Bernard Archard: Star of the TV series 'Spycatcher'

Disillusioned with the experience of regular unemployment as an actor in Britain, in 1959 Bernard Archard booked a seat on the next boat to Canada, with plans to make a new start. But then he was asked to audition for the starring role in Spycatcher, as Lt-Col Oreste Pinto, a wartime Allied counter-espionage expert.

"Producer Terence Cook and I knew that Colonel Pinto – aged about 40 – was a star part, but we wanted an 'unknown' to play it," said Robert Barr, who scripted the drama. "Agents laughed. No one of star value, they said, could possibly have reached that age without being a star." But Archard was summoned, after a BBC employee recalled him as a Coal Board official in a 1958 dramatised documentary on open-cast mining, and he landed the role.

Based on the memoirs of Pinto – described by Eisenhower as "the greatest living expert in security" – Spycatcher (1959-61) charted the exploits of Pinto and his team of investigators as they relentlessly tried to root out potential spies entering Britain. The programme, which ran to four series, finally made Archard a star at the age of 43 and he became a prolific character actor in films and on television.

Three decades later, in 1992 he became familiar to soap viewers in Emmerdale as Leonard Kempinski, second husband of the serial's matriarch, Annie Sugden. Archard's time in the programme was brought to an abrupt end when Kempinski became a victim of a Lockerbie-style plane crash in 1993.

Born in London in 1916, Archard won a scholarship to train at Rada, where he lost his cockney accent, before working for many years in repertory theatre. He made his television début as a doctor in an episode of Kenilworth (1957), based on the novel by Sir Walter Scott, and was first seen on the big screen in the horror melodrama Corridors of Blood (1958), starring Boris Karloff.

Following his success in Spycatcher, Archard was frequently typecast as policemen, in long-forgotten films such as The Clue of the New Pin (1960), Man Detained (1961), The Silent Playground (1963) and The List of Adrian Messenger (1963). On television, he was HM Inspector of Constabulary on official visits to the police stations in both Z Cars (1965) and its spin-off, Softly Softly (1967). "They suddenly thought they had found someone who could ask the questions properly and I have been doing it ever since," he said.

But he was also seen in films as a vicar in Village of the Damned (1960), a Russian intelligence chief in The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966) and a priest in Fragment of Fear (1970). On television, he was frequently cast as doctors, in episodes of Danger Man (1961), No Hiding Place (1962), The Avengers (1968), The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (1971) and Bergerac (1985, 1987).

Archard also had two roles in Doctor Who serials, as Bragen, the security chief seeking complete control of a colony of humans on the planet Vulcan, in "The Power of the Daleks " (1966) and Marcus Scarman, an Egyptologist possessed by an evil force, in "Pyramids of Mars" (1975).

Anthony Hayward

Bernard Joseph Archard, actor: born London 20 August 1916; registered civil partnership 2006 with Jim Belchamber; died Witham Friary, Somerset 1 May 2008.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin