Keith Barron

Keith Barron (8 August 1934 – 15 November 2017) was an English actor and television presenter who appeared in films and on television from 1961 until 2017. His television roles included the police drama The Odd Man, the sitcom Duty Free, and Gregory Wilmot in Upstairs, Downstairs.

Keith Barron
Barron in 1974
Born(1934-08-08)8 August 1934
Died15 November 2017(2017-11-15) (aged 83)
OccupationActor, television presenter
Years active1961–2017
Mary Pickard
(m. 1959; to his death in 2017)


Born in Mexborough in the West Riding of Yorkshire,[note 1] Barron's career started at the Sheffield Repertory Theatre, where he also met his wife, Mary, a stage designer.[1] He became well known to British television viewers in the early 1960s as the easygoing Detective Sergeant Swift in the Granada TV series The Odd Man and its spin-off It's Dark Outside. His major breakthrough, however, was as Nigel Barton in the writer Dennis Potter's semi-autobiographical plays Stand Up, Nigel Barton and Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton (both 1965) in BBC1's The Wednesday Play anthology series (he later played a very similar character in Potter's Play For Today episode Only Make Believe (1973)).

Barron made many one-off television appearances, from Redcap and Z-Cars in the mid-1960s, to Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Strange Report, The New Avengers, The Professionals, Foyle's War, and A Touch of Frost. He made two appearances in Upstairs, Downstairs as Australian Gregory Wilmot. In March 1983 he was a guest in the Doctor Who story Enlightenment. He was a frequent voiceover artist for British TV commercials and public information films. Barron also played a starring role as Bob Ferguson in the 1993 Granada series, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, entitled The Last Vampyre

In 1989 he starred on television in a story of relationships in a new town in the Midlands entitled Take Me Home, with Annette Crosbie as his wife and Maggie O'Neill as his girlfriend. One of his best-loved and best-remembered roles was in the 1980s Yorkshire Television sitcom Duty Free. In the 1990s he co-starred in the sitcoms Haggard and All Night Long. In the 2000s he was a regular character on the ITV Sunday-night drama Where the Heart Is. In 2014 he reprised his role of David Pearce in the touring stage show of the TV series 'Duty Free'. He also starred in the first series of the BBC drama The Chase.

On the big screen he appeared in Baby Love (1968) and David Puttnam's film Melody (1971) as Mr Latimer.

Barron also appeared as the guest celebrity in dictionary corner on several episodes of the Channel 4 words and numbers game Countdown.[2]

He was the star on Bunn and Co., a radio show that was broadcast from March 2003 to April 2004 on BBC Radio 4. Barron's performance in the BBC's Test the Nation IQ test show on 2 September 2006 gave him an IQ of 146. In 2007 Barron joined ITV1's Coronation Street as George Trench. In 2011, Barron starred in the BBC show, Lapland, a role which he returned to for a series, Being Eileen, from February 2013.[3][4][5]

Personal life

Barron died on 15 November 2017 after a short illness. He was survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Pickard, and his actor son, Jamie.[6][7] He had resided in the Surrey town of East Molesey for some years.[8]

Selected filmography


Pie in the Sky episode 34 of series 5 6 July 1997 - Chairman of a Jury housed overnight in the Luxor Hotel

  • NCS: Manhunt (2001–2002) – Detective Superintendent Bob Beausoleil
  • Clocking Off (2003) – Roy Fletcher
  • Where the Heart Is (2003) - Alan Boothe
  • Midsomer Murders: "The Straw Woman" (2004) – Alan Clifford
  • New Tricks (2005) – Ronnie Ross
  • The Chase (2006–2007) – George Williams
  • Pickles: The Dog Who Won the World Cup (2006, TV Movie) – Bernie
  • Benidorm (2009) – Deputy Mayor
  • Doctors (2011–2015) – Arthur Barrett / Ludo Jameson / Brian Olsen
  • Being Eileen (2013) – Maurice
  • Stella (2014) – The Captain
  • DCI Banks (2015–2016) – Arthur Banks
  • Not Going Out (2017) – Michael (final television appearance)[10] The BBC dedicated the episode in Barron's memory.


  • Not as Far as Velma, as Commissaire Henri Castang (1990)[11]
  • To The Manor Born, as Richard Devere (1997)
  • My Turn to Make the Tea as Mr Pellet (2006)


  1. 'South Yorkshire' did not exist before 1 April 1974. 'West Riding of Yorkshire' is correct.


  1. "Start of his career,". BBC. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  2. Keith Barron: Yorkshire actor rarely off our screens for half a century but best known for Eighties sitcom ‘Duty Free’ The Independent, 17 November 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018
  3. "BBC One commissions new six part comedy series, Lapland". BBC. BBC Online. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  4. Munn, Patrick (31 October 2012). "TV Castings: Sydney Rae White Joins Sky1′s 'Starlings', Keith Barron To Reprise Role On BBC One's 'Lapland'". TV Wise. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  5. "Being Eileen". BBC. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  6. "Death notice". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  7. "Obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  8. Keith Barron dies, aged 83 Radio Jackie News, 15 November 2017 Retrieved 14 January 2018
  9. "The Further Adventures of Lucky Jim". BBC. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  10. Lawson, Mark (15 November 2017). "Keith Barron: from coppers to adulterers, a star of hit TV to the end". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  11. Freeling, Nicholas. Not as far as Velma.
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