Jack Watling

Jack Watling (13 January 1923 – 22 May 2001) was an English actor.[1][2]

Jack Watling
Publicity still for The Winslow Boy (1948)
Jack Stanley Watling

(1923-01-13)13 January 1923
Chingford, Essex, England
Died22 May 2001(2001-05-22) (aged 78)
Chelmsford, Essex, England
Spouse(s)Patricia Hicks
Children5, including:

Life and career

The son of a travelling scrap metal dealer, Watling trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts as a child; and made his stage debut in Where the Rainbow Ends at the Holborn Empire in 1936.[3] He made his first film appearances (all uncredited) in Sixty Glorious Years, Housemaster (both 1938) and Goodbye, Mr Chips (1939).[4]

In 1941, he played Bill Hopkins in Once a Crook in his West End debut.[5] He starred as Flight Lieutenant Teddy Graham in the original 1942 production of Terence Rattigan's Flare Path.[4]

Watling had a long career in low-key British films, originally in easy-going boyish roles.[6] His early appearances were in Cottage to Let (1941). We Dive at Dawn (1943), The Demi-Paradise (1943) opposite Laurence Olivier, The Way Ahead (1944) with David Niven, The Winslow Boy (1948), Meet Mr. Lucifer (1953) and in Orson Welles' Mr. Arkadin (aka, Confidential Report, 1955).[1] In the account of the sinking of the Titantic, the film A Night To Remember (1958), he played Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall and in Sink the Bismarck! (1960) as the Signals officer who reports "HMS Hood...has blown up!"[7]


His reputation as an effective and reliable television actor took root in the early 1960s. Between 1964–69 he was Don Henderson, the troubled conscience to tough businessman John Wilder (Patrick Wymark) in The Plane Makers and its sequel The Power Game.[8] Watling also appeared as Doc Saxon in the 1970s series Pathfinders.[6] He played Professor Edward Travers in the BBC science-fiction television series Doctor Who in the serials The Abominable Snowmen (1967) and The Web of Fear (1968), both of which also featuring his daughter Deborah Watling as the Second Doctor's companion Victoria Waterfield.[9] He reprised the role decades later in the independent Doctor Who spin-off video Downtime (1995).[10]

His final roles were all on television, in series such as Bergerac and Heartbeat.[11][12]

Personal life

Watling was married to former actress Patricia Hicks. He was the father of actress Deborah Watling, actor/politician Giles Watling, sculptor Nicky Matthews, and a fourth child, Adam, who died in infancy. Watling was also the stepfather of actress Dilys Watling, Hicks's daughter from a previous marriage. The Watlings were long-term residents at Alderton Hall, Loughton.[13][14]

Selected filmography


  1. "Jack Watling". BFI.
  2. "Jack Watling - Theatricalia". theatricalia.com.
  3. "Jack Watling". 25 May 2001 via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  4. Anthony Hayward Obituary: Jack Watling, The Independent, 24 May 2001.
  5. Wearing, J. P. (22 August 2014). The London Stage 1940-1949: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780810893061 via Google Books.
  6. Shorter, Eric (25 May 2001). "Obituary: Jack Watling". the Guardian.
  7. "Sink the Bismarck! (1960) - Lewis Gilbert - Cast and Crew - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  8. "BFI Screenonline: Plane Makers/Power Game, The (1963-69)". www.screenonline.org.uk.
  9. "BBC - Doctor Who - Classic Series - Photonovels - The Abominable Snowmen". www.bbc.co.uk.
  10. Muir, John Kenneth (5 October 2007). A Critical History of Doctor Who on Television. McFarland. ISBN 9781476604541 via Google Books.
  11. "Jack Watling". www.aveleyman.com.
  12. III, Harris M. Lentz (16 April 2002). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2001: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. ISBN 9780786452064 via Google Books.
  13. Hadoke, Toby (24 July 2017). "Deborah Watling obituary". the Guardian.
  14. "Jack Watling". www.nndb.com.
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