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Guest Actor Biography
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Patrick Cargill

Mr. Lovejoy, The Murder Market
Pemberton, The Fear Merchants

by Pete Stampede

Sandhurst-educated Patrick Cargill has a place in comic immortality through his role in possibly the most famous British comedy scene ever, as the doctor in "The Blood Donor" (1961), Tony Hancock's most famous half-hour. "A pint! That's very nearly an armful!" Hancock explodes after Cargill explains he requires more blood than the sample from his finger. Cargill was also highly popular on TV in the late 60's and early '70's in a succession of light, forgettable sitcoms: Father Dear Father (Thames, 1968-73) and The Many Wives of Patrick (Thames, 1976-78). He was a friend of Patrick Macnee's from their early acting days—in fact Patrick returned from California to make a guest appearance on a special starring Cargill, Patrick Dear Patrick, "An Evening with Patrick Cargill and His Guests" (Thames, 26 January 1972), also with Bernard Cribbins. Apparently it included both Patricks singing "Mad Dogs and Englishmen!" Cargill's best film role was as a snooty butler in Chaplin's last film, A Countess from Hong Kong. He was in two episodes of The Prisoner (1967): "Many Happy Returns," as a British Intelligence Man, and "Hammer Into Anvil," excellent as a sadistic Number Two whose paranoia is cleverly used against him by Number Six. One of The Prisoner's many intriguing possibilities is that Cargill could have been playing the same character in both.

After contributing some material to West End revues in the 50's, Cargill co-wrote a play, Ring for Catty, about hi-jinks in a hospital ward. It eventually fell into the hands of Carry On producer-director team Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas, on the look out for a follow up to the first in the series, Carry On Sergeant, which had itself been based on a stage play, The Bull Boys. Sure enough, once Cargill and Jack Beale's play had been heavily rewritten by scripter Norman Hudis (later, bizarrely, to go to America and write a couple of Man from U.N.C.L.E. episodes) and emerged as Carry On Nurse (1959), the success story repeated itself. Never ones to miss the chance to recycle material, Rogers and Thomas made it again as Twice Round the Daffodils (1962). Strangely, Cargill didn't appear in either of these. He was, however, present for Carry On Regardless (1961), as "Raffish Customer", and spoof swashbuckler Carry On Jack (1963), as a Spanish governor. He may be best remembered by Americans as Scotland Yard Superintendent Gluck in Richard Lester's Help! Cargill's splendidly awful impersonation of Ringo was perhaps one of the film's highlights.

He co-starred in To Secret (Rediffusion, 1961-62), as a law enforcer called Garetta in a series which was popular at the time but, like a lot of Avengers contemporaries from the first half of the 60's, seems unavailable for evaluation now (I don't even know for sure if any episodes still exist). It'd be fair to say (compare with "Death Dispatch") that a videotaped production attempting to evoke the Mediterranean would look pretty hokey now. Just before "The Blood Donor" he did another Hancock, "The Bowmans" (BBC, 1961); a spoof of the (still running!) radio soap The Archers, in which Hancock is playing the village idiot (surprise, surprise). Cargill was a radio producer exasperated to the point of no return by Hancock's hamming and departures from the script. After Hancock parted company with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, accurately described by the usually sulphurous Kenneth Williams as "two of the most brilliant scriptwriters of the 1950's", his next series, again called Hancock (ATV, 1963) began quite well but tailed off disastrously, hastening the downward slide of his career. Perhaps cast in an attempt to persuade viewers that all was well, Cargill was in the first of the series, "The Assistant", written by future Avengers scribe Terry Nation. He played a tyrannical store manager, who at one point forces a very reluctant Hancock to dress up as a giant rabbit in the toys section: "You will ACT like Uncle Bunny the children's friend!" His other guest appearances included an episode of Espionage, an ITC anthology series; Man in a Suitcase, "Find the Lady" (ATV/ITC, 1967); and, er, Jokers Wild (YTV, 1970). He died in 1996, after some years off-screen.

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This bio Copyright 1999-2008 Gavin Gaughan.
Page last modified 1 January 2002.