Guest Actor Biography
Page 79 of 127

   

Philip Madoc

Stepan, The Decapod
Julian Seabrook, Six Hands Across A Table
Van Doren, Death of a Batman
Ivan, The Correct Way to Kill
Slater, My Wildest Dream

by Stephen La Riviere (with Pete Stampede, John Owen and David K. Smith)

Philip Madoc is a man who appears to have made at least one guest appearance in every British programme ever made. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it cannot be denied that he has certainly made a substantial contribution to British television over the years. Born 5 July 1934, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, UK, it's well known that Madoc is as patriotic about Wales as Sean Connery is about Scotland, right down to supporting the Welsh nationalists' political party (Plaid Cymru).

The 1962 Venus Smith story "The Decapod" marked his debut appearance in The Avengers, the first of many guest roles in the series. Other engagements in the sixties included the Doctor Who feature film, Doctor Who - Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD as well as in the legendary TV series itself alongside Patrick Troughton in "The Krotons" and "The War Games."

The seventies brought more work for Madoc, including what is probably his most famous appearance: in 1973 he played a German Commander in Dad's Army's famous "Don't Tell Him Pike!" In 1975 he was cast as a Prosecutor in the British mini-series Poldark. He also made an appearance in Gerry Anderson's Space 1999.

In 1976 Madoc returned to Doctor Who playing Doctor Solon in "The Brain of Morbius," a role which Madoc claims to be his all time favourite. 1978 saw Madoc in The Good Life alongside other Avengers stalwarts Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington. The year also marked his final appearance in Doctor Who when he played Fenner in "The Power of Kroll."

He'd probably regard his best TV achievement as the title role in The Life And Times Of David Lloyd George (BBC, 1981), with a theme tune by Ennio Morricone, no less. It's true that his series A Mind To Kill (1999)—basically, being a two-hour mystery with a dour loner cop hero, an attempt at a Welsh Inspector Morse—has unfortunately been shown on the downmarket Channel 5, but it had been on satellite TV before that.

Lately he seems to have entered on a marvelous career as a resonant, bass-voiced narrator of high-class audio books, mostly for the Naxos label. His recording of Gibbon's Decline and Fall (abridged to a mere 18 hours) is a monumental performance, with Madoc completely in tune with the neoclassical balance of Gibbon's prose. Another notable work is his reading of Burton's Arabian Nights, with the familiar, resonant voice sounding happily exotic and bard-like. He seems the very voice of God himself, booming authoritatively in the Naxos Old Testament album, alternating with a number of other distinguished performers. It's actually a little hard to reconcile the Great Actor persona of the recordings with the somewhat less impressive character actor of the 60s. They truly seem like two different people.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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