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Thanks to David Tulley for the photo
Robert Powell
Born 1 June 1944
Robert Powell is a very well-known English television and film actor, probably most famous for his title role in Jesus of Nazareth and as the fictional secret agent Richard Hannay and featuring in the sitcom The Detectives alongside Jasper Carrott.

His distinctive voice features in many TV advertisements and documentaries.

Currently his role on TV is Mark Williams on BBC One medical drama, Holby City and has a regular spot narrating literary passages on BBC4's The Book Quiz.

Born in Salford, and educated at Manchester Grammar School and Salford University, Powell took up acting while an undergraduate. He had a small role in the original version of The Italian Job playing one of the drivers, but had to wait a few years for his first success, playing scientist Toby Wren in the BBC's sci-fi series, Doomwatch in 1970.

Having been at his request killed off in the last episode of the original series, Powell became a pin-up and a household name, following up with starring roles in several BBC serials, including Sentimental Education and Jude the Obscure.

The Wednesday Play Bam! Pow! Zap! by Nigel Kneale. Robert Powell starred as Arkie.

For several years, Powell continued as a television regular, with occasional forays into film, notably as Mahler in 1974. He also notably played Captain Walker in the 1975 Ken Russell film version of Tommy. His role had no lines at all and apart from a few early scenes during the overture with Ann-Margret, he is primarily seen through the mind of his son as played by Barry Winch (Young Tommy) and Roger Daltrey. In one of those scenes Captain Walker is shown in a crucifixion pose.

He then played Jesus Christ in the series Jesus of Nazareth following a successful second audition with Franco Zeffirelli. The series had an all star cast, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Rod Steiger and James Mason. For this role, Powell was nominated for a BAFTA award, and collected the TV Times Best Actor award for the same performance.
In 1975, Powell married his girlfriend, the Pan's People dancer Babs Lord. This happened quickly and quietly, partly due to the fact he was about to start filming for Jesus of Nazareth, and partly to overcome problems if she flew out to see him on location in Morocco. Both felt it would be easier if they were married.

On 23 November 1977, they had their son, Barney, followed in 1979 by a daughter, Kate.

In 1978, Powell took the leading role of Richard Hannay in the third film version of The Thirty-Nine Steps. It met with modest success, and critics compared Powell's portrayal of John Buchan's character favourably with his predecessors. His characterisation did indeed prove to be enduring, as almost ten years later a television series entitled simply Hannay appeared with Powell back in the role, (although the Buchan short stories on which the series was based were set in an earlier period than The Thirty-Nine Steps). Hannay ran for two seasons.

In 1980 Powell appeared in the film Harlequin playing the Harlequin of the title who seems to have the power to cure the son of a powerful politician. For this performance, he won the Best Actor Award at the Paris Film Festival. In 1982, he won Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his role in Imperativ.

Powell then agreed to a request from his old friend and golf partner, comedian Jasper Carrott, taking the part of an incompetent detective in a succession of sketches that formed part of Carrott's television series. The Detectives was so popular that it was turned into a sitcom, Powell's first and only venture into this genre.

In 1986, Powell narrated and co-starred in William C. Faure's popular miniseries Shaka Zulu...with soccer legend Henry Cele in the title role.

In 1992, Powell starred in the New Zealand World War I film Chunuk Bair, as Sgt Maj Frank Smith.

Nowadays Powell appears in person less often, but his distinctive voice is frequently heard on voice-overs, advertisements, and as a narrator of television programmes such as Great Crimes and Trials. He has also narrated many audio books including The Thirty Nine Steps, abridged versions of many of Alan Garner's books, and several abridged novels for 'The Talking Classics Collection'. Powell has also lent his voice to musical works, such as David Bedford's album The Rime of the Ancient Mariner[1], or the 2002 rock opera The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman, where he played the role of John Watson. He also made use of his narrating skills on a rock album by Rick Wakeman called The Cost of Living.

In early 2005 he became a regular in the UK TV soap, Holby City.

On 29 October 2001 a state-of-the-art theatre named after him was opened at the University of Salford.

