Thursday 17 May 2018

Remembering Peter Byrne

As you may have seen last night over on Twitter, I shared The Guardian obituary for the actor Peter Byrne, who has very sadly passed away at the age of 90. Peter enjoyed a long acting career, particularly on stage, working consistently from the early 1950s right up until 2013. Born in West Ham, London, Peter trained at the famed Italia Conti School.

More mature readers will probably remember Peter best for his long running role as Andy Crawford in the BBC television series Dixon of Dock Green. Created by Ted Willis and starring Jack Warner as P.C George Dixon, this police series ran to over 400 episodes over 22 series from 1955 until 1976. Byrne co-starred as Crawford for twenty years before leaving in 1975. 

Peter Byrne also played small roles in several early Peter Rogers Productions. In Watch Your Stern in 1960, the naval comedy starring Eric Barker, Joan Sims and Kenneth Connor, Peter popped up in the role of a Sailor. The following year Byrne appeared as a member of the orchestra (1st Horn to be precise) in the Bruce Montgomery scripted music school comedy Raising The Wind, which starred such names as Kenneth Williams, Liz Fraser and Leslie Phillips.

In 1962 Peter played a Race Starter in the Genevieve-esque comedy The Iron Maiden, directed by Gerald Thomas and written by Leslie Bricusse. The film starred Michael Craig and featured familiar Carry On faces in Jim Dale and Joan Sims. Finally, a year later Peter grabbed his one and only Carry On role when he played a slightly harassed bride groom in my favourite of the series, Carry On Cabby. Appearing in a couple of scenes with stalwarts Sid James and Charles Hawtrey and Marion Collins as his bride, Peter is instantly recognisable and would have been to audiences of the time as he'd already been in Dixon of Dock Green for nearly a decade by then!

Most of Peter's main roles in his career were on stage, with parts in such well-known productions as There's a Girl in my Soup, Boeing Boeing, Run for your Wife and The Mousetrap. 

Peter was married twice, his second wife Renee passed away in 2011. He is survived by two stepchildren. Our thoughts are with Peter's family. 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram 

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