Bryan Pringle

Bryan Pringle (19 January 1935 15 May 2002) was an English character actor who appeared for several decades in television, film and theatre productions.

Bryan Pringle
Pringle in The Early Bird (1965)
Born(1935-01-19)19 January 1935
Died15 May 2002(2002-05-15) (aged 67)
London, England
Years active19602002
Spouse(s)Anne Jameson
(19581999; her death)

Life and career

Born in Glascote, Tamworth, Staffordshire, but brought up in the Lancashire town of Bolton, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, leaving in 1955.[1] Three years later he married character actress Anne Jameson; together they had two children. She died in 1999.

Theatre work

Pringle started as a member of the Old Vic company between 1955 and 1957, appearing with Coral Browne, John Neville, Claire Bloom and others in several Shakespeare plays and touring with four of them - Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, Troilus and Cressida and Macbeth - in the USA.[2] He then moved to Nottingham Playhouse, where he appeared in the Willis Hall drama Boys It's All Hell and was the only cast member to travel with the play to London. There, Lindsay Anderson remounted it as The Long and the Short and the Tall at the Royal Court Theatre in January 1959; also starring Peter O'Toole and Robert Shaw, the play transferred to the New Theatre in April.[3] Later that year, in October, Pringle appeared opposite Robert Shaw again in Guy Hamilton's production of the Beverley Cross play One More River at the Duke of York's Theatre.[4]

In 1961 he was at Theatre Workshop, working with Joan Littlewood on the Henry Livings play Big Soft Nellie. (Ten years later he was top-billed in Michael Apted's TV version of the same play for Granada Television.)[5] Then, having joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, he scored two personal successes in the summer of 1964, first as Stanley in Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party (directed by the playwright), then as the dustbin-bound Nagg in the Samuel Beckett play Endgame.[6] Among later theatre credits, he starred with Jane Asher and Brian Murphy in the Romain Weingarten play Summer at the Fortune Theatre in 1968,[7] appeared as Malvolio in Twelfth Night at the Bankside Globe in 1973[8] (reprising the role at the Ludlow Festival 15 years later), was Michael Crawford's father in Billy at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1974,[9] returned to Nottingham Playhouse in 1977 to play Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing[10] and appeared opposite David Suchet in the John Hopkins play This Story of Yours (Hampstead Theatre, 1987).[11] In his final decade he appeared in major revivals of My Fair Lady (as Doolittle; 1992)[12] and Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane (as Kemp; 1999-2001).[13]

Film work

Pringle appeared in many films, beginning with Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) as Rachel Roberts' cuckolded husband. He also appeared alongside Norman Wisdom in the 1965 film The Early Bird as the treacherous rival milkman, Austin, the role for which he is perhaps best remembered. He continued to be cast in many notable films, such as French Dressing and The Boyfriend (both for director Ken Russell), Brazil, Drowning by Numbers and B. Monkey.

Television work

Pringle also made numerous television appearances, gaining fame as 'Cheese & Egg' in the Granada Television sitcom The Dustbinmen (1969-70). Earlier, he was Charles Pooter in Diary of a Nobody, made by Ken Russell for BBC 2 in 1964; also for the BBC, he played Len Wiles, adoptive father of Terry Wiles, in On Giant's Shoulders in 1979, Pistol in Shakespeare's Henry IV Part II and Henry V the same year, and Sergeant Match in a 1987 version of the Joe Orton play What the Butler Saw.

In 1980 he played Albert Case, leader of a group of villains in The Professionals episode Weekend in the Country.[14] Other notable appearances were as landlord Arthur Pringle in Series 2 of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (1986), as Barker in the Inspector Morse episode Deceived by Flight (1989) and as pathologist Felix Norman in Prime Suspect (1991). Pringle also appeared in 1985 in a well-known TV commercial advertising Heineken beer, playing a cockney elocutionist attempting to teach an upper-class woman (Sylvestra Le Touzel) how to say "The wa'er in Major'a don' taste like wot id ough' 'a" ("The water in Majorca don't taste like what it ought to").[15]


In later life Pringle lived in Northamptonshire, where he died on 15 May 2002; his body was buried alongside his wife's in the cemetery of St Laurence Church in Brafield on the Green.[16]

Selected filmography

Selected television roles

1966The Caramel CrisisMcWithers
1968 to 1970The DustbinmenCheese & Egg
1974The PallisersMr Monk
1974Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'EmMr Jackson
1975The Growing Pains of PC PenroseSergeant Flagg
1979Henry VPistol
1980The Good Companions
1981When The Boat Comes InDoughty
1983Last of the Summer WineLudovic
1985Auf Wiedersehen, PetArthur Pringle
1987Hardwicke HouseCouncillor HodgkinsEpisode 4 "Prize Giving". Was due to air on ITV, on 11 March 1987 but never broadcast. Released on YouTube in 2019.
1988All Creatures Great and SmallGrimsdale
1990Wish Me LuckFather Martin
1991Prime SuspectFelix Norman
1997A Prince Among MenVince Hibbert
1997Snow White: A Tale of TerrorFather Gilbert
2003BarbaraMr Cooper(last appearance)


  3. Frances Stephens, Theatre World Annual (London) Number 10, Barrie & Rockliff, London 1959, pages 99-101
  4. Frances Stephens, Theatre World Annual (London) Number 11, Barrie & Rockliff, London 1960, page 27
  6. Frances Stephens, Theatre World Annual 1966 Number 16, Iliffe Books, London 1965, pages 58, 60
  7. Who's Who in the Theatre 15th edition, Pitman Publishing, London 1972, page 147
  11. This Story of Yours a play by John Hopkins / Hampstead Theatre: programme by Stilwell Darby & Co Ltd: '1987 no 7'
  15. "Accents: Cockney – the water in Majorca - Classless English". Retrieved 12 June 2012.
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