Robert Powell presenting "On Location" a ten minute short
(2006 - Short Animation film 'B-Mail'. Principal voiceover as The Pink Professor - "TPP" Rabbit (and other characters). Creator and Executive Producer Hazel Speed, provides voiceover for Hazel the Hedgehog. Film is humorous quirky philosophical thinking. It was shown within the Barbican Animation Film Festival 2008, also on the Ventura Cruise Ship, December 2008, and in 2009 a brief clip featured within a storyline of 'The Bill' TV series episode entitled 'One Year On'. This pilot animation short film is also on download sales via website main page link

On 9 February 2008 he performed as narrator Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Natalia Luis-Bassa in the North of England.

 Jude the Obscure

Sentimental Education

With thanks to John Archbold for the Radio Times and TV Times covers and articles.

Frankenstein (1984) TV Movie

Robert Powell is convincing as Victor Frankenstein,bringing out all the subtleties that are needed to make the role sympathetic. Carrie Fisher is charming and pretty as Elizabeth, Victor's bride, and David Warner evokes sympathy as the creature. its also nice to see Sir John Gielgud as the blind man, he gives a wonderfully understated performance. 

What the film lack is the novel's great ending. Victor destroys the lab killing himself and the creature in this film. the novel of course has him track the creature through the north pole, perishing in the attempt. The lack of budget is, I am sure what prevented them from filming the novels ending. For a small budget however, it was a well done film. 

Feature Film’s Robert Has starred in

The Italian Job (1969) Robert Powell stars as Yellow

Robert Powell in Thriller Lady Killer as Paul Tanner 1972

Asylum (1972) - Robert Powell stars in the Asylum as Dr Martin

The Asphyx (1973) - Robert Powell stars as Giles Cunningham

Holby City (TV series)
Mark Williams
– Don't Go Changing (2011) … Mark Williams
– My Hero (2011) … Mark Williams
– China in Your Hands (2011) … Mark Williams
– Running the Gauntlet (2011) … Mark Williams
– The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (2010) … Mark Williams
See all 249 episodes »

2007 Infamous Assassinations (TV series)
– Mahatma Gandhi (2007) … Narrator
– Michael Collins (2007) … Narrator
– The Assassination of Che Guevara … Narrator
– The Assassination of John Lennon … Narrator
– The Assassination of Leon Trotsky … Narrator
See all 6 episodes »

2005 Colour Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story

2005 Dalziel and Pascoe (TV series)
Barry Jemmerson
– Heads You Lose: Part 2 (2005) … Barry Jemmerson
– Heads You Lose: Part 1 (2005) … Barry Jemmerson

2004 Agatha Christie's Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage (TV movie)
Dr. Haydock

2003 Hey Mr DJ
Jerome Jackson

2002 Seven Games from Glory (TV movie)

2001 Mudan Ting: The Peony Pavilion - A Kunju Opera (video)
Storyteller (voice)

1998 Escape (TV series)
Narrator (voice)

1993-1997 The Detectives (TV series)
Dave Briggs
– Go West Old Man (1997) … Dave Briggs
– Mine's a Large One (1997) … Dave Briggs
– Best Man (1997) … Dave Briggs
– The Curse of the Comanches (1997) … Dave Briggs
– The Beast of Hackney Marshes (1997) … Dave Briggs
See all 31 episodes »

1997 Pride of Africa (TV movie)
David Webb

1997 Treasure Island (video)
Dr. Livesey (voice)

1995 Fantomcat (TV series)
Fantomcat (voice)

1994 Kings and Queens of England Volume II (video)
Narrator (voice)

1993 The Legends of Treasure Island (TV series)
Dr. Livesey
– The Beginning of the End (1993) … Dr. Livesey (voice)
– The Fountain of Truth (1993) … Dr. Livesey (voice)
– The Merman Prince (1993) … Dr. Livesey (voice)
– The Labyrinth (1993) … Dr. Livesey (voice)
– Now You See Me (1993) … Dr. Livesey (voice)
See all 8 episodes »

1993 The Mystery of Edwin Drood

1993 Kings and Queens of England Volume I (video)
Narrator (voice)

1992 Das lange Gespräch mit dem Vogel (TV movie)
John Barth

1992 Il segno del comando (TV movie)
Edward Foster

1992 The First Circle (TV movie)
Gleb Nershin

1992 The Golden Years (TV movie)
Hernan Cortez

1992 Chunuk Bair
Sgt. Maj. Frank Smith

1991 Merlin of the Crystal Cave (TV movie)

1990 Romeo.Juliet
Romeo (voice)

1990 Pasternak (TV movie)
Boris Pasternak

1990 Canned Carrott (TV series)
Dave Briggs (segment "Detectives, The")

1988-1989 Hannay (TV series)
Richard Hannay
– Say the bells of Shoreditch (1989) … Richard Hannay
– That Rough Music (1989) … Richard Hannay
– The Confidence Man (1989) … Richard Hannay
– The Good Samaritan (1989) … Richard Hannay
– Double Jeopardy (1989) … Richard Hannay
See all 13 episodes »

1987 Shaka Zulu
Dr. Henry Fynn

1986 Shaka Zulu (TV mini-series)
Dr. Henry Fynn
– Part I (1986) … Dr. Henry Fynn

1986 Laggiù nella giungla

1985 What Waits Below
Rupert 'Wolf' Wolfsen

1985 D'Annunzio
Gabriele D'Annunzio

1984/I Frankenstein (TV movie)
Dr. Victor Frankenstein

1984 The Jigsaw Man
Jamie Fraser

1982 Imperativ

1982 Hallmark Hall of Fame (TV series)
– The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1982) … Phoebus

1981 The Survivor

1981 Pygmalion (TV movie)
Professor Henry Higgins

1981 La chanson du mal aimé

1980 Jane Austen in Manhattan

1980 Harlequin
Gregory Wolfe

1978 The Thirty Nine Steps
Richard Hannay

1978 The Four Feathers (TV movie)
Jack Durrance

1972-1977 BBC Play of the Month (TV series)
Frank Gardner / Valentine
– You Never Can Tell (1977) … Valentine
– Caucasian Chalk Circle (1973)
– Mrs. Warren's Profession (1972) … Frank Gardner

1977 Al di là del bene e del male
Paul Rée

1977 Jesus of Nazareth (TV mini-series)
Jesus Christ
– Part 2 (1977) … Jesus Christ
– Part 1 (1977) … Jesus Christ

1975 Looking for Clancy (TV series)
Frank Clancy

1975 Tommy
Captain Walker

1974 Mahler
Gustav Mahler

1973-1974 Thriller (TV series)
Paul Tanner / Rook
– Death to Sister Mary (1974) … Rook
– Lady Killer (1973) … Paul Tanner

1974 Zodiac (TV series)
Brian Godfrey
– Sting Sting Scorpio (1974) … Brian Godfrey

1974 Crown Court (TV series)
Lance Porter
– 30,000 Pieces of Silver: Part 1 (1974) … Lance Porter

1973 The Asphyx
Giles Cunningham

1969-1973 Thirty-Minute Theatre (TV series)
– Is Nellie Dead? (1973)
– Roses, Roses, All the Way (1969)

1973 Wide World Mystery (TV series)
Paul Tanner
– Lady Killer (1973) … Paul Tanner

1972 The Edwardians (TV mini-series)
Mr. Rolls
– Mr. Rolls and Mr. Royce (1972) … Mr. Rolls

1972 Mr. Rolls and Mr. Royce (TV movie)
Charles Stewart Rolls

1972/I Asylum
Dr. Martin (segment 4 "Mannikins of Horror")

1972 Shelley (TV movie)
Percy Bysshe Shelley

1972 Running Scared
Tom Betancourt

1972 ITV Playhouse (TV series)
– Seventeen Percent Said Push Off (1972) … Gavin

1971 Secrets

1971 Masterpiece Theatre (TV series)
Jude Fawley
– Jude the Obscure (1971) … Jude Fawley

1971 Jude the Obscure (TV mini-series)
Jude Fawley
– Christminster Again (1971) … Jude Fawley
– To Aldbrickham (1971) … Jude Fawley
– To Shaston (1971) … Jude Fawley
– To Melchester (1971) … Jude Fawley
– To Christminster (1971) … Jude Fawley
See all 6 episodes »

