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Philip Bond

Caspar, The Interrogators

by Pete Stampede

Born 1 November 1934 in Burton-on-Trent, the fair-haired, frightfully British Philip Bond was a mainstay of single plays and videotaped dramas on TV, though is seen less frequently today. After a few early war films, in which his looks got him cast as Germans—Count Five And Die (1957), Orders To Kill (1958, unbilled), and Foxhole In Cairo (1960), one of his first small screen roles was in Walk A Crooked Mile (BBC, 1961), a thriller serial produced by David E. Rose, who would later oversee Z-Cars, and featuring Patrick Newell. Then, Bond supported Ian Hendry in the title role of Television Playhouse, "Ben Spray" (Granada, 1961), Peter Nichols' play about a socially gauche teacher, and one of Hendry's many notable single plays at that time. (In retrospect, Hendry's work in TV plays was among his best—pity they never get repeated.) Another in the same series was "The Reception" (1961) with Bond and, in his early career as an actor, leading theatre director Michael Blakemore. More one-offs for Bond were Storyboard, "The Middle Men" (BBC, 1961), The Sunday Night Play, "The Judge and His Hangman" (BBC Midlands, 1961), again as a German, with Geoffrey Bayldon, and Brian Bedford, an actor who later did extremely well on Broadway, but remains pretty well unknown outside of there.

Sci-fi geeks are probably most familiar with Bond as Ganatus, one of the pacifist but all very Aryan-looking Thals, menaced by Terry Nation's most famous creations, in Doctor Who, "The Daleks" (BBC, 1964), the second story in the series and the one that really put it on the map. Nation was no doubt relieved by its success, as Tony Hancock had just fired him from his previous job as gag-writer. (And, so the rumour goes, in one of their last meetings, Hancock, going through one of the analytical and would-be intellectual phases that arguably harmed his talent, was pontificating on how the results of nuclear warfare might reduce humans to such a helpless state, that they'd have to be plugged into robot-like casings to stay alive... hmmm, wonder if that stuck in Nation's mind? And, also allegedly, when Hancock happened to see The Daleks, he was shouting at the screen, "That bloody Nation - he's stolen my robots!") At the time, a more important credit for Bond would have been A Choice Of Coward, "The Vortex" (Granada, 1964), one of a series of Noel Coward plays, in this case his sensational West End debut about drug addiction; it was directed by TV drama pioneer Joan Kemp-Welch, with an on-screen intro by Coward himself. However, in his diaries, the dear chap was unamused by the modest fee that "dear Granada Television" initially offered him for this, "...Bloody cheek!"

Contrastingly, Bond was next in The Saint, "The Elusive Ellshaw" (ATV/ITC, 1964), also with Angela Browne from "How To Succeed....At Murder;" a classic serial, The Old Wives' Tale (BBC Scotland, 1964); Redcap, "A Place of Refuge" (ABC, 1965) starring John Thaw; and an unsuccessful BBC soap, 199 Park Lane (BBC, 1965), seemingly, the Beeb couldn't manage a successful soap until EastEnders in the 80s.

Given his looks, Bond was weirdly cast as a Spaniard called Luis in Man In A Suitcase, "The Man Who Stood Still" (ATV/ITC, 1967); in the same series, he was more at home as a British attaché in "Web with Four Spiders", also with Ray McAnally, John Savident and Steed's stage incarnation, Simon Oates. Again for ITC, he was an officer in The Champions, "The Experiment" (ATV/ITC, 1968), featuring David Bauer and Nicholas Courtney. Next, he did one of The Short Stories Of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "Black Doctor" (BBC, 1967), a series drawn from Conan Doyle's lesser-known tales, with Michael Latimer. I'm guessing here, but it could be that the BBC were obliged to make this as part of the same rights package as Peter Cushing's Sherlock Holmes (BBC, 1968). (Or, Peter Cushing As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, to quote the Radio Times' mouthful of a billing!) Bond also turned up in this, as the villainous Stapleton in "The Hound of The Baskervilles", done as a two-parter, adapted by Hugh Leonard, with actual filming on Dartmoor and, like the rest of the series, in colour. However, when shown at the NFT in 1993, it did rather back up Cushing's published comments about the show, with a particularly rushed ending—the final shot was of Bond sinking under the Grimpen Mire, without even a summing-up comment from Holmes, or better still, he and Watson back in London. A typically strongly cast Play Of The Month, "St. Joan" (BBC, 1968), found Bond supporting Janet Suzman as Joan of Arc, Sir John Gielgud as the Inquisitor, and "Murdersville"'s Colin Blakely as Stogumber. The Jazz Age, "Lily Christine" (BBC, 1968) was one of a now-forgotten, then-prestige series of BBC2 plays, again in colour (unlike BBC1 and ITV at that time), cashing in on a trend of nostalgia for the 20s: this seems incredible now, considering there's since been so much nostalgia for the 60s! Jennifer Croxton, "Killer"'s Avenger-for-one-week-only, starred as a flapper called Gemma, with Bond playing Rupert.

