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MEET THE CAST --Continued...


CHRISTOPHER ETTRIDGE a k a REG DEADMAN



Playing Reg Deadman in 56 episodes from 1993 - 1999

he was the nations favourite bumbling bobby.

Christopher Ettridge (born 21.02.48 Isleworth London) has enjoyed a thirty year acting career in theatre, film and BBC television. He has performed in London's West End (i.e. Dreaming by Peter Barnes at the Queen's Theatre and in many plays at the Royal Court); at the Royal National Theatre (i.e. in The Dinner through December 2002); in Regents Park (i.e. Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Nights Dream); and in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Henry VI parts 1,2, and 3 (which won the South Bank and Olivier Awards) to name but a few shows in his long, established career.


In addition, Mr. Ettridge enjoys sharing his talents with young aspiring Theatre workers and was delighted to be at ECSU to teach Advanced Acting and to direct The Visit.  Mr. Ettridge also presented a University Hour in the Betty Tipton room in which the cast of the show demonstrated rehearsal techniques that led to the show which ran in the Harry Hope Theatre in April 2003. Mr. Ettridge is now back in England having just finished playing in the Royal National Theatre’s West End production of Democracy.


He is well-known as Reg in the BBC's Goodnight Sweetheart and for the villainous Graeme in East Enders as well as for Samson Brass in Disney's The Old Curiosity Shop. He will soon be seen in TNT's Julius Caesar as Apollonius (again to name but a few examples). In addition, Mr. Ettridge enjoys sharing his talents with young aspiring Theatre workers and has directed student productions (i.e. at the The Drama Centre London).


He is delighted to be coming to ECSU to teach Advanced Acting and to direct the next Harry Hope Millennium Milestone in Theatre Production - Durrenmatt's The Visit. Audiences will witness an important mid-20th Century play written in the aftermath of World War II which resonates profoundly to the human condition then and now but, hopefully, not in the future.


Mr. Ettridge has inspired the Harry Hope designers (headed up by Bob Ritz, Associate Professor of Scene Design and Production Manager along with a team of guest artists) with his expressionistic directorial concept which will be realized by innovative set, lighting, costume, sound and movement production elements.


DAVID BENSON a k a NOEL COWARD


Playing Noel Coward in 6 episodes from 1998 - 1999

David soon showed how perfectly suited he was Noel

  

The Story So Far by David Benson.


Born:9.05am, 11th January 1962 in Oxford, along with a sister, Miranda. Older brother Jonathan furious.


Original surname: Hodgson. Changed legally in 1996 on joining Equity, is they already had a David Hodgson. This was a relief as Hodgson is not a good name for an actor – no one can spell it. ‘Benson’ has family precedents on paternal side: related by some obscure route to E.F Benson of Mapp and Lucia fame and to the Edwardian actor-manager Sir Frank Benson, allegedly knighted by the king after a performance of Hamlet using a sword from the prop basket – according to late Grandfather Arthur C. Hodgson, who was invited as a youth to join Benson’s company.


Educated:


Park Hall Secondary Modern, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham,

Sutton Coldfield College of Further Education.

Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies, Royal Holloway College (Univ. of London)

Moved to Edinburgh late 1985 in order to ‘find himself’. Various jobs including skivvy in restaurant kitchen and worker in Scotland’s first lesbian and gay bookshop.


Acting career:


From 1990 – 1996 worked with director Jeremy Weller of the Edinburgh-based Grassmarket Project Theatre Company on a series of award-winning, explosive, semi-documentary dramas, improvised with non-professional casts, ranging from homeless men (Glad, 1990-92), to pensioners (One Moment, 1993) and a young woman whose brother was killed in police custody (20/52, 1995).


1996

First one-man show premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe. Think No Evil of Us: My Life With Kenneth Williams won a Scotsman Fringe First Award, was an instant hit with critics and audiences and was picked up by producers G & J Productions, who sent the show on a national tour (see separate list for full tour dates). The show ended its run with a brief run in the West End of London in 1998. Revived 2001 and still touring. Benson claims he will continue touring the show, ‘till I drop.’


Think No Evil of Us returned to the King’s Head for a a three-week sell out run April 2003


1998

Second one-man show premiered at Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Fringe:


Nothing But Pleasure was timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. It was largely written as snub to those who assumed that Benson’s second show would be about Frankie Howerd (‘As if I intended to spend the rest of my life impersonating dead, camp comedians!’). It consists mainly of a detailed description of the events at the funeral.


Nothing But Pleasure was subsequently invited to the Sydney Festival, where Benson and pianist/arranger David Paul Jones performed it at The Playhouse in the Sydney Opera House in January 1999.


The show was reborn for a run at The Jermyn Street Theatre in 2000 under the title Mourning Glory. It was produced and re-directed by Ashley Russell of Big Bad Bear Productions.