1970 Sentimental Education (TV mini-series)
Frederic Moreau
– The Philanderer (1970) … Frederic Moreau
– The Red Rose and the White (1970) … Frederic Moreau
– A Start to Loving (1970) … Frederic Moreau

1970 Doomwatch (TV series)
Tobias Wren
– Survival Code (1970) … Tobias Wren
– Hear No Evil (1970) … Tobias Wren
– The Battery People (1970) … Tobias Wren
– Train and De-Train (1970) … Tobias Wren
– Spectre at the Feast (1970) … Tobias Wren
See all 13 episodes »

1969-1970 The Wednesday Play (TV series)
Arkie / Lionel Crane / Shaun
– The Hunting of Lionel Crane (1970) … Lionel Crane
– The Season of the Witch (1970) … Shaun
– Bam! Pow! Zapp! (1969) … Arkie

1969 ITV Sunday Night Theatre (TV series)
Taigo Wilson
– Nora (1969)
– Diddled (1969) … Taigo Wilson

1969 Walk a Crooked Path

1969 Tower of London: The Innocent (TV movie)
Earl of Warwick

1969 The Italian Job

1969 Z Cars (TV series)
– Alibi: Part 2 (1969) … Norris
– Alibi: Part 1 (1969) … Norris

1968 City 68' (TV series)
Paul Pevney
– The System: The Fleapit (1968) … Paul Pevney

1967 Robbery
Deltic Train Guard (uncredited)

1966 The Hunchback of Notre Dame (TV series)
– Accusation (1966) … Citizen

Hide HideSelf (45 titles)
2011 The Many Faces of... (TV series documentary)
– Michael Caine (2011) … Himself

2010 Hitler's Bodyguard (TV series documentary)
– Poison Gas Plot in the Bunker (2010) … Narrator
– Nearly Assassinated at the Berghof (2010) … Narrator
– Attempts to Kill Hitler at Wolf's Lair (2010) … Narrator
– Hitler's Dangerous Train Journeys (2010) … Narrator
– Flights Into Danger (2010) … Narrator
See all 13 episodes »

2008-2009 The Book Quiz (TV series)
Himself - Announcer
– Poetry Special (2009) … Himself - Announcer (voice)
– Episode #3.10 (2009) … Himself - Announcer (voice)
– Episode #3.9 (2009) … Himself - Announcer (voice)
– Episode #3.8 (2009) … Himself - Announcer (voice)
– Episode #3.7 (2009) … Himself - Announcer (voice)
See all 19 episodes »

2009 The British Soap Awards 2009 (TV movie)
Himself - Presenter

2008 Strictly Come Dancing (TV series)
Himself - Audience Member
– Round Nine Results (2008) … Himself - Audience Member
– Round Nine (2008) … Himself - Audience Member (uncredited)

2008 The Weakest Link (TV series)
Himself - Contestant
– Holby City and Casualty (2008) … Himself - Contestant

2008 The ONE Show (TV series)
– Episode dated 27 May 2008 (2008) … Himself

2008 An Audience Without Jeremy Beadle (TV movie)

2006 The Cult of... (TV series documentary)
– Doomwatch (2006) … Himself

2006 The Play's the Thing (TV series documentary)
– Episode #1.1 (2006) … Himself (uncredited)

2006 The Passion: Films, Faith & Fury (TV documentary)

2006 University Challenge (TV series)
– Actors vs. Writers (2006) … Himself

2005 Richard & Judy (TV series)
– Episode dated 18 April 2005 (2005) … Himself

2005 H Side Story (TV series documentary)
Narrator (voice)

2005 Churchill's Bodyguard (TV series documentary)
– Attack at the Flying Boat Dock (2005) … Narrator
– Dangerous Travels (2005) … Narrator
– Indian Nationalist Assassin (2005) … Narrator
– Lawrence & Walter Save the Day (2005) … Narrator
– Love Him to Death (2005) … Narrator
See all 13 episodes »

