Anthony John Melody
18 December 1922
|Died||26 June 2008 85) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Margaret Little (1972–2008; second wife)|
Anthony John Melody (18 December 1922 – 26 June 2008) was an English television actor who appeared in a number of long running comedies and soap operas. He was a prolific character actorwith more than 100 television roles.
Melody was born in London, where his father was in the Royal Horse Guards, but was brought up in Yorkshire, where his parents ran the Station public house in Goole, West Riding of Yorkshire.It was as a singer that he initially made his mark, starting out at the pub his mother Myra ran with his father, where, as a small boy, he accompanied the pianist; later in life he went on to sing with the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra.
He was raised as a devout Roman Catholic and attended Sacred Heart Church in Blackpool.During the Second World War he served in the Royal Air Force.
Initially as a dancer, Melody spent three years touring the Mediterranean with Ralph Reader's Gang Show, performing for British troops in various countries along with Tony Hancock and Norrie Paramor.In 1952 he spent a season performing at the Windmill Theatre in London, among the nudes, where he featured as a comedy singer, before returning to Yorkshire, where he performed semi-professionally in local clubs while working in a factory in Leeds during the day. In 1955 he appeared on What Makes A Star? on BBC local radio. He became a regular on BBC regional radio, working in the North region of the BBC Home Service from 1958 with, among others, Jimmy Clitheroe (who he also appeared with on stage, touring the Variety theatres) and with Harry Worth. With Clitheroe, he did a regular double-act on a radio variety show called Call Boy, as well as doing much the same act together on stage in the theatres.
His acting career at the BBC began in radio, appearing in the sitcom The Clitheroe Kid , another show which starred Jimmy Clitheroe, in which he appeared from 1957 as grumpy taxi driver Horatio Higginbottom, a regular role that he continued in for sixteen years, until 1972.In the 1950s he also had a regular role as compère and singer with the BBC's Northern Dance Orchestra, in the BBC radio show The Straw Hat Club.
His first television role came on 6 December 1957 when he appeared in the BBC comedy Be Soon alongside comedian Hylda Baker.Between 1964 and 1968 he appeared regularly on ITV with Jimmy Clitheroe in the sitcom Just Jimmy, and featured in two episodes of ITV's Coronation Street , playing two small different roles, as a coach driver and a taxi driver. In 1968 he made his third appearance on Coronation Street, this time as Harold Eaton, a decorator working at the Rovers Return pub. In 1969 he played a postman in Parkin's Patch.
By the early 1970s he was getting regular television work, with a number of minor roles (mostly in comedy parts) in programmes including the BBC sitcom Steptoe and Son (as a milkman in the 1970 episode Come Dancing, which is said to be one of the most repeated episodes of that series).Also on the BBC in the sitcom Sykes , and on ITV in Public Eye (as guest star in a humorous Christmas special), both in 1972, at which time Melody said, "This is the first time in years I have turned down pantomime, up home in Blackpool, because I wanted to concentrate on television, to stretch myself with such roles." However, he was certainly not stretched by these roles, which were straightforward comedy supporting parts, of which he already had five years television experience as a semi-regular on the weekly sitcom Just Jimmy.
As he became better known, he gradually was offered more varied TV work. His subsequent television appearances included police drama in Z-Cars (1973) and Barlow at Large , and comedy on ITV in Bless This House (1974).In 1975 he had a starring role as George Bradshaw in the short-lived comedy series Rule Britannia!.
In 1979 Melody appeared in the John Schlesinger film Yanks opposite Rachel Roberts, playing the husband of the terminally ill Roberts.The following year he appeared in Little Lord Fauntleroy as Kimsey. He also played Station Sergeant Billy Machin in the comedy series The Nesbitts Are Coming and followed that up in 1981 by appearing as Archie in the comedy series, The Incredible Mr Tanner . He was always most effective in comedy roles: from 1981-83 he was instantly forgettable as the Chief, John Nettles' boss in the first six episodes of the BBC police series, Bergerac . On Channel 4's opening night he appeared in Walter , alongside Ian McKellen in the title role.
In the 1983 Special of Last of the Summer Wine - Getting Sam Home - John Comer's voice was badly affected by illness, so his lines were re-recorded by Tony Melody. Comer died 6 weeks after the broadcast.
His first appearance in Emmerdale Farm came in 1983, when he played Nicholas Martin. In 1985 he appeared in the drama series The Winning Streak and in 1986 he played Dave Sharkey in the sitcom, Jossy's Giants. In 1990 he appeared as the husband of Patricia Routledge in Missing Persons, which was a feature-length pilot for Hetty Wainthropp Investigates .
