Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Only 35 Actors at the BBC

Something I haven't thought about in a few years... and James Lileks brought it to my attention today in The Bleat.

Lileks commented on a movie with Jack Webb called "The D.I."...
God bless Jack: Virginia Gregg has a role in the film. She played every single female on the Dragnet radio show and 57% of the women on the TV show. I swear: the more you listen to old time radio, the more you become convinced that the entire medium employed 14 actors, tops.

For years a friend of mine held a similar theory regarding the BBC. The Vid Master (a handle he used in the production of a newsletter) half-jokingly claimed that at any given time the BBC only employs 35 actors... and the evidence for this is watching any number of series from the BBC. Perhaps we should more accurately lsay that British Televison only employs 35 actors, since there is Channel Four, ITV, and who knows what else.

Just take a peek at the degrees of separation between "The Prisoner" and "Doctor Who"... I don't think there is a one-link connection, but Hell you can connect both with "Good Neighbors" (or, as the Brits call it, "The Good Life"). Leo McKern and Peter Boyles and Pennelope Keith alone connect a number of series and actors together. The guest appearances on "The Avengers" and "Good Neighbors" connect so many dots, and the sheer longevity of "Doctor Who" link more than a handful of shows with the legion of stalwarts who have popped into that series.

Of course, there's "Blake's Seven" and "Yes, Minister" and even "Jeeves and Wooster" (especially when coupled with "Black Adder").

In fact, I think I can link Kenneth Branagh to "Doctor Who".
He appeared in "Thompson" with his one-time-wife Emma Thompson. She appeared as a guest on "The Young Ones" with Hugh Laurie (star of "House M.D.") and Stephen Fry (among others). Hugh and Fry easily link to "Black Adder" starring Rowan Atkinson. Atkinson starred in a spoof of "Doctor Who" as the Doctor. (You might not have thought Atkinson would be suitable as the Doctor, even in a parody... however, he was letter perfect, staying on the right side of cliche.)

However, if you include film, Branagh get's to "Doctor Who" even easier... via Sir Derek Jacobi.



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