such staples as Emergency Ward 10 en Dixon of Dock Green, the studio segments of which were initially broadcast live. He preferred not to be tied down to long-running TV shows though he made certain exceptions, including the spy drama Callan starring Edward Woodward.

Among his stage highlights was his appearance in the 1965 production at London’s Cambridge Theatre of Turgenev’s A Month in the Country directed by Michael Redgrave. Die Times Educational Supplement geskryf het: “Geoffrey Chater’s Yslaev has simplicity and gentleness, so naturally expressed that the man assumes dignity even when he might easily be seen as a fool.”

He also received rave reviews for his role as Polonius opposite Jonathan Pryce’s Hamlet in Richard Eyre’s famed production at the Royal Court in 1980 in which the Ghost was portrayed as being within Hamlet himself. Michael Billington of Die voog geskryf het, “Geoffrey Chater’s Polonius, a crafty sly-boots in half-moon specs and given to fierce bursts of rage, is the best for years.” Christopher Logue wrote in Die tye, “Polonius for example, I do not think this famous role can be well acted in the future without some reference to Geoffrey Chater’s account of it.”

On the silver screen, his appearance in If…, Lindsay Anderson’s allegorical tale centred on an English public school, included a memorable scene in which, after having been shot and bayoneted, he as the chaplain mysteriously appears from inside the headmaster’s drawer to shake hands with his “murderer” played by Malcolm McDowell. The scene was filmed last as an afterthought. The film won the 1969 Palme d’Or at Cannes. Anderson also cast Chater as a vicar in his 1973 film, O Lucky Man!.

One of his personal favourite performances came late in life, op die ouderdom van 77, in 'n 1998 episode van The Bill entitled Villain. He played a war hero arrested for the attempted murder of his wife after the couple had agreed a mutual suicide pact that went wrong. It received an overwhelming audience response.

Chater was a down-to-earth character who preferred to shrimp in the sea on Camber Sands near his East Sussex home than to partying on the celebrity circuit. His legacy will be his contribution of so many popular appearances on stage and screen.

Chater married Jennifer Hill in 1949. They had a daughter and two sons.

Geoffrey Michael Chater Robinson, akteur, gebore 23 Maart 1921, oorlede 16 Oktober 2021