Tuesday 4 October 2016

From the Archive: Whatever Happened To ... David Lodge?

I have been writing a series of blogs that focus on some of the less well-known supporting actors who, although never becoming stars in their own right, often worked consistently for a long number of years and contributed a huge amount to the ongoing success of the Carry On films.

Today I am going to look back at the career of another great actor who appeared in several Carry Ons - David Lodge. David first appeared in the series in Carry On Regardless, released in 1961. This early outing saw him pop up in the legendary wine tasting sequence which saw Joan Sims deliver a truly superb comic performance. David appears as one of the patrons at the wine club. 

It was then a further twelve years before David Lodge appeared in his next Carry On role. I have no idea why he wasn't asked back before this as he was a successful actor in many other films. At around the same time as Regardless, David appeared in other films for Rogers and Thomas, Watch Your Stern and Raising The Wind. David Lodge next appeared in Carry On Girls in 1973. In Girls, he played the local chief of police who was brought in by June Whitfield's Augusta Prodworthy to investigate the Fircombe Beauty Contest. This was probably David's most substantial role in the series.

This began a consecutive run of four mid-1970s Carry On roles. David made a cameo appearance in Carry On Dick the following year, playing Bullock in scenes alongside Kenneth Williams and Jack Douglas. In Carry On Behind, David appeared as a pub landlord in scenes with Windsor Davies and Jack Douglas. Finally, in Carry On England, released in 1976, David appears at the beginning of the film as Captain Bull, who is quickly replaced by Kenneth Connor at the army camp.

Although David Lodge only appeared in five Carry On films, he was more prolific in the Carry On Laughing television series which was broadcast over two series in 1975. David appeared in a total of seven episodes out of the thirteen that were produced. He starred in the series alongside regular Carry On stars such as Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims and Barbara Windsor.

So what else did David Lodge do during his long acting career? David's first screen appearance came in 1954, in a bit part in the film Orders Are Orders, which starred Sid James, Tony Hancock and Peter Sellers. During his career David Lodge racked up 183 screen appearances, his last coming in the television series Aahhh! Real Monsters in 1997. 

David Lodge has a significant professional relationship with legendary actor Peter Sellers, appearing in several of his films. He was a close friend of Sellers and they starred together in The Naked Truth, Two Way Stretch and I'm All Right Jack. Lodge appeared in many other classic films during his career, including The Railway Children, Ice Cold In Alex, Oh What A Lovely War, On The Buses, Casino Royale and The Return of the Pink Panther. David was also a regular actor in Norman Wisdom films: The Bulldog Breed, On The Beat, Press For Time and The Early Bird. He also popped up in the big screen version of The Army Game, which focused on Bernard Bresslaw's character and was called I Only Arsked.

On television, David Lodge was a regular on Spike Milligan's 1970s series Q, clocking up twenty appearances. David also appeared in many classic shows of the time, ranging from The Sweeney and Worzel Gummidge to The Avengers, Bless This House, Crown Court and Robin's Nest. David Lodge was most certainly one of those reliable, familiar faces casting directors could recruit to play certain types of characters such as policemen, army officers or slightly dodgy geezers.

David William Frederick Lodge was born in Rochester in Kent in August 1921. He served in the RAF during the Second World War. Before turning to acting as a full time career, he apparently also worked as a circus clown and ringmaster, something he claimed provided great training for becoming an actor. David Lodge lived in North London for many years as a confirmed bachelor before surprising many of his friends by getting married after whirlwind 24 hour courtship in the summer of 1963. He married a French journalist and he remained devoted to her for the rest of their lives. 

David Lodge passed away in October 2003 at the age of 82. He spent his last years in the actors rest home, Denville Hall. 

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