Catching up with Last of the Summer Wine actors, part two

Tea Time Tidbit for the week of May 23, 2016

This week we continue taking a look at what the surviving cast members of Last of the Summer Wine have been up to since the conclusion of the series.


Brian Murphy as Alvin Smedley

Brian Murphy played Alvin Smedley from 2003 to 2010, and if you’re a fan of The Café, which airs on Wednesdays at 1pm, I’m sure you’ve recognized him in the role of Frank Dobson. You might also have seen Murphy in an episode of Hustle called "The Thieving Mistake".

Murphy, who turns 83 in September, lives in Kent with his novelist/actress wife Linda Regan. The couple married in 1995, having met in the seaside resort of Eastbourne, while appearing as a married couple in a play called Wife Begins At 40. (A couple of years later in another play they were father and daughter!). The couple reportedly “hit it off straight away” and one of the things Murphy enjoys now that LOTSW has ended is that he gets to spend “time at home with Linda”. "Home" happens to be the oldest house in Bromley, which was also once lived in by children’s author Enid Blyton, the novelist H.G. Wells, and the poet Shelley.


Brian Murphy and his wife Linda Regan (right)
with Sarah Thomas (LOTSW's Glenda)

Since LOTSW, Murphy has appeared in some films, including Grave Tales in 2011, Run For Your Wife in 2012, and Man Down in 2013. A couple of years ago he was in the popular BBC medical drama series Holby City and this year he appeared in its sister program, Casualty. Murphy also does voice over work and promotional work for the archive film and television channel Talking Pictures TV, which is a subject close to his heart as he collects old films. With a 60-year-long acting career under his belt, Murphy has no plans to retire. As he says “there will always be demand for an old codger!”

Mike Grady
© Vincenzo Photography

Mike Grady appeared in LOTSW as Barry Wilkinson from 1986 to 1990 and from 1996 until the series concluded in 2010. Grady, who celebrated his 70th birthday in February, continues to appear on stage and in television. Having trained as a classical actor at Bristol Old Vic, Grady’s stage credits are extensive. Last year he performed in London’s West End in a play called Taken at Midnight, which also starred Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey). In 2013, Grady put his comedic acting skills to good use in the role of Verges in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, with David Tennant and Catherine Tate. He was also part of the Globe Theatre’s 2013 touring production of the three parts of Shakespeare’s Henry VI, where he played Henry Beaufort, the Bishop of Winchester.

During Grady’s first break from LOTSW in 1990, he was in a TV science fiction comedy called Not With A Bang. Unlike LOTSW, the series was short lived and was cancelled after just seven episodes. Another series Grady was in that fared better was the comedy Up The Garden Path. It ran for three years from 1990 to 1993 and featured Imelda Staunton as a school teacher in love with a married man. Grady played another teacher in the school. In 1992, Grady starred in a BBC television film An Ungentlemanly Act, about the first days of the invasion of the Falkland Islands. You can also see Grady in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which stars Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock and Jude Law as Doctor Watson.

Grady's voice is in much demand on television, radio and as an audio book narrator. He is also a popular on the after dinner speaker circuit, where he regales guests with accounts of his early days in show business. Now that’s something meek and mild Barry Wilkinson would never have the courage to do!

I’ll have more on the LOTSW surviving cast members next week. In the meantime, you can see the series every afternoon at 1:30pm on Afternoon Tea.

To contact Heather:
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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Afternoon Tea is Maryland Public Television's weekday presentation of British programs.
Our host and Tea Lady is Heather Sanderson.
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