Thorley Walters

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Thorley Walters
Thorley Walters.jpg
Thorley Swinstead Walters

(1913-05-12)12 May 1913
Teigngrace, Devon, England
Died6 July 1991(1991-07-06) (aged 78)
London, England
Resting place Golders Green Crematorium
Years active1935–1991

Thorley Swinstead Walters (12 May 1913 [1] – 6 July 1991) was an English character actor. [2] He is probably best remembered for his comedy film roles such as in Two-Way Stretch and Carlton-Browne of the FO . [3]

Character actor actor who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters

A character actor is a supporting actor who plays unusual, interesting, or eccentric characters. The term, often contrasted with that of leading actor, is somewhat abstract and open to interpretation. In a literal sense, all actors can be considered character actors since they all play "characters", but in the usual sense it is an actor who plays a distinctive and important supporting role.

<i>Two-Way Stretch</i> 1960 film by Robert Day

Two-Way Stretch, sometimes titled Nothing Barred, is a 1960 British comedy film, about a group of prisoners who plan to break out of jail, commit a robbery, and then break back into jail again, thus giving them the perfect alibi – that they were behind bars when the robbery occurred. However, their plans are disrupted by the arrival of a strict new Chief Prison Officer.


Early life

Walters was born in Teigngrace, Devon, the son of Prebendary Thomas Collins Walters of Silverton, Devon [1] and his wife Mary Francis[sic] née Swinstead. [4] [5]


Teigngrace is a civil parish centred on a hamlet that lies about two miles north of the town of Newton Abbot in Devon, England. According to the 2001 census, its population was 235, compared to 190 a century earlier. The western boundary of the parish mostly runs along the A382 road; its short northern boundary along the A38; and its eastern partly along the rivers Bovey and Teign. It comes to a point at its southern extremity, near Newton Abbot Racecourse. The parish is surrounded, clockwise from the north, by the parishes of Bovey Tracey, Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot and a small part of Ilsington.

Devon County of England

Devon, also known as Devonshire, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north east, and Dorset to the east. The city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, and West Devon. Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 and its population is about 1.1 million.

Silverton, Devon village and civil parish in Mid Devon, Devon, England

Silverton is a large village and civil parish, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Exeter, in the English county of Devon. It is one of the oldest villages in Devon and dates from the first years of the Saxon occupation.



He featured in three of the St Trinian's films, starting as an army major in Blue Murder at St Trinian's . He later appeared as Butters, assistant to Education Ministry senior civil servant Culpepper-Brown (Eric Barker) in The Pure Hell of St Trinian's and played the part of Culpepper-Brown in The Wildcats of St Trinian's .

<i>Blue Murder at St Trinians</i> 1957 film by Frank Launder

Blue Murder at St Trinian's (1957) is British comedy film set in the fictional St Trinian's School. Directed by Frank Launder and written by him and Sidney Gilliat, it was the second of the series of four films. and stars Terry-Thomas, George Cole, Joyce Grenfell, Lionel Jeffries and Richard Wattis.

Eric Barker English comedy actor

Eric Leslie Barker was an English comedy actor. He is most remembered for his roles in the popular British Carry On films, although he only appeared in the early films in the series, apart from returning for Carry On Emmannuelle in 1978.

<i>The Pure Hell of St Trinians</i> 1960 film by Frank Launder

The Pure Hell of St Trinian's is a 1960 British comedy film set in the fictional St Trinian's School. Directed by Frank Launder and written by him and Sidney Gilliat, it was the third in a series of four films.

From the 1960s onwards he also appeared in several Hammer horror films, including The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and Vampire Circus (1972). He was a close friend of Hammer's most important director Terence Fisher. [6]

<i>The Phantom of the Opera</i> (1962 film) 1962 film by Terence Fisher

The Phantom of the Opera is a 1962 British horror film directed by Terence Fisher, a loose adaptation on the 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux. The film was made by Hammer Film Productions.

<i>Dracula: Prince of Darkness</i> 1966 British horror film directed by Terence Fisher

Dracula: Prince of Darkness is a 1966 British horror film directed by Terence Fisher. The film was photographed in Techniscope by Michael Reed, designed by Bernard Robinson and scored by James Bernard. It stars Christopher Lee, Andrew Keir, Francis Matthews, and Barbara Shelley.

<i>Frankenstein Created Woman</i> 1967 film by Terence Fisher

Frankenstein Created Woman is a 1967 British Hammer horror film directed by Terence Fisher. It stars Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein and Susan Denberg as his new creation. It is the fourth film in Hammer's Frankenstein series.

Walters played Sherlock Holmes's sidekick Doctor Watson in four unrelated films: Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962), The Best House in London (1969), The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975) and Silver Blaze (1977). [7]

Sherlock Holmes Fictional private detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional private detective created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Referring to himself as a "consulting detective" in the stories, Holmes is known for his proficiency with observation, forensic science, and logical reasoning that borders on the fantastic, which he employs when investigating cases for a wide variety of clients, including Scotland Yard.

<i>Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace</i> 1962 film by Terence Fisher

Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace is a 1962 mystery film directed by Terence Fisher. It was a West German-French-Italian international co-production. The film starred Christopher Lee as Sherlock Holmes and Thorley Walters as Dr. Watson. Curt Siodmak wrote the screenplay, based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

<i>The Best House in London</i> 1969 film by Philip Saville

The Best House in London is a 1969 British comedy film directed by Philip Saville and starring David Hemmings, Joanna Pettet, George Sanders, Warren Mitchell, John Bird, Maurice Denham and Bill Fraser.


