William Mervyn

Last updated 09 January 2020

William Mervyn (1912-1976)
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William Mervyn Pickwoad

Born: Wednesday 3rd January 1912
Died: Friday 6th August 1976 (age: 64)


William Mervyn was an English actor best known for his portrayal of the Bishop in the clerical comedy All Gas and Gaiters.

He was in the 1966 Doctor Who story The War Machines. He was married to Anne Margaret Payne Cooke and they had two sons, including Michael Pickwoad who in 2010 became the production designer on Doctor Who.

Mervyn was born in Nairobi, Kenya, but educated in Britain before embarking on a stage career, spending five years in provincial theatre. He made his West End debut in The Guinea Pig at the Criterion Theatre in 1946, before parts in plays such as the comedy Ring Round the Moon, The Mortimer Touch, A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde at the Savoy Theatre in 1953 and Charley's Aunt.

Mervyn's later stage roles included those of O'Trigger in The Rivals, Lord Greenham in the comedy Aren't We All? and Sir Patrick Cullen in The Doctor's Dilemma. One of his first major small screen roles was Sir Hector in the 1962 series Saki. Four years later, he played the Bishop of St. Ogg's in the comedy series All Gas and Gaiters. It was, at that time, breaking with tradition, allowing a laugh at the expense of the established church.

He also played the police chief inspector Charles Rose in the Granada TV series The Odd Man and its spin-offs It's Dark Outside and Mr Rose. He played the Hon. Mr. Justice Campbell in the Granada TV series Crown Court.

Having taken the part of a Chief Inspector in the 1949 Ealing Studios film The Blue Lamp, in which PC George Dixon first appears, he then reappeared in a 1960 Dixon of Dock Green episode "The Hot Seat", several Carry On films in the late 1960s, and also appeared as Mr. Whitty in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode "A Disturbing Case" in 1969.

Usually cast as a wealthy upper class gentleman, he also appeared in The Railway Children in 1970 and The Ruling Class in 1972.