Sunday 14 April 2019

Happy Birthday Kenneth Cope!

Happy birthday to the great actor Kenneth Cope who celebrates his 88th birthday today. Kenneth has enjoyed a long and hugely successful acting career dating back to the 1950s which has taken in many high profile roles in popular British television series and films. 

Kenneth first rose to fame in the part of Jed Stone in Coronation Street, a part he played between 1961 and 1966. He starred alongside some of the great original actors in the Granada soap, including Pat Phoenix, Bill Roache, Doris Speed and Violet Carson. Cope returned to the role many years later in 2008 for another stint lasting several months, which proved to be his last acting assignment to date. 

Kenneth went on to appear in the hugely successful BBC series That Was The Week That Was, for David Frost before finding lasting fame as Marty Hopkirk in the cult Sixties series Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). Playing the dead half of a private detective partnership with Mike Pratt's Randall, the series lasted two years. Soon after, Kenneth was recruited by Peter Rogers for two starring roles in the Carry On series.

First up, Kenneth played irritating union leader Vic Spanner in the 1971 film Carry On At Your Convenience. Blessed with a side kick in Bernard Bresslaw, a love rival in Richard O'Callaghan and a love interest in Jacki Piper, Cope excelled in quite a challenging role. Later that year he was back for a more sympathetic role as Cyril Carter, son of Sid James' character, a small time criminal who sends Cyril under cover, in drag as a student nurse to a local maternity hospital. Kenneth's character falls for Nurse Susan Ball played by Barbara Windsor. 

Sadly Kenneth didn't return to the Carry Ons, but his later career included the films Rentadick and George and Mildred. On the small screen he has played regular character Ray Hilton in Brookside and guest appearances in the likes of Casualty, A Touch of Frost, Doctor Who, Minder, Waking the Dead and The Bill.

Kenneth has been married to actress Reny Lister since they met on the set of Coronation Street in 1961. Together they have three children. 

Whatever Kenneth is up to today, I hope he has a great birthday!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

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