Kenneth Cope

Last updated 09 January 2020

Kenneth Cope
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Kenneth Charles Cope

Born: Tuesday 14th April 1931 (age: 92)


Kenneth Cope is an English actor. He is most famous for his roles as Marty Hopkirk in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Jed Stone in Coronation Street and Ray Hilton in Brookside.


He was most famous for his leading role in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969–1970) as the late private eye Marty Hopkirk opposite Mike Pratt's very much alive Jeff Randall. He had previously starred in Coronation Street as the shady Jed Stone (between 1961 and 1966, and in 2008), and had a regular role in the influential satirical series That Was The Week That Was (1962–1963). He also appeared in three episodes of Minder playing different characters, (Bury my Half at Waltham Green) as newly released prisoner Arthur Stubbs, 'Bring me the head of Arthur Daley' as Police Informer, Phelan, and as 'Scooter' in Waiting For Goddard. Cope's appearance in Coronation Street led to the recording of a novelty pop single "Hands Off, Stop Mucking About" with Tony Hatch. Although the song was not a hit it led to Cope being given a regular slot as a disc jockey with Radio Luxembourg.

He played Subutai in the 1965 film of the life of Genghis Khan, and in the same year appeared in Dateline Diamonds playing Lester Benson. He also took leading roles in two Carry On films. In Carry On at Your Convenience (1971) he played Vic Spanner, the obnoxious shop steward central to the film's trade union and industrial problems storyline and rival in the film's romantic sub-plot. In Carry On Matron (1972) he took the more sympathetic role of Cyril Carter, the son of a thief who is forced to impersonate a female nurse as part of his father's attempt to rob a maternity hospital. Once there Cyril finds love with a real nurse.

In 1971 he played Jack Victor in "The Wogle Stone", the sixth episode in the second season of Catweazle.

In 1975–76 he wrote three series of the BBC children's television series Striker, starring the young Kevin Moreton and inspired by the local youth football team in the village of Islip, Oxfordshire, where the Cope family was then living.

Cope later appeared in the Doctor Who story Warriors' Gate (in 1981), and guest starred in four episodes of Casualty, as well as taking roles in The Bill, Waking the Dead, A Touch of Frost, Minder and Kavanagh QC.

In 1984 Cope starred in an ill-conceived surreal sitcom about a failing themed cowboy village on the outskirts of Merseyside called Bootle Saddles. He played the lead character Percy James, who was passionate about the park despite the poor financial returns. The series appeared to be less of a parody but more a sort of homage to 1950s and '60s westerns, with episodes structured loosely around epics like High Noon and The Magnificent Seven. The characters rarely strayed out of their diegetic cowboy personas, despite the contemporary setting. The series was axed after one season.

In 1997 Cope played dodgy ex-copper Charlie Fairclough alongside David Jason in an episode of A Touch of Frost entitled "True Confessions."

From 1999 to 2002 he starred as Ray Hilton in the Channel Four soap opera Brookside.

He was offered a cameo role in the 2000-2001 revival of Randall and Hopkirk starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, but turned it down. He did, however, feature on the "Behind the Scenes" section of the Series 1 DVD, wishing the cast of the remake well. He also provided the foreword to a Randall and Hopkirk retrospective book (by Geoff Tibballs), published in 1994.

In 2008 Cope's Coronation Street character Jed Stone returned to the ITV soap after 42 years' absence, appearing as part of a storyline involving property developer Tony Gordon. The character was kept onscreen for several months before being written off yet again by show producers.

Cope now resides in Southport, and writes a weekly column for the weekly Visiter newspaper.

Personal life

Cope married actress Renny Lister, whom he had met when she worked on Coronation Street, in 1961. They have three children.

His daughter Martha Cope is also an actress. His sons Nick Cope and Mark Cope were members of the rock group the Candyskins.

Cope, who now suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is still an avid supporter of Everton.

In January 2014 Cope appeared as a character witness during the trial of former Coronation Street colleague William Roache, who played Ken Barlow in the series.

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