Peter Childs

Last updated 09 January 2020

Peter Childs (1939-1989)
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Peter Childs

Born: Thursday 31st August 1939
Died: Wednesday 1st November 1989 (age: 50)


Peter Childs was a British character actor who shot to fame playing Cockney Detective Sergeant Ronnie Rycott, nemesis of Arthur Daley in the top rated ITV series, Minder.

Childs was born at Eastbourne on 31 August 1939, and educated at the local grammar school before training to be an actor. He trained at the Birmingham Theatre School, toiling 10 years doing repertory work before breaking into television, playing a small role in the Anton Rodgers crime series, 'Zodiac'. Later Childs gained valuable experience working with the Manchester 59 company, appearing in Erb, a show which transferred to the West End. He also played a comical undertaker in Joe Orton's Loot to great effect.

A regular performer at the Theatre Royal in London's Stratford East, Childs gave an outstanding performance in Joan Littlewood's last performance there, So You Want to Be in Pictures. During this time he showed considerable gifts for comedy and improvisation. Childs also appeared in the Royal Court (and later in the West End) in David Storey's play The Changing Room, which was directed by Lindsay Anderson, who also cast him in the film, O Lucky Man.

On television, Child's familiar features were seen in The Sweeney, The Onedin Line, Rumpole of the Bailey, Bergerac, Juliet Bravo and Ever Decreasing Circles. He had also appeared in a host of other dramas including two separate appearances in Granada TV's popular soap opera, Coronation Street. Childs had made his name on television a number of years earlier, as Detective Ron Gash in the final series of Public Eye, transmitted in 1975. The following year he was cast as Det. Sgt Donald Grant in the final series of the long running BBC Police series, Softly, Softly: Taskforce. But it was the programme 'Minder' that made Childs a household name in Great Britain. In the hugely popular series, his character had a burning desire to see Arthur Daley, played by George Cole, behind bars.

His other movie appearances include Sweeney!, Ellis Island, If You Go Down in the Woods Today, An Officer and a Car Salesman and most memorably Minder on the Orient Express, where he reprised his role as Ronnie Rycott.

In his personal life Childs was a fervent fan of racecourses and greyhound stadiums.

He died of leukaemia in 1989 at the age of 50.

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