|Died||2 April 2007 82) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Helen (?–2007; his death)|
Early life and career
The son of a Hoxton printer and a florist, Sewell left school at the age of 14 and worked briefly in the printing trade before switching to building work, specifically the repair of bomb-damaged houses. He then trained as a Royal Air Force pilot, though too late to see action during the Second World War.
Following his demob, Sewell joined the Merchant Navy, serving as a steward for the Cunard Line on the RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth for their Atlantic crossings to New York. He worked as a street photographer, assisted a French roller-skating team, and was drummer and assistant road manager of a rumba band. He also travelled Europe as a motor coach courier for a holiday company.
Sewell had not considered acting until, aged 35, he met the actor Dudley Sutton by chance in a pub. Sutton recommended that Sewell audition for a production by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop of Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be. Sewell did so, and made his acting debut as a policeman in the show both at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East and in the West End. He went on to star in two other Littlewood productions, Sparrers Can't Sing (1962) and as Field Marshal Haig in Oh! What a Lovely War (1963), which later opened in Paris and on Broadway. The experience garnered from stage acting led to a long career in both film and television.
For many years, Sewell was the gritty face of crime and law enforcement in a huge array of television series. Amongst his early roles, he was the tallyman in the television play Up The Junction (1965), a criminal who runs off with a teenage girl in Softly, Softly (1966), a hard-nosed building engineer in The Power Game (1965–66), a cowardly informer in Man in a Suitcase (1967), and a seedy private eye in Spindoe (1968). In 1969 he played an escaped convict called Jansen in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode called "Vendetta for a dead man". In 1970, he played Colonel Alec Freeman in Gerry Anderson's live-action science-fiction drama UFO. Also in 1970 he played resistance leader Pierre Allard in three episodes of the ITV series Manhunt – 14 (One Way Home), 17 (The Ugly Side of War) and 22, (Intent to Steal) which were filmed in 1969 and aired in January 1970.
In 1973, Euston Films re-invigorated the TV series Special Branch, formerly a videotaped series starring Derren Nesbitt. Sewell was brought in to play the lead character of DCI Alan Craven. The show ran for two seasons with Sewell, and served as a stylistic forerunner of crime drama The Sweeney (in which Sewell also appeared, this time as a villain). Sewell was to parody this role as Supt Frank Cottam in the Jasper Carrott/Robert Powell comedy, The Detectives.
He also played a Detective Baker who turned out to be a burglar in the Rising Damp episode The Prowler.
Later television appearances include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), in which he played Mendel, and the Doctor Who story Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), in which he played builder's merchant and fascist leader Ratcliffe. He also appeared frequently in films, notably This Sporting Life (1963), Poor Cow (1967) and Get Carter (1971).
Personal life and death
George Sewell died from cancer on 2 April 2007 at the age of 82. His brother, Danny Sewell, a former boxer, also became an actor.
|1963||This Sporting Life||Jeff|
|1963||Sparrows Can't Sing||Bert|
|1963||A Place to Go||Market Trader||Uncredited.|
|1963||The Informers||Fred Hill|
|1967||Deadlier Than the Male||Car Park Assassin||Uncredited.|
|1967||Poor Cow||Customer in Pub||Scenes deleted.|
|1968||The Vengeance of She||Harry|
|1969||The Haunted House of Horror||Bob Kellett|
|1971||Get Carter||Con McCarty|
|1973||Diamonds on Wheels||Henry Stewart|
|1973||UFO - Allarme rosso... attacco alla Terra!||Col. Alec E. Freeman||Italian-language series UFO compilation film.|
|1973||Kill Straker, a Question of Priorities||Col. Alec E. Freeman||UFO compilation film, known in the Italian-language series as "UFO - Distruggete Base Luna".|
|1974||UFO - Prendeteli vivi!||Col. Alec E. Freeman||Italian-language series UFO compilation film.|
|1974||UFO - Contatto Radar... stanno atterrando...!||Col. Alec E. Freeman||Italian-language series UFO compilation film.|
|1974||Invasion: UFO||Col. Alec E. Freeman||UFO compilation film, known in the Italian-language series as "UFO - Annientate SHADO... Uccidete Straker... Stop".|
|1975||Operation Daybreak||Heinz Panwitz, Chief Investigator|
|1975||Barry Lyndon||Barry's Second|
|1981||If You Go Down in the Woods Today||Knocker|
|1998||Let's Stick Together||Carter|
|1965-1967||Z-Cars||Det. Insp. Brogan/Joe Carter/Harris|
|1969-1971||Paul Temple||Sammy Carson|
|1969||Public Eye||Jakeman||episode: Welcome to Brighton?|
|1970||Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)||Eric Jansen||episode: Vendetta for a Dead Man|
|1970||UFO||Col. Alec Freeman|
|1971||Public Eye||Harry Brierly|
|1973-1974||Special Branch||Det. Chief Insp. Alan Craven|
|1975||Rising Damp||Baker||"The Prowler", 10 January 1975|
|1978||The Sweeney||Vic Tolman||"Bait", 19 October 1978|
|1979||Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy||Mendel|
|1981||Minder||Frank||episode: Rembrandt Doesn't Live Here Any More|
|1982-1983||Andy Robson||Peter Mueller|
|1984||Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense||Det. Inspector Grant||episode: Mark of the Devil|
|1987-1990||Home James!||Robert Palmer|
|1988||Doctor Who||Ratcliffe||Remembrance of the Daleks|
|1993-1997||The Detectives||Superintendent Cottam|
- "Obituary at www.thestage.co.uk".
- Purser, Philip (11 April 2007). "Guardian, 11 April 2007". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "The Times, 14 April 2007". London. 14 April 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "George Sewell". www.aveleyman.com.
- "BFI Screenonline: U.F.O. (1970-71)". www.screenonline.org.uk.
- "One Way Home (1970)". BFI.
- "The Ugly Side of War (1970)". BFI.
- "Intent to Steal (1970)". BFI.
- "BFI Screenonline: Special Branch (1969-74)". www.screenonline.org.uk.
- "A Copper Called Craven (1973)". BFI.
- "Never without Protection (1994)". BFI.
- "The Prowler (1975)". BFI.
- "BFI Screenonline: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979) Credits". www.screenonline.org.uk.
- "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Remembrance of the Daleks - Details". www.bbc.co.uk.
- "George Sewell". BFI.
- "George Sewell". www.bigredbook.info.
- Purser, Philip (10 April 2007). "Obituary: George Sewell" – via www.theguardian.com.
- Sewell obit in The Telegraph