DoctorDoctor Who Guide

Graham Crowden

Last updated 27 July 2014


Graham Crowden (1922-2010)
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Clement Graham Crowden

Born: Thu 30th November 1922
Died: Tue 19th October 2010 (age: 87)

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Graham Crowden was a Scottish actor. He was best known for his many appearances in television comedy dramas and films, often playing eccentric 'offbeat' scientist, teacher and doctor characters. 

He was offered the role of the Fourth Doctor, but turned it down, he later appeared as  Soldeed in the 1979 story Horns of Nimon.

Crowden was born in Edinburgh. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy before serving briefly in the Royal Scots Youth Battalion of the army until he was injured in a bizarre accident. 

Crowden is known for his roles in BBC comedy-dramas, including Dr. Jock McCannon in A Very Peculiar Practice and Tom Ballard in Waiting for God. He also had a long and distinguished theatrical career, most notably at Sir Laurence Olivier's National Theatre where he performed as The Player King in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, the play by Tom Stoppard.

He occasionally played mad scientists in film, taking the role of Doctor Millar in the Mick Travis films of director Lindsay Anderson, O Lucky Man! (1973) and Britannia Hospital (1982), and also playing the sinister Doctor Smiles in the film of Michael Moorcock's first Jerry Cornelius novel, The Final Programme (1973). He also played the eccentric History master in Anderson's if.... (1968).

In 1975, he made an appearance in 'No Way Out' - an episode of the popular British sitcom Porridge alongside Ronnie Barker, Brian Wilde, Richard Beckinsale and Fulton Mackay, as the prison doctor.

in 1974 Barry Letts offered him the role of the Fourth Doctor. Crowden turned the role down saying he was not prepared to commit himself to the series for three years. 

In 1990, he appeared as a lecherous peer in the BBC comedy Don't Wait Up and in 1991, he played a modest role in the Rumpole of the Bailey episode "Rumpole and the Quacks", portraying Sir Hector MacAuliffe, the head of a medical inquest into the potential sexual misconduct on the part of Dr. Ghulam Rahmat (portrayed by Saeed Jaffrey).

For many however, it was the role he landed in 1990 as the leading character of Tom Ballard in the sitcom Waiting for God opposite Stephanie Cole's character Diana Trent, as the two rebellious retirement home residents, that made him a household name. The show ran for five years and was a major success.

Crowden then voiced the role of Mustrum Ridcully in the 1997 animated Cosgrove Hall production of Terry Pratchett's Soul Music.

In 2001, he guest-starred in the Midsomer Murders episode "Ring Out Your Dead" and also played The Marquis of Auld Reekie in The Way We Live Now. In 2003, he made a cameo appearance as a sadistic naval school teacher in The Lost Prince. In 2005, he starred in the BBC Radio 4 sci-fi comedy Nebulous as Sir Ronald Rolands. In 2008, he appeared as a guest star in Foyle's War.

Crowden died on 19 October 2010 in Edinburgh after a short illness. Crowden is survived by his wife, Phyllida Hewat, whom he married in 1952, a son and three daughters, one of whom, Sarah, followed him into acting.






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