Dinsdale Landen

Dinsdale James Landen (4 September 1932 – 29 December 2003)[1] was a British actor whom The Independent named as an "outstanding actor with the qualities of a true farceur," who became perhaps best known for his television appearances.[2][3][4]

Dinsdale Landen
Born(1932-09-04)4 September 1932
Margate, Kent, England
Died29 December 2003(2003-12-29) (aged 71)
South Creake, Norfolk, England
Years active1959–1997
Jennifer Daniel
(m. 1959; his death 2003)

Landen was born at Margate, Kent and educated at King's School, Rochester.[1] He made his television debut in 1959 as the adult Pip in an adaptation of Great Expectations and made his film debut in 1960, with a walk-on part in The League of Gentlemen.[5][2]

He first became well known during the 1960s when he starred in the TV series Mickey Dunne and The Mask of Janus, which was renamed The Spies in later series.[4] He also had a parallel career as a stage actor, including as Richard Dazzle in the RSC's 1970 production of London Assurance;[6] and was Olivier Award nominated for his role in James Saunders's play Bodies in the West End in 1979.[7]

His film roles include appearances in Operation Snatch (1962), A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964), Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966), Mosquito Squadron (1969), Every Home Should Have One (1970), Young Winston (1972), Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (1973), International Velvet (1978), Morons from Outer Space (1985)[1] and both The Buccaneers and The Steal in 1995.[2]

On radio, he appeared as General Bel Riose in the 1973 BBC Radio 4 adaptation of The Foundation Trilogy, as Dr. Watson in the 1974 adaptation of A Study in Scarlet, and Art Gordo in the 1976 adaptation of Jim Eldridge's novel Down Payment on Death.[8][9][10] He portrayed Rupert Purvis in the 1982 production of Tom Stoppard's play The Dog It Was That Died, and played the urbane Ambassador McKenzie in BBC Radio 4 series of Flying the Flag.[11][12]

Dinsdale Landen was the only actor to play the same character (as private detective Matthew Earp) in two different episodes of "Thriller" ("An Echo of Theresa" and "The Next Scream You Hear" from 1973 and 1974 respectively).[13]

In 1977 Landen starred in his own situation comedy, Devenish, playing a Basil Fawlty-type character in a Reggie Perrin-type situation, designing board games.[14] In 1980 he starred as Barty in the television series Pig in the Middle with Liza Goddard.[15]

In 1984, Landen achieved a memorable performance as Jean-Martin Charcot in the TV series Freud.[16] In 1985, he and his wife, actress Jennifer Daniel, wrote The True Story of H.P. Sauce.[17]

In 1987 he played the lead in a BBC TV production of What the Butler Saw, playing Dr Prentice in a production also featuring Prunella Scales, Timothy West and Bryan Pringle.[18]

In 1989 he made a guest appearance in Doctor Who, playing Dr. Judson, a wheelchair-using genius, in the serial The Curse of Fenric.[19]

In 1992, Landen provided the voice of the arch villain Mr. Tod in the BBC/Fuji Television children's animated series The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends.[20]

Dinsdale Landen died at his home in South Creake, Norfolk, on 29 December 2003 after becoming ill with pneumonia. He had been diagnosed with oral cancer several years before his death, but was in remission at the time.[3][21] He was married to the actress Jennifer Daniel.[22]


Year Title Role Notes
1960The League of GentlemenYoung Man in Gym Receiving MassageUncredited
1962The ValiantNorris
1962Operation SnatchCapt. Wellington
1962We Joined the NavyBowles
1964A Jolly Bad FellowFred
1966Rasputin, the Mad MonkPeter
1969Mosquito SquadronWing Commander Clyde Penrose
1970Every Home Should Have OneVicar Geoffrey Mellish
1972Young WinstonCapt. Weaver
1973Digby, the Biggest Dog in the WorldColonel Masters
1978International VelvetMr. Curtis
1985Morons from Outer SpaceCommander Grenville Matteson
1995The StealSir Wilmot


  1. Barker, Dennis (31 December 2003). "Dinsdale Landen". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  2. "Dinsdale Landen". bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  3. "Google Groups". Google.
  4. "Dinsdale Landen". aveleyman.com. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  5. "Great Expectations Part 8 (1959)". bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  6. "Production of London Assurance". theatricalia.com.
  7. "Olivier Winners 1979". olivierawards.com. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  8. "BBC Radio 3: Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy : SFFaudio". sffaudio.com.
  9. "A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes – BBC Radio 4 Extra". BBC.
  10. "Family Announcements, Dinsdale Landen – Funeral Directors and services – Family Announcements Announcements". family-announcements.co.uk.
  11. Hutchins, Michael H. "A Tom Stoppard Bibliography: Plays for Radio". sondheimguide.com.
  12. "End of Term, Series 4, Flying the Flag – BBC Radio 4 Extra". BBC.
  13. "IMDB".
  14. "Devenish (1977)". bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  15. Guide, British Comedy. "Pig in the Middle". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  16. "Freud Part 2 The Hypnotist (1984)". bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  17. "The True Story of H P Sauce". abebooks.co.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  18. "What the Butler Saw (1987)". bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  19. "BBC – Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide – The Curse of Fenric – Details". BBC. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  20. DataBase, The Big Cartoon. "The Tale of Mr. Tod (TVC London, Frederick Warne & Co., BBC...)". Big Cartoon DataBase (BCDB). Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  21. "Dinsdale Landen obituary". The Stage. 13 January 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  22. "Dinsdale Landen, actor". The Scotsman. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
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