He made a second appearance in Emmerdale in 1998 this time as the farmer, Jed Outhwaite. In 2002 he made a fourth appearance on Coronation Street , this time as the MC at a ballroom dance competition in Blackpool, which the characters of Norris Cole and Vera Duckworth were entered.
He appeared in the television drama film Shipman in 2002, as Len, a patient who survived the real-life homicidal doctor, who was played by James Bolam.He also appeared in the drama, A Good Thief as Alfie as well as a television advertising campaign for McDonald's. His last television appearance was in 2003 on Last of the Summer Wine .
Throughout his broadcasting career he continued to work live in summer season (at Butlins and other holiday camps, and in seaside resorts such as Blackpool and Skegness), and in Pantomime.
Melody's first marriage was dissolved; he had four children with his first wife. He met his second wife, Maggie when they were both performing in pantomime in Skegness. They made their home in Bispham, Blackpool which he claimed was her home town,where he spent the rest of his life. Melody would say about living in Bispham, "Other actors can have London. I don't like it there, can't stand the trains, the noise, the hassle. Home is here." But the real reason they lived there was not unconnected with the fact that Melody was in a long-term professional double act with Jimmy Clitheroe, who lived a 5-minute walk from their front door. Offscreen Melody was a shy unassuming man, who rarely gave interviews and who shunned the "show business scene".
Melody had four children, three sons and one daughter from his first marriage.
Melody died in a nursing home from cancer after a short illness on 26 June 2008, aged 85.His funeral was held at Carleton Crematorium, Blackpool, Lancashire on 3 July.
|1964–68||Just Jimmy||Jim Moreton (semi-regular appearances for 5 years)|
|1965||Coronation Street||Coach driver|
|1965||Coronation Street||Taxi driver|
|1968||Coronation Street||Harold Eaton|
|1969||Parkin's Patch||Post Office Man|
|1970||Steptoe and Son||Milkman|
|1970||ITV Saturday Night Theatre||Jack Scott|
|1971||Some Matters of Little Consequence|
|1972||Home and Away||Godrey|
|1972||Play for Today||Official Receiver|
|1972||New Scotland Yard||Charles Change|
|1972||Love Story||Stan Truscott|
|1974||Barlow at Large||Roger Tober|
|1974||Marked Personal||Steve Morris|
|1974||Bless This House||Owen|
|1974||Play for Today||Detective|
|1975||Sadie, It's Cold Outside||Bob|
|1975||The Main Chance||Sammy Dayton|
|1975||Rule Britannia||George Bradshaw|
|1975||Down the 'Gate||Len Peacock|
|1978||George and Mildred||Ernest Groves|
|1979||Turtle's Progress||Colour Sergeant Arnold|
|1980||The Nesbitts Are Coming||Station Sergeant Billy Machin|
|1980||Juliet Bravo||Rodney Maskill|
|1980||Little Lord Fauntleroy||Kimsey|
|1980||Play for Today (The Flipside of Dominick Hide)||Harry|
|1981||The Incredible Mr Tanner||Archie|
|1982||The Chinese Detective||Mr Morris|
|1983||Let There Be Love||Steven|
|1983||Emmerdale Farm||Nicholas Martin|
|1983||Last of the Summer Wine||Sid's Voice Stand In|
|1985||The Winning Streak||Matt Hutton|
|1986||Jossy's Giants||Dave Sharkey|
|1988||The Nature of the Beast||Chunder|
|1989||All Creatures Great and Small||Mr Skipton|
|1990||Missing Persons||Robert Wainthropp|
|1990||Stay Lucky||Uncle Horace|
|1992||Moon and Son||Bill Atley|
|1992||Rumpole of the Bailey||Saggers|
|1996||Dalziel and Pascoe||Harold Lapping|
|1999||Where the Heart Is||Hughie Burridge|
|2002||A Good Thief||Alfie|
|2003||Last of the Summer Wine||Landlord|
|1977||The Stick Up||Tall Cop|
|1980||Little Lord Fauntleroy||Kimsey|
|1985||Invitation to the Wedding||Vine|
|1985||Turtle Diary||Garage Attendant with Bucket|
Dame June Rosemary Whitfield was an English radio, television and film actress.
Peter Malcolm Gordon Moffett, known professionally as Peter Davison, is an English actor with many credits in television dramas and sitcoms. He made his television acting debut in 1975 and became famous in 1978 as Tristan Farnon in the BBC's television adaptation of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small stories.
Paul Shane was an English comedian and actor known for his television work, in particular playing Ted Bovis in Hi-de-Hi!, a 1980s BBC sitcom.
