Art and design

Books

Culture

Environment

Fashion

Film

Life and style

Money

Music

Politics

Science

Technology

Travel

Television

US news

World news

Appreciation: Peter Wyngarde obituary

Peter Wyngarde in Departmen S in 1969.
Peter Wyngarde in Departmen S in 1969. Photograph: Allstar/Carlton

The obituary of Peter Wyngarde overlooked a number of the talents and successes of this suave and charismatic performer who never lost his ability to inspire fascination.

Before Jason King he had an early television success as Will Shakespeare (1953) – a taxing part that earned him the admiration of the production’s pioneering producer/director Rudolph Cartier. By 1965, when lured to play the arrogant and dangerous Baron Grüner in an episode of Sherlock Holmes, he had enough clout for the producers to accede to his agent’s stipulation that on foreign sales prints he – uniquely – be inserted into the opening titles and credited alongside the leads (Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock, both of whom he was also paid considerably more than).

His quirky tastes embraced cult shows which showcased his versatility and zeal – he is glorious in both of his episodes of The Avengers (1966-67) and a cunning and aloof Number Two in The Prisoner (1967). As the religious zealot Timanov in the 1984 Doctor Who story Planet of Fire he imbues a flawed character with a tremendous tragic dignity.

His non-speaking role in the film The Innocents (1961) is no glorified bit part. He is a memorably spooky, spectral presence and gets second billing, a year after his effective turn as a ruthless gang leader in The Siege of Sidney Street.

His extensive theatre work attracted many good notices from the outset and included Shylock and King John, via Jack Pinchwife (The Country Wife) and more than 200 performances as the lead in The King and I (Adelphi theatre and tour, 1973-74). He also directed productions at the Bristol Old Vic and the Yvonne Arnaud theatre, Guildford.

In later years he was gracious with fans and a writer of detailed and helpful letters crafted in attractive – if minute – handwriting, generously extolling the virtues of colleagues he admired such as Cartier, Wilfred Lawson and Patrick McGoohan: unpredictable talents all, who should give some clue as to where his sensibilities lay.

A perfectionist, he was doubtless sometimes difficult, but the scandal that dented his career should not overshadow the many fine qualities of a charming, seductive, watchable leading actor with an offbeat streak.

This article titled "Appreciation: Peter Wyngarde obituary" was written by Toby Hadoke, for The Guardian on Tuesday 23 January 2018 04.44pm

Television & radio

From Watchmen to Catch-22: can TV tackle 'unfilmable' books?

In recent months, a spate of books has been adapted for TV, with Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Ray… Read more

Why Alan Partridge is returning to 'restrictive, stifling' BBC

It is fair to say that the TV presenter and North Norfolk Digital radio DJ, Alan Partridge, and his… Read more

Is Belgian drama the new Scandi-noir?

In show business, acts struggling to make an impact in the UK were often sardonically described as… Read more

Muslims Like Us was an enlightening experiment, but where were the Muslim minorities? | Ruby Hamad

It could have been a recipe for disaster. A reality show where 10 Australian Muslims briefly share… Read more

Ted Cruz is right: Homer Simpson is a Republican. Sadly, he's also an idiot

To listen to Ted Cruz discuss The Simpsons at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference… Read more

Wednesday’s best TV: The Brit awards; The Day When; Damned

The Brit awards 2018 8pm, ITV Does Jack Whitehall like music? Those who caught his recent Desert… Read more

The Windsor Knot: a twisted take on the royal nuptials – podcasts of the week

The Windsor Knot Podcast Wryly humorous duo Joe Skrebels and Daniel Krupa offer an antidote to… Read more

The £1 Houses: Britain’s Cheapest Street review – the home-owning dream is now a nightmare

Here’s an idea for a Channel 4 property show (yeah, like they don’t have enough of them already):… Read more

Mum review – a cliched take on the maddening reality of being a mother

The first series of Mum (BBC Two), Stefan Golaszewski’s Bafta-winning sitcom about a grieving… Read more

Thursday’s best TV: Girls on the Edge, John Worboys: The Taxi Cab Rapist

Girls on the Edge 9pm, BBC Two This sensitive film documents the struggles of Jess, Erin and Jade,… Read more