Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Bernard Bresslaw

Last updated 27 July 2014


Bernard Bresslaw (1934-1993)
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Bernard Bresslaw

Born: Sun 25th February 1934
Died: Fri 11th June 1993 (age: 59)

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Bernard Bresslaw was an English actor. He is best remembered for his comedy work, especially as a member of the Carry On team.

he appeared in Educating Archie on radio and The Army Game on television, and was cast in Carry on Cowboy in 1965.

He featured as Varga, the lead villain in the 1968 Doctor Who story The Ice Warriors. Even though all the actors playing the aliens were over six feet tall, Bresslaw towered over them. Sonny Caldinez, who played an Ice Warrior in the story, stated in a 2004 interview that Bresslaw "was the only man that could make me feel small."

Although officially starring in 14 Carry On films, Bresslaw did appear in one other: Carry On Nurse. The legs of Terence Longdon were deemed to be too thin and scrawny looking, so Bresslaw's were used as stand-ins for the scene where Joan Sims gives him a bath.

Bresslaw's catchphrase, in his strong Cockney accent, was "I only arsked" (sic), first used in The Army Game, and later revived in Carry On Camping (1969). In his fleeting appearance as an angry lorry driver in the 1970 film Spring and Port Wine (set in Bolton), his character was dubbed.

Bresslaw performed with the Young Vic Theatre Company, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. One of his last stage performances was as Malvolio in Twelfth Night at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park.

His song "You Need Feet" (a parody of "You Need Hands" by Max Bygraves) was used in the Rutles' TV special, accompanying the Yoko Ono film parody "A Thousand Feet of Film". This was cut from the syndicated version and the original DVD release, but was restored (along with other cut footage) in later DVD releases.