Walters' television appearances included the Granada series "Crown Court", both as a judge and as a barrister. He also appeared as a barrister in the BBC Series "Misleading Cases" starring Roy Dotrice as Albert Haddock. Mr. Walters was usually the opposing barrister to Albert Haddock; The Lotus Eaters and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy . [8] Walters was considered for the role of Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army , before the part was assigned to Arthur Lowe [9] – Walters was offered the role by producer David Croft but turned it down. [10]

<i>The Lotus Eaters</i> (TV series)

The Lotus Eaters is a BBC television drama made between 1972 and 1973.

<i>Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy</i> (miniseries) 1979 television miniseries directed by John Irvin

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 1979 seven-part drama spy miniseries made by BBC TV. John Irvin directed and Jonathan Powell produced this adaptation of John le Carré's novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974). The miniseries, which stars Alec Guinness, Alexander Knox, Ian Richardson, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate, Ian Bannen, George Sewell and Michael Aldridge, was shown in the United Kingdom from 10 September to 22 October 1979 and in the United States beginning on 29 September 1980.

Captain Mainwaring

Captain George Mainwaring is a fictional character portrayed by Arthur Lowe in the BBC television sitcom Dad's Army between 1968 and 1977. In the 2016 big-screen movie, he is played by Toby Jones. In 2019, he is played by Kevin McNally for the remake of three 'missing' episodes. Mainwaring is the bank manager and Home Guard platoon commander, in the fictional seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea during the Second World War.

Personal life

In the DVD commentary to The Man Who Haunted Himself , actor Roger Moore mentioned that co-star Walters lived in Dolphin Square in Pimlico, London in which some scenes of the film were shot.

Walters and Richard Hope-Hawkins visited the ailing Terry-Thomas in Barnes, London in 1989. Walters had starred with Thomas in the Boulting Brother's film Carlton-Browne of the F.O. and was shocked at his appearance (he was ill with Parkinson's disease). That visit resulted in the Terry-Thomas Gala held in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in the same year which raised funds to help Thomas live the rest of his life in comfort.

Hope-Hawkins was with Walters and actress Siobhan Redmond when he died in a London nursing home. Actor Ian Bannen gave the main address at his funeral held at Golders Green. [11] [12]


Related Research Articles

Boulting brothers Twin brothers and filmmakers

John Edward Boulting and Roy Alfred Clarence Boulting, known collectively as the Boulting brothers, were English filmmakers and identical twins who became known for their popular series of satirical comedies in the 1950s and 1960s. They produced many of their films through their own production company, Charter Film Productions, which they set up in 1937.

Irene Handl British actress

Irene Handl was a British character actress who appeared in over a hundred British films.

<i>The Great St Trinians Train Robbery</i> 1966 film by Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat

The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery is a British film comedy set in the fictional St Trinian's School, released in 1966, three years after the Great Train Robbery had taken place. It also parodies the technocratic ideas of the Harold Wilson government and its support of the comprehensive school system.

Terence Fisher British film director and film editor

Terence Fisher was a British film director best known for his work for Hammer Films.

<i>The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother</i> 1975 film by Gene Wilder

The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother is a 1975 American musical comedy film with Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise, Roy Kinnear and Leo McKern. The film was Wilder's directorial debut, from his own original script.

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<i>The Wildcats of St Trinians</i> 1980 film by Frank Launder

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<i>The Sleeping Cardinal</i> 1931 film by Leslie S. Hiscott

The Sleeping Cardinal, also known as Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour in the United States, is a 1931 British mystery film directed by Leslie S. Hiscott and starring Arthur Wontner and Ian Fleming. The film is an adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, although it is not based on any one particular story it draws inspiration from "The Empty House" and "The Final Problem". It is unrelated to the Basil Rathbone series of Holmes films which also began in the 1930s.

Mr. Forbush and the Penguins is a 1971 British film, directed by Arne Sucksdorff, Alfred Viola and Roy Boulting. It stars John Hurt, Hayley Mills, Dudley Sutton and Tony Britton.

<i>The Sign of Four</i> (1983 film) 1983 British television film directed by Desmond Davis

The Sign of Four is a 1983 British made-for-television mystery film directed by Desmond Davis and starring Ian Richardson and David Healy. The film is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel of the same name, the second novel to feature Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

Silver Blaze is a 1977 British/Canadian television film directed by John Davies and starring Christopher Plummer and Thorley Walters. It is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's 1892 short story The Adventure of Silver Blaze.


  1. 1 2 3 "Devon Clergyman's Son's Success". Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. 6 April 1939. p. 8. Retrieved 22 September 2012.(subscription required)
  2. "Thorley Walters | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  3. "Thorley Walters movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography". AllMovie. 7 July 1991. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  4. Who's Who in the Theatre, Ian Herbert, Gale Research Co., 1981, p. 689
  5. The Annual Obituary 1991, Deborah Andrews, 1992, p. 460
  6. "the actors". British Horror Films. 25 December 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  7. "The Many Watsons – Marty Feldman & Thorley Walters". Kieran McMullen. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  8. "BBC Four – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tarr Tells His Story". 19 November 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  9. Roger Lewis (28 September 2011). "Dad's Army: the show that won't go away". Daily Telegraph .
  10. McCann, Graham (2001). Dad's Army – The story of a classic television show. London: Fourth Estate. p. 55. ISBN   978-1841153094.
  11. "Terry-Thomas Tribute". 9 April 1989. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  12. Graham McCann (2011). Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas. Aurum Press. p. 1927. ISBN   978-1-84513-756-4.