2004 Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness (documentary)
Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (voice)

2004 Great SAS Missions (TV mini-series documentary)
– Birth of the SAS … Narrator (voice)
– Desert Storm Scudbusters … Narrator (voice)
– Retaking the Falklands … Narrator (voice)

2004 Countryfile (TV series)
– Episode dated 21 March 2004 (2004) … Himself

2004 Heroes of World War II (TV series documentary)
– The Men Behind D-Day (2004) … Narrator
– The Men Who Lit Up Germany (2004) … Narrator
– The Man Who Hoodwinked Hitler (2004) … Narrator
– The Men Who Liberated Belsen (2004) … Narrator
– The Man Who Saved Britain's Cities (2004) … Narrator
See all 10 episodes »

2003 Today with Des and Mel (TV series)
– Episode dated 11 November 2003 (2003) … Himself

2002 Gladiators of World War II (TV series documentary)
– Norwegian Resistance Fighters (2002) … Narrator (voice)
– RAF Fighter Command (2002) … Narrator (voice)
– SAS (2002) … Narrator (voice)
– Special Operations Executive (2002) … Narrator (voice)
– The Anzacs (2002) … Narrator (voice)
See all 13 episodes »

2002 The Zulu Wars 1879 (documentary)

2001 This Morning (TV series)
– Episode dated 19 September 2001 (2001) … Himself

2001 A Chinese Cracker: The Making of 'The Peony Pavilion' in Shanghai New York and Paris (TV documentary)
Narrator (voice)

2001 Open House with Gloria Hunniford (TV series documentary)
– Episode dated 4 July 2001 (2001) … Himself

2001 Countdown (TV series)
– Episode #44.37 (2001) … Himself

2000 Great Crimes and Trials (TV series documentary)
Narrator (2000)

2000 Ex-S (TV series documentary)
Himself - Narrator
– Aleister Crowley: The Other Loch Ness Monster (2000) … Himself - Narrator (voice)

1998 Secrets of World War II (TV series documentary)
– Cruises of the Secret Raiders (1998) … Narrator
– Home Run from Colditz (1998) … Narrator
– Destroying Hitler's Oil Fields (1998) … Narrator
– The Amazing Colonel Doolittle (1998) … Narrator
– Merrill's Marauders (1998) … Narrator
See all 26 episodes »

1979-1998 This Is Your Life (TV series documentary)
– Rick Wakeman (1998) … Himself
– Robert Powell (1979) … Himself

1997 Great Romances of the 20th Century: Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall (TV documentary short)
Narrator (voice)

1997 Great Romances of the 20th Century: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (TV documentary short)

1996 Great Mysteries and Myths of the Twentieth Century (TV series documentary)

1994 The Century of Warfare (TV mini-series documentary)

1993 Titanic (video documentary)

1991 Max Ernst: Mein Vagabundieren - Meine Unruhe (documentary)
Max Ernst (voice: English version)

1990 The South Bank Show (TV series documentary)
Voice of Boris Pasternak
– Pasternak (1990) … Voice of Boris Pasternak

1974-1984 Call My Bluff (TV series)
– Episode dated 7 December 1984 (1984) … Himself
– Episode dated 30 November 1984 (1984) … Himself
– Episode dated 3 April 1979 (1979) … Himself
– Episode dated 27 March 1979 (1979) … Himself
– Episode dated 4 November 1974 (1974) … Himself
See all 6 episodes »

1984 Sunday, Sunday (TV series)
– Episode dated 25 March 1984 (1984) … Himself

1984 The Wandering Company (TV documentary)

1981 Suddenly Among Strangers (short)
Himself - Commentator

1978 Our Show (TV series)
Himself - Guest
– Episode dated 1 July 1978 (1978) … Himself - Guest

1975 Anno Domini (TV series)
– The Greatest Story Ever Retold (1975) … Himself

1973 Film Night (TV series)
– Four to the Fore (1973) … Himself

1966 The Staffordshire Rebels (documentary)


  1. the Pink Professor animation - Robert Powell was voiceover for The Pink Professor Rabbit - philosophical pink rabbit

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