Michael Jayston

Last updated 05 February 2024

Michael Jayston (1935-2024)
(this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Michael James

Born: Tuesday 29th October 1935
Died: Monday 5th February 2024 (age: 88)

Diamond Management

Michael Jayston  was a Nottingham-born English actor.

He played The Valeyard in the Fourteen part storyTrial of a Time-Lord

He attended the Becket Grammar School in West Bridgford, then worked briefly as a trainee accountant at the offices of the National Coal Board before obtaining a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to train as an actor. He made his professional debut, aged 27, in a production ofThe Amorous Prawn, going on to work on the stage at the Salisbury Repertory, Bristol Old Vic and with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He enjoyed success as a classical stage actor, then played roles on British television.Shakespearean roles on TV include Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968), Gratiano inThe Merchant of Venice (1973) and Edmund in King Lear (1975). An early recurring television role was as civil servant Dowling in the final series of boardroom drama The Power Game in 1969.

In 1970 he played Henry Ireton in Cromwell. In 1971, he starred as Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in the film Nicholas and Alexandra, then in 1973 took the lead role of Mr Rochester in a BBC adaptation ofJane Eyre opposite Sorcha Cusack. He appeared as Gratiano opposite Laurence Olivier as Shylockin the National Theatre's film The Merchant of Venice (1974). He made two appearances in the anthology series Thriller in 1974 and in 1975 played Quiller, a spy who never used a gun, in the British TV series of the same name. He appeared as Dornford Yates' gentleman hero Jonathan Mansel in the 1977 BBC adaptation of She Fell Among Thieves. In 1979 he played Peter Guillam opposite Alec Guinness in the serial Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He also played Mr Spooner in series Tracy Beaker Returns in 2010.

Jayston played Neville Badger in the 1989 television adaptation of David Nobbs's comedy of mannersA Bit of a Do. He portrayed James Bond in a radio adaptation of You Only Live Twice in 1990. In 1991 he appeared as Colonel Mustard in the television series Cluedo and a year later made a guest appearance in the Press Gang episode "UnXpected". Other TV appearances include in EastEnders,Coronation StreetOnly Fools and HorsesThe Darling Buds of MayTales of the UnexpectedThe Bill and the character of Donald De Souza in Emmerdale. He also was on Holby City and Tracy Beaker Returns

For several years in the 1970s and '80s, Jayston's voice was heard in the TV commercial for the aspirin product Anadin. The script (beginning with the words "Tense, nervous headache...?") became so well known that comedians worked it into sketches and routines.

He has also narrated many audio books, including works by P. D. James and John le Carr�. He provided the voices for the Wind in the Willows Story Teller group of tapes from 1983 to 1985.

In 2004 he narrated a radio version of Geoffrey Household's thriller Rogue Male for digital radio stationBBC Radio 7. From 2 February 2009 he read a new abridged recording of Geoffrey Household's sequel Rogue Justice, also on BBC Radio 7.

He also provided a "voice" for "Finisterre" (2002), an album by the British group Saint Etienne. He didvoiceovers for British television adverts. In 2010 he also lent his voice to a series of vocal interludes on an album celebrating the Giro d'Italia, released in May by British cycling clothing company Rapha.

Since 2001 he has been the male station voice on BBC Essex. Jayston was President of the Brighton Little Theatre as of 2010.

Jayston's first wife was actress Lynn Farleigh whom he married in 1965. He married Heather Sneddon in 1970, then Elizabeth Smithson in 1979.

He has played competitive cricket for Rottingdean (Sussex), opening the bowling as a leg spinner.

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