Mollie Sugden was an English comedy actress, best known for portraying the saleswoman Mrs Slocombe in the British sitcom Are You Being Served? (1972–1985). She later reprised this role in Grace & Favour (1992–1993). Sugden and her co-star John Inman became cult figures in America, so much so she was asked to appear in Donizetti's opera, La fille du regiment, in a non-singing role. Sugden appeared in many other television series, including The Liver Birds, That's My Boy and Coronation Street.
Robert Lindsay is an English stage and TV actor. His first major role on TV was playing Wolfie Smith in Citizen Smith. He appeared in sitcoms, most notably as Ben Harper in My Family, playing the role for over a decade, and narrated TV adaptations of the children's television series Brambly Hedge. His film appearances include Fierce Creatures and Wimbledon. He appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in musical theatre. He won a BAFTA, a Tony Award, and two Olivier Awards for his work.
Patricia Amy Rowlands was an English actress who is best remembered for her roles in the Carry On films series, as Betty Lewis in the ITV Thames sitcom Bless This House, and as Alice Meredith in the Yorkshire Television sitcom Hallelujah!.
The Krankies are a Scottish comedy duo who enjoyed success as a cabaret act in the 1970s and on television in the 1980s, featuring in their own television shows and making pop records. Since this period, they have also regularly appeared in pantomime. The duo comprises wife Janette Tough and her husband Ian. As the Krankies they portray schoolboy Wee Jimmy Krankie (Janette), and paternal figure Ian Krankie (Ian), though in their comedy act they also portray other characters. Beginning in the 1990s, they regularly appeared as The Krankies in episodes of the BBC comedy series French and Saunders.
Mark Preston Curry is an English actor and television and radio presenter.
James Robinson Clitheroe, popularly known as Jimmy Clitheroe, was an English comic entertainer. He is best remembered for his long running BBC Radio programme, The Clitheroe Kid (1956–72).
Hylda Baker was an English comedian, actress and music hall performer. Born and brought up in Farnworth, Lancashire, she is perhaps best remembered for her role as Nellie Pledge in the Granada ITV sitcom Nearest and Dearest (1968–1973) and for her role in the 1960 film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
Janet Stephanie Francis is an English actress. She appeared as Penny Warrender in the 1980s romantic comedy Just Good Friends.
Sarah Parish is an English actress. She is known for her work on television series including: The Pillars of the Earth, Peak Practice, Hearts and Bones, Cutting It, Doctor Who, Mistresses, Merlin, Atlantis, Monroe, HBO’s Industry, Trollied,W1A and as the titular character in Bancroft.
Nearest and Dearest is a British television sitcom that ran from 1968 to 1973. A total of 46 episodes were made, 18 in monochrome and 28 in colour. The series, produced by Granada Television for the ITV network, starred Hylda Baker and Jimmy Jewel as squabbling middle-aged siblings Nellie and Eli Pledge who ran a family pickle business in Colne, Lancashire, in the North West of England.
James Arthur Thomas Jewel Marsh, known professionally as Jimmy Jewel, was an English comedian and actor whose long career in stage, radio, television and film productions, included a 32-year partnership with his cousin Ben Warriss.
Christopher Beeny was an English actor and dancer. He had a career as a child actor, but was best known for his work as the footman Edward Barnes on the 1970s television series Upstairs, Downstairs, as Billy Henshaw in the sitcom In Loving Memory, and as the incompetent debt collector and golfer Morton Beamish in Last of the Summer Wine.
Paul Mackriell Copley is an English actor and voiceover artist. In 2020, he began appearing in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street as Arthur Medwin.
Duggie Brown is an English comedian and actor. He is the brother of actress and singer Lynne Perrie.
John Comer was a British comic actor. He was best known for his roles in Coronation Street as Mr Birtles, then as a taxi driver, and later as Wilf Jones, in Emmerdale Farm as Ernie Shuttleworth, Les Brandon in I Didn't Know You Cared, and cafe owner Sid in Last of the Summer Wine.
Ronald Crabtree known by his stage name Danny Ross, was a British comedian best remembered for his role alongside Jimmy Clitheroe in the long running BBC Radio comedy show The Clitheroe Kid (1957–1973).
Adrian Charles Edmondson is an English comedian, actor, musician and television presenter. He was part of the alternative comedy boom in the early 1980s and had roles in the television series The Young Ones (1982–1984) and Bottom (1991–1995), which he wrote together with his collaborative partner Rik Mayall. Edmondson also appeared in The Comic Strip Presents... series of films throughout the 1980s and 1990s. For one episode of this he created the spoof heavy metal band Bad News, and for another he played his nihilistic alter-ego Eddie Monsoon, an offensive South African television star.