Guest Actor Biography
Page 122 of 127


Gary Watson

Pardoe, Death on the Slipway
Allen Marling, Immortal Clay
Bush, Lobster Quadrille
Stephen Kendrick, Wish You Were Here

by John Owen

Gary Watson was extraordinarily prolific on audio during the 60s due to his association with George Rylands. Rylands and the Marlowe Society of Cambridge set out to record all of Shakespeare's plays and poetry as well as a 70-record anthology of English verse. The result is that Gary Watson was the first, perhaps only, Prince Hal/Henry V, Cassio, Edgar, Suffolk, etc. He was also the voice of many poetical works, including those of Shelley, Swinburne, Keats, Spenser and Milton. He acquitted himself well as Prince Hal and Henry V and in many smaller roles, and was a very able reader of verse.

However, his abilities were never displayed in other media. His roles on stage were rarely noted and on television he was either miscast or dully efficient. Aside from repeat appearances on The Avengers, he made a few other turns on shows, including The Saint (1962) playing John Spring in "When Spring is Sprung" and Doctor Who (1963) as Arthur Terrall in "The Evil of the Daleks." He also played Aramis in the 1966 series The Three Musketeers. Later he landed a large role as Denisov, Nicolai Rostov's commander, in the lengthy BBC adaptation of War and Peace, in the early 70s. He was sadly miscast, however, and instead of Tolstoy's Hussar—a mustachioed, coarse, little bantam rooster—he delivered a tall, blandly handsome gentleman-soldier.

Poor luck ruined his next big break. He was one of Conan Doyle's dense Scotland Yard Inspectors in Billy Wilder's Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, but his performance and the entire surrounding vignette were deleted from the final film. His latest work was reading war poetry as narration to the miniseries Testament of Youth. His readings were, as always, superb.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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