2001

After a period of theatrical inactivity during which he moved from Edinburgh, his home of thirteen years, to London David returned to the Fringe and to touring. Under a new producer, Edward Snape of Fiery Angel Benson wrote and performed a sequel to Think No Evil of Us - My Life With Kenneth Williams. Breaking a vow he had made in 1998 never to play another dead, camp comic, he turned his attention to the late Frankie Howerd. To Be Frank played The Pleasance, Edinburgh at the 2001 festival. As well as being an examination of the life and career of Howerd, the show, like all of Benson’s work, has a strong autobiographical element: he gives an uncompromising account of his ‘period of theatrical inactivity’ in a sequence that culminates with the uproarious ‘slaughter’ of a collection of ‘irritating television personalities’.


2002

After parting company – amicably - with producers Fiery Angel, David decided to go it alone for the first time, following in the footsteps of his forebear Sir Frank Benson by becoming a roving – albeit solo – actor-manager.


In January 2002 Benson received an email from John Nicholson of the brilliant comedy troupe Peepolykus, asking if he knew anyone who could step into the breach to play a part in their production of Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist classic Rhinoceros. As it happened the tour dates co-incided with a large gap in Benson’s diary and he was quick to nominate himself for the part. Which is how he came to spend much of the year working with one of his favourite companies, touring in a white van as one of the team and learning many new tricks along the way. Rhinoceros toured the U.K. for the first half of 2002 and returned for a sell-out season at the Lyric Hammersmith and another sell-out date at the Battersea Arts Centre.


2003

Star Struck


It was during the long drives to and from gigs that Benson and Peepolykus founder member David Sant first discussed the possibility of working on a new show together. The result, a year later is Star Struck - at the time of writing, about to be born at the Edinburgh Fringe. This show marks David’s return to the Assembly Rooms, one of the most prestigious Edinburgh venues, and is his fourth one man show.


David is also the co-deviser and director of All The Rage, the first solo stage show by the legendary Janet Street-Porter, also to be premiered at the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe.


Over the period 2015-2017 David performed the shows Boris: world king and Dad’s Army hour at the fringe both of which were so popular they continued on full tour’s around the uk.


Television


· Goodnight Sweetheart (BBC) as Noel Coward, Series Five (1998) and Six (1999)

· Reputations (BBC 1998) reading Kenneth Williams Diary extracts


Radio


· Ruth Draper and Her Company of Characters, December 2002 (BBC Radio 4) – an appreciation of the life and career of one of the most important influences on Benson’s stage work (30 mins).


David Benson has appeared as interviewee on countless BBC and independent radio shows including:


· Parkinson’s Sunday Supplement

· Loose Ends

· Kaleidoscope (no sound file)

· Mavis Nicholson

· Midweek


His latest radio project is The Secret Life of Kenneth Williams, a three-part series for BBC Radio 4, produced by Jonathan James Moore. The programmes will combine selected diary extracts read by Benson, alongside related Kenneth Williams recordings from the BBC archives. Due for broadcast November 2003.


Text taken from David's own website.


Theatre credits include: Talking To Terrorists (Royal Court); Democracy, Dinner (The National Theatre); Henry VI Parts I,II & III, Richard III (Royal Shakespeare Company); Dreaming (Queens Theatre); About The Boy/Bluebird (Royal Court); One More Wasted Year, Stranger’s House (Royal Court); Serving It Up (Bush); Three Birds Alighting In A Field , Colquhoun and McBride, Some Singing Blood (Royal Court); Lady From The Sea (Women’s Playhouse); The Shape Of The Table (National Theatre); The Man Who Had All The Luck (Young Vic); Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, Bartholomew Fair (Regents Park); Trumpets and Raspberries (Phoenix); The Ice Chimney (Lyric, Hammersmith); Cherry Orchard, The Strongest Man In The World (Roundhouse)


Regional theatre credits include:The Grouch (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Travels With My Aunt (New Wolsey Ipswich); White Devil (Brighton Pavilion); Dragon Island (Hong Kong); Dead Funny (No 1 Tour); Winter In The Morning (Watford Palace); Intimate Exchanges ( Bristol Old Vic); Woman In Mind (Newcastle); King John’s Jewel (Birmingham Repertory Theatre); Can’Pay, Won’t Pay (Cambridge Theatre Company); Working Class Hero (Nuffield Theatre); Joking Apart (Crucible, Sheffield); The Caretaker, Hamlet, Antonio, Toads (Nottingham Playhouse)


Television credits include: Julius Caesar, A Is For Acid, Eastenders, Doctors, Worst Witch, Goodnight Sweetheart (6 series), Bramwell, The Old Curiosity Shop, The Decent Thing, Harry, Hard Times, Casualty, Boot Bond Street, Minder, Goodbye Columbus, The Bill, Love Hurts, Rag Doll, Death Is Part Of The Process, The Glory Boys, Anthony and Cleopatra


Film credits include: Hitler: The Rise Of Evil, Dog-Days, I Capture The Castle, Kevin And Perry, Esther, Queen Of Persia, Warburg (Hartley), The Chain


Radio credits include: Number 10, Basil, Getting Nowhere Fast.

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