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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
food + drinkClue: You'll either love them or you'll hate them
News
Howard Marks has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he has announced
people
News
newsIf you're India's Narendra Modi, it seems the answer is a pinstripe suit emblazoned with your own name
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
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

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project