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?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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

Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

Recruitment Genius: Business Support Administrator - Part Time

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding business based in ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - Scotland

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas