British actor Warren Clarke, best known for TV role in Dalziel And Pascoe, has died aged 67 after a short illness, his agent has confirmed.
Clarke, who was born in Oldham, starred in the controversial 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, by Stanley Kubrick. He recently appeared in the BBC One dramas Call the Midwife and Down to Earth, about a family moving to rural Devon.
In the 1960s, he played a number of smaller roles, including two characters in Coronation Street, before establishing his name in Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Clarke played Dim, one of the thugs who indulged in “ultraviolence” with their ringleader, played by Malcolm McDowell. On the 40th anniversary of the film’s release in 2011, Clarke said working with the legendarily exacting film director was “extraordinary”:
“If he thought your performance was false he would ask: ‘Why are you doing that?’ If you didn’t have an answer, he’d shout at you. But I got on well with him and I would shout at him if I thought he was pushing us too hard,” said the actor.
He said that numerous offers came from Hollywood after his performance, but he turned them down, saying: “It was stuff I didn’t want to be involved with.”
Instead, Clarke appeared in a wide range of roles in television and film productions including The Breaking of Bumbo (1970), Charlton Heston’s Antony and Cleopatra (1972), S.O.S. Titanic (1979), Hawk the Slayer (1980), Masada (1981), Enigma (1983), Lassiter (1984), Top Secret! (1984), Ishtar, (1987) and I.D. (1995), also he played a Russian dissident in Clint Eastwood’s Firefox (1982).
In Granada Television’s series The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Clarke played the role of the overtly homosexual ‘Sophie’ Dixon and as Colonel Krieger in the first series of LWT’s Wish Me Luck (1988). In 1989 Clarke played the Captain Lee in the film Crusoe.
The same year he played the role of Martin Fisher, the chairman of a football club, in The Manageress and the role of Managing Director of an engineering firm, Vic Wilcox, in the TV adaptation of the David Lodge novel Nice Work. He also starred in an episode of Lovejoy entitled Bin Diving. Clarke played Larry Patterson in Gone to the Dogs (1991), which was followed by the series Gone to Seed (1992), in which Clarke again starred.
In Sleepers (1991), with Nigel Havers, Clarke played one of the two lead roles as two KGB sleeper agents living in Britain and leading their own lives until they are reactivated. He played Bamber in the ITV comedy drama Moving Story (1994). His comedic talents can be seen in the one-off special Blackadder: The Cavalier Years, and in the episode “Amy and Amiability” of the series Blackadder the Third. From 1996 he appeared regularly as Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel in the TV series Dalziel and Pascoe.
Between 2000 and 2003 Clarke played Brian Addis, a father who moved his family from the bustle of London to a Devon farm, in the BBC TV series Down to Earth. Clarke appeared as Mr Boythorn in the BBC One dramatisation of Bleak House (2005) and starred alongside Anthony Head in the BBC Drama The Invisibles (2008) and in the Channel 4 trilogy Red Riding (2009).
Around the same time, Clarke appeared as Commander Peters in the ITV production of Agatha Christie’s Marple Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (2009) and the BBC series Inspector George Gently (“Peace and Love”, 2010) and played Mr Bott in Just William (also 2010). He guested as innkeeper Samuel Quested in Midsomer Murders (“The Night of the Stag”, 2011) and as John Lacey in Call the Midwife (also 2011). In 2014, he began filming Poldark as Charles Poldark.
David Morrissey, who also starred in Red Riding, paid tribute to Clarke via his twitter feed.
“So sad to hear about the death of Warren Clarke. He was a very special man/great actor. We had wonderful times together on Red Riding.”
Actor Will Mellor, who appeared alongside him in 2011 comedy In With The Flynns, told the BBC Clarke was “a generous man on and off screen”.
“He played my dad and was a real father figure to me and a friend as well as an acting colleague,” he said.
Comic and actor Jack Dee said Clarke was “a brilliant, funny and generous man who was a joy to work with”.
Actor Richard E Grant said: “Worked with him twice and shared a holiday in the Caribbean. Hilarious and irreverent.”