Next, Bond played the Knight in The Canterbury Tales (BBC, 1969), yet another BBC2 literary serial, presenting Geoffrey Chaucer in a manner presumably very different to Pier Paolo Pasolini's film version. Joss Ackland, seen in "The Morning After" and good value as boisterous types (when he's not playing villains) was Harry Bailly, the Host. After a couple of episodes of The Main Chance (YTV, 1970), starring John Stride as an ambitious lawyer and one of those series (cf. Hadleigh with Gerald Harper) that was hugely popular then but consigned to the dustbin of memory now, he had his best remembered role in The Onedin Line (BBC, 1971-80), a highly successful Sunday evening series (and one of my mum's favourites). The title sequence, with Aram Khachaturian's Spartacus accompanying a slow-motion shot of a vintage ship on the ocean waves, is among my earliest memories of TV; Peter Gilmore, a prime Where Are They Now candidate, starred as Onedin, a 19th-century would-be ship-owner, whose ambitions were somewhat complicated by his sister marrying Albert Frazer, played by Bond, who had his own fleet. The series originated from a pilot, with the same title, shown under the Drama Playhouse banner in December 1970; Bond stayed with the series until Frazer was killed off in 1974.

After that, Bond went back to series episodes: Jason King, "Flamingoes Only Fly on Tuesdays" (ATV/ITC, 1971), supposedly finding Peter Wyngarde in the Caribbean; Justice, "Duty of Care" (YTV, 1974), in which Margaret Lockwood, once Gainsborough Pictures' Wicked Lady, found that, like her Hollywood contemporaries, doing a TV series was the best way to keep in the public eye, in this case as a lady lawyer; Dial M For Murder, "Whatever's Peter Playing At?" (BBC, 1974), one of a whodunnit anthology, nothing to do with the play or Hitchcock's film, and in other episodes of which Patrick Macnee and Ian Hendry definitely appeared; a couple of episodes of the daytime soap Marked Personal (Thames, 1974); Dennis Potter's unsuccessful (according to the various Potter biographies) adaptation of Angus Wilson's Late Call (BBC, 1975); and Warship, "Divert With Dispatch" (BBC, 1976), a navy-themed actioner. He was a regular in the umpteenth BBC serial of Children Of The New Forest (BBC, 1977), then played an inspector in the three-part Play Of The Week, "An Englishman's Castle" (BBC, 1978), with Kenneth More facing up to life in a Britain in which Hitler won WW2. As Lovborg, he supported Diana Rigg as Hedda Gabler (YTV, 1981), a TV recording of John Osborne's 1972 adaptation of Ibsen: it really says something about Diana, as an actress, that Osborne approved of her performance, given how vituperative he could be about women in general, and actresses in particular—especially if they'd had the misfortune to be married to him. Bond's own wife, Pat Sandys, whom he married in 1959 and a successful drama producer, whose credits included Partners In Crime, The Agatha Christie Hour and The Bill, produced this.

Bond's other few films included I Want What I Want (1972), a daft sex-change melodrama, one of several exploiters from producer Raymond Stross which, amazingly enough, all starred his wife Anne Heywood; more recently he was a turnstile operator in the mildly successful film of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch (1996). Other TV guest appearances included Love And Marriage, "Home Is the Sailor" (YTV, 1984), yet another anthology series, and again produced by his wife; Cold Warrior, "Bright Sting" (BBC, 1984) starring Michael Denison as one of the oldest spies on record; Travellers By Night (TVS, 1985), again as a German; and the first of the many feature-length, Christmas Day episodes of Only Fools And Horses, "To Hull and Back" (BBC, 1985), in one scene as a Dutch diamond merchant, when the dynamic duo of Del Boy (David Jason) and Rodders (Nicholas Lyndhurst) wind up in Amsterdam, through the conniving of Boycie (John Challis, who had an unbilled role in "Dirtier by the Dozen"). For most of the 80s, when it came to lovable wheeler-dealers on TV, the Trotters were second in the nation's hearts to Minder's Terry and Arthur; I'm afraid the turning point was when this episode won out in the ratings over Minder On The Orient Express (Thames, 1985), screened simultaneously, in which Honor Blackman was one of the guest stars.

Bond also turned up in two of the Beeb's middlebrow long-runners, Bergerac, "Poison" (BBC, 1987) with John Nettles, and Lovejoy, "Second Fiddle" (BBC, 1993) with Ian McShane, as well as narrating one of an ambitious Welsh-Russian undertaking, Shakespeare: The Animated Tales, "Othello" (BBC, 1994). An edition of Panorama (BBC, 1994), using actors in a reconstruction of political cover-ups, cast him as Michael "Tarzan" Heseltine—he certainly had the hair! He was last seen as a magistrate in Our Boy (BBC, 1998), a one-off with Ray Winstone, who seems to be in practically every current British film, as a parent coming to terms with his son's accidental death: he is also in the cast of an ITV adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby (2000, not yet broadcast). Regrettably, Pat Sandys died of cancer in May 2000. Of her children with Bond, son Matthew is a film and TV journalist, mostly for The Times, while daughter Samantha, aptly in view of her name, has been following in Lois Maxwell's footsteps as Miss Moneypenny, in all of the official Bond films from Goldeneye (1995) onwards.

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This bio Copyright © 1999-2008 Gavin Gaughan.
Page last modified 8 May 2002.