Richard Coleman: Actor who made his name in '... And Mother Makes Three'

In the 1970s, the actor Richard Coleman was one of the best-known faces on television, starring with Wendy Craig in two archetypal sitcoms of domestic mayhem.

Coleman joined her in thesitcom ...And Mother Makes Three,in which Craig played a dithering young widow, Sally Harrison, tryingto hold down a job while bringing up her two sons, with some assistance from her Auntie Flo. Sally metColeman's character, David Redway – himself a widower, with a daughter – towards the end of the second seriesin 1972, when he bought the vet'spractice where she worked as asecretary.

A year later, by which time David was running an antiquarian bookshop, the couple were married in an episode that hit No 1 in the television ratings. Inevitably, the resulting chaos followed in the newly titled ...And Mother Makes Five (1974-6).

Both series were created by the writer Richard Waring and followed his previous sitcom, Not in Front of the Children, which starred Wendy Craig in another family saga.

Coleman was born Ronald Coleman in Peckham, south London, in1930, and followed National Serviceby becoming a trainee salesmanfor the clothing manufacturer Aquascutum. After performing Shakespeare plays in pubs with the Tavernersamateur theatre company, he wonthe Leverhulme Scholarship to RADA in 1951 and, on graduation twoyears later, was awarded the Principal's Medal.

The actor changed his professional name to Richard Coleman to avoid confusion with the film star Ronald Colman and was soon appearing at Worthing Repertory Theatre in Sailor Beware! (1954) alongside Peggy Mount in the role of the fearsome, prospective mother-in-law who began her runof dragon-like characters on stageand screen. The following year, he transferred with her to the Strand Theatre for the show's successful West End run.

Although he did not appear in the film version with Mount, Coleman made his big-screen début as a naval officer in Yangtse Incident: the Story of HMS Amethyst (1957) and landed similar roles in Girls at Sea (1958) and The Navy Lark (based on the BBC radio sitcom, 1958). He also played the baddie Metellus in the biblical epic Ben-Hur (1959).

But it was in television that the actor's future lay. He had regular roles as Nick Allardyce in The Adventures of Ben Gunn (1958), a six-part serial by R.F. Delderfield featuring characters from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, the minstrel Alan-a-Dale in episodes of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1958-60) and Jack Royston in the soap opera Weavers Green (1966), set around a Norfolk country vet's practice.

Coleman also took one-off character roles in many popular television series, including Dixon of Dock Green (1963, 1964), No Hiding Place (1964, 1965), The Avengers (1966), Z Cars (1973), George and Mildred (1977) and Surgical Spirit (1991).

On stage, he enjoyed runs in the long-running Terence Frisby comedy There's a Girl in My Soup (Globe and Comedy Theatres, 1966-72), The World of Susie Wong, A Murder is Announced and The Mousetrap. Coleman also produced the Alan Ayckbourn play Absurd Person Singular on a British tour of Canada.

By the time of his last television appearance, playing a detective in an episode of the offbeat drama series Virtual Murder (1992), featuring Nicholas Clay as a psychology lecturer working with the police to investigate bizarre happenings, Coleman had moved to France with his wife, the actress Peggy Sinclair.



Ronald Coleman (Richard Coleman), actor: born London 20 January1930; married Peggy Sinclair (two daughters); died France 16 December 2008.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
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

Secondary supply teachers required in Wisbech

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers ne...

PPA Cover Teachers Required in Doncaster

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Primary PPA Teachers required for wo...

Maths teachers needed for supply work in Ipswich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...

Executive Assistant/Events Coordinator - Old Street, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering