Terrence Hardiman

Last updated 09 May 2023

Terrence Hardiman

Born: Tuesday 6th April 1937
Died: Monday 8th May 2023 (age: 86)


Terrence Hardiman was an English actor. He is best known for playing The Demon Headmaster in the children's television series of the same name, and also for Reinhardt in the 1970s drama series Secret Army.

Hardiman was often seen playing authority figures, and played Nazis-era German military personnel (Secret Army and Colditz) and British officers (When the Boat Comes In), police inspectors (Juliet Bravo and Softly, Softly), doctors (Home to RoostThe Royal), barristers (Crown Court and The Brittas Empire), judges (The Bill and The Courtroom), Father Radulfus (Cadfael), and of course a headmaster. He also played Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi.

Major Reinhardt, (Hardiman's role in Secret Army) was the (fictional) head of the Luftwaffe (German Air force) police and as such often provided a foil to Clifford Rose's more brutal S.S. Chief, Kessler. As with many of the characters in Secret Army, Reinhardt was not a one-dimensional baddie, but a rounded character who often questioned his own motives and methods. The actor's portrayal allowed the viewer to sympathise with this character. In 1990 he played a two-dimensional German officer, General Stuckler, in the final series of London Weekend Television's Wish Me Luck.

The Demon Headmaster was a children's television drama series which proved popular with adults as well, and which ran to three series from 1996 to 1998. Hardiman played a truly villainous headmaster in pantomime style, complete with glowing eyes.

He also had a starring role as Charles Pooter in the 1979 television adaptation of George and Weedon Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody, a role which shows his versatility more than the succession of officers he usually portrays.

Hardiman's other recurring role was as Brother Cadfael's boss, Abbot Radulfus, in the television series. Joining him throughout the series as Prior Robert was Michael Culver, who had played his predecessor Major Brandt in Secret Army.

A notable small role Hardiman played was a version of the Sergeant Wilson character from Dad's Army in an episode of time travel comedy Goodnight Sweetheart, called "Don't Get Around Much Any More", in which Nicholas Lyndhurst's character Gary Sparrow goes back in time to a 1940s bank and encounters characters called Mainwaring and Wilson. Hardiman's portrayal was a keenly observed impersonation of John Le Mesurier's own performance, incorporating many of the tics and mannerisms of the original. Hardiman is also famous for his role of Chief Wizard Egbert Hellibore in four episodes of the television series The Worst Witch.

Hardiman appeared in the second series of The Worst Week of My Life, the comedy series starring Ben Miller. Another notable recent role was as a devious Swiss murder victim in an episode of crime mystery series Jonathan Creek.

He has also appeared in the daily soap Doctors on BBC1 at 3 April 2009 and in the Yorkshire drama Heartbeat as John Upton in one episode.

In 2009 he appeared in a 3D film for the BFI called Radio Mania directed by British artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard.

Hardiman appeared as Hawthorne in the Doctor Who episode The Beast Below on 10 April 2010.

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