Cyril Shaps

Last updated 09 January 2020

Cyril Shaps (1923-2003)
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Cyril Shaps

Born: Saturday 13th October 1923
Died: Wednesday 1st January 2003 (age: 79)


Cyril Shaps  was an English actor who appeared in Doctor Who in several roles in the serials The Tomb of the CybermenThe Ambassadors of DeathPlanet of the Spiders and The Androids of Tara).

Shaps was born in HighburyLondon; he was of Polish ancestry and his father was a tailor. He was a child broadcaster, providing voices for radio commercials at the age of 12. After grammar school and Army service he trained at RADA and then worked for two years as an announcer, producer and scriptwriter for Radio Netherlands. His short stature and round face then led to a steady flow of character roles in film and television for nearly five decades.

Shaps's films included bit parts in a wide range of high-profile international films, including the Academy Award Best Picture winnerLawrence of Arabia (1962), with Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif (as the officer's club bartender), To Sir, with Love (1967, as neighbour Mr. Pinkus), and the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, as Dr. Bechmann). One of his showier turns came in 1994, in The Madness of King George, portraying Dr. Pepys, a royal physician obsessed with the colour of His Majesty's stool. In 2002, at the age of 79, he made his final theatrical film appearances, as a pew opener in The Importance of Being Earnest, and had a larger role as concentration camp victim Mr. Grun in another Best Picture Oscar winner, The Pianist (2002).

Television work ranged from science fiction, including multiple appearances on Doctor Who, to classic literature in the BBC serials of Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit (1994) and Our Mutual Friend (1998) to detective shows with appearances in Lovejoy (1993), The Saint (1966), and as Emperor Franz Joseph in Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (1991). He appeared in two Jim Henson Company television films, Gulliver's Travels (1996, as an elderly madman in Bedlam) and Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story(2001, as "Bent Little Man," the peddler who sells beans to the original Jack). To Supercar fans he is well known, for he provided the voice of Professor Rudolf Popkiss in the second series.

His television appearances include Quatermass IIDanger ManThe Mask of JanusThe SpiesDixon of Dock GreenZ-CarsThe SaintOut of the UnknownAlexander the GreatestThe Rat CatchersMan in a SuitcaseRandall and Hopkirk (Deceased),Department SThe Liver BirdsWhen the Boat Comes InSome Mothers Do 'Ave 'EmThe Onedin LineThe Persuaders!Porridge,The SweeneyWilde AllianceThe Young OnesThe BillDark SeasonLovejoyMidsomer Murders and Doctors.

He also supplied the voice of Mr. Gruber in The Adventures of Paddington Bear and Great Grandfather Frost in one episode of Animated Tales of the World.

His work for radio included a spell with the BBC Drama Repertory Company in the early 1950s. Broadcast parts (his characters were often old men and/or priests) included Firs in The Cherry Orchard, Justice Shallow in Henry the Fourth, Friar Lawrence in Romeo & Juliet, Polonius in Hamlet and Canon Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA