Peter Blake (actor)

Peter Blake (8 December 1948 – 21 July 2018)[1] was a Scottish actor. Probably best known as the character Kirk St Moritz in the BBC sitcom Dear John, by John Sullivan, his other high-profile moments came through his playing of a 'Fonz'-type character in Pepsi-Cola commercials which led to a hit record in 1977 "Lipsmakin' Rock 'n' Rollin", Andy Evol the disc-jockey in Agony with Maureen Lipman for LWT and in an episode of Taggart ("Do or Die") as Sgt. Bill Kent. He also had a long association with The Rocky Horror Show playing Frank-N-Furter over a thousand times between 1975 and 1994.[2]

Early life

Peter Blake was born John Beattie Dempsey[1] on 8 December 1948 in Selkirk, Scotland. He was always referred to by his parents as Ian, the Scottish Gaelic term for John.[1]

He began his career as an aspiring pop star before turning to acting; his first professional appearance was at the Edinburgh International Festival, in Frank Dunlop's 'Pop Theatre' production of The Winter's Tale, at the Assembly Hall, in 1966.[3]


Peter Blake trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and joined the Citizens’ Theatre Company, performing in a production of Twelfth Night, and Michael Blakemore’s original production of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui [4] which opened in September 1967 at the Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow and, in August 1968, performed at The Lyceum,[5] Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

After graduating in 1969 Peter worked briefly as a stage manager in several Soho strip clubs before he joined the international cast of Victor Spinetti’s Amsterdam production of Hair, in 1970, and subsequently played the role of Berger in the show’s national tour of The Netherlands.

Returning to the UK there followed a string of London's West End rock musicals, with roles in Hair at the Shaftesbury Theatre; as Pharaoh in the original productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat[6] at the Albery Theatre, as Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Palace Theatre; as Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show at the King's Road Theatre;[7] as Peter in the revue What’s a Nice Country like US doing in a State like This? at the May Fair Theatre;[8] and reprising his role of Frank-N-Furter at the Comedy Theatre.[9]

Peter Blake has also performed at the Chichester Festival Theatre,[10] work included Julius Caesar, Murder in the Cathedral and In Order of Appearance; out of London theatre work included Nestor in Irma La Douce at the Sheffield Crucible; Count Dracula in Charles McKeown's play Dracula at the Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead;[11] Marat in The Promise at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley;[12] and on tour in Jack Rosenthal’s Smash!;[13] Alan Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends,[14] Ray Cooney’s Funny Money,[15] and The Rocky Horror Show returning to his old role of 'Frank-N-Furter'[16] in 1992 and 1994; he also starred in several pantomimes, including as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, as King Rat in Dick Whittington and as Abanazer in Aladdin.

Television and film

Peter Blake's best-known role was the flamboyant and boastful Kirk St Moritz, resplendent in white suit, big collars and golden medallion, in the British sitcom Dear John (1986–87). He appeared in other British television series including as Tony Miller, a member of CI5 in the hard-hitting police drama The Professionals (1978).[17] As Michael Vincent in Penmarric (1979), Andy Evol in Agony (1979-1981), Carl Pierce in A Very Peculiar Practice (1986), Aubrey Owen in Dogfood Dan & the Carmarthen Cowboy (1988), David in Split Ends (1989), as Harvey in Fiddlers Three (1991) and as Ken Tate in EastEnders (2010).[18]

Blake guested on shows such as The Squirrels, Out, Z-Cars, Minder, Shoestring, Shine on Harvey Moon, Bergerac, After Henry, Alas Smith and Jones, Ever Decreasing Circles, Boon, The New Statesman, Woof!, Underbelly, The High Life, The Bill, and Casualty, among others.

His film appearances include Intimate Games (1976), Panic (1978), Murder on Line One (1989), Cash in Hand (1998), The Lift (2008) and Man and Dog (2010).


In 1977, Peter Blake reached number 40 in the UK Singles Chart with the song Lipsmackin' Rock 'n' Rollin,[19] performing it on the BBC Television music show Top of the Pops on 29 September 1977;[20] and subsequently released a single called Boogie Breakout in 1979.

  • Lipsmackin' Rock 'N Rollin' / Clever Dick - Released : August 26, 1977.[21]
  • Boogie Breakout / Rock 'N' Roll Lady - Released : March 9, 1979.[22]

Stage Cast Recordings include :

  • Hair - The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (Original Amsterdam Cast) - LP.[23]
    Date of release: 1970.
    Written-By – Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, James Rado.
  • London production of the musical, "What's a Nice Country like U.S. Doing in a State like This?"[24]
    Date of release: 1976.
    Music by Cary Hoffman. Words by Ira Gasman.
  • Hard Times: The Musical (Original London Cast Recording Highlights) - EP.
    Date of release: Jun 1, 2000.
    Book, music and lyrics by Christopher Tookey and Hugh Thomas. From the novel by Charles Dickens.

Theatre credits

Production Year Role Venue
The Winter's Tale 1966 Various characters Edinburgh Festival
Twelfth Night 1967 Officer Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui 1967 Grocer / Gangster Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre Company
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui 1968 2nd Chicago Grocer Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh Festival
Hair 1969-70 Berger Amsterdam / National Tour of Holland
Hair 1970-73 Berger / Claude / Woof Shaftesbury Theatre, West End
Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat 1973 Pharaoh Albery Theatre, West End
Why Not Stay For Breakfast? 1973 Hippie National Tour
Irma La Douce 1973 Nestor Le Fripe Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Jesus Christ Superstar 1974 Pontius Pilate Palace Theatre, West End
The Rocky Horror Show 1975-76 Frank-N-Furter King’s Road Theatre, Chelsea
What's A Nice Country Like U.S.
Doing in A State Like This?
1976 Peter Mayfair Theatre, West End
Make Me A World 1976 Lucifer Chichester Theatre
In Order of Appearance 1977 Various characters Chichester Festival
Julius Caesar 1977 Flavius / Decius Brutus / Titinius Chichester Festival
Murder in the Cathedral 1977 4th Temptor Chichester Cathedral
Dracula 1978 Count Dracula Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead
The Rocky Horror Show 1979 Frank-N-Furter Comedy Theatre, West End
The Promise 1980 Marat Churchill Theatre, Bromley
SMASH! 1981 Don Black National Tour
Run for Your Wife 1982 De Sergeant Troughton Shaftesbury Theatre, West End
Dear Anyone 1983 Danny Cambridge Theatre, West End
See How They Run 1984 The Intruder Shaftesbury Theatre, West End
Goldilocks & the Three Bears 1986 Heinkel Canada
Run for Your Wife 1986 De Sergeant Troughton Criterion Theatre, West End
It Runs in the Family 1987 Dr. Mike Connolly Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford
Absent Friends 1988 Paul National Tour
Dick Whittington 1988 King Rat Richmond Theatre, London
Aladdin 1990 Abanazer Palace Theatre, Manchester
The Rocky Horror Show 1991-92 Frank-N-Furter National Tour
Alfie 1992 Various characters National Tour
Love Off the Shelf 1993 Hero / Hamilton Scarborough In The Round
Dick Whittington 1993 King Rat The Forum, Hatfield
Penny for the Guy 1994 Burglar Churchill Theatre, Bromley, Kent
The Rocky Horror Show 1994 Frank-N-Furter Summer Season Bournemouth & Blackpool
The Snow Queen 1994 Igor Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford
Absent Friends 1996-97 Paul National Tour
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1997 Herman the Henchman Orchard Theatre, Dartford
Gym and Tonic 1999 Ken Theatre Royal, Windsor
Run For Your Wife 1999 De Sergeant Troughton Oliver, National Theatre, London
Say Who You Are 1999 Stuart Wheeler The Mill, Sonning
Hard Times 2000 Mr E.W.B Childers Theatre Royal Haymarket, West End
Bridges and Harmonies 2000 Alex Bridewell Theatre, London
Dick Whittington 2001 King Rat Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Money To Burn 2003 Lord Oliver Justin The Venue, West End
Oscar - The Musical 2004 Oscar Wilde Shaw Theatre, London
Peter Pan 2005 Captain Hook Hippodrome, Birmingham
Funny Money 2006 Vic Johnson National Tour
Peter Pan 2006 Captain Hook Hippodrome, Bristol
Peter Pan 2007 Captain Hook Alhambra Theatre, Bradford


  1. "Obituary - Peter Blake, Scots actor best known for Dear John". HeraldScotland. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  2. The Rocky Horror Show : King's Road Theatre (Chelsea, London) Programme 1975; Comedy Theatre (London) Programme 1979; Theatre Tour Programme 1992 and 1994.
  3. "The Edinburgh International Festival". The Tatler News. 20 August 1966. p. 3.
  4. "Scottish Theatre Archive". University of Glasgow.
  5. "'Arturo Ui' A MASTERPIECE of theatre". The Stage, London. 1968. 29 August 1968.
  6. "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". Archived from the original on 15 May 2018.
  7. The Rocky Horror Show, King's Road Theatre (Chelsea, London) Programme 1975 - 1976.
  8. Musical hoofers: "What’s a Nice Country like US doing in a State like This?" with Peter Blake, Billy Boyle, Neil McCaul, Jacquie Toye and Leueen Willoughby, The Stage, London, England. Thursday 10 June 1976.
  9. The Rocky Horror Show, Comedy Theatre (London) Programme 1979.
  10. "Chichester Festival Theatre in 1977". Archived from the original on 15 May 2018.
  11. "REGIONAL THEATRE". The Stage, London: 23. 7 September 1978.
  12. "The Promise at Churchill, Bromley, from March 25, 1980, The Stage, London, Thursday 13 March 1980.
  13. "SMASH by Jack Rosenthal". Chaseside. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  14. "PRODUCTION NEWS: Absent Friends". The Stage, London. 11 April 1996.
  15. "Funny Money, Connaught Theatre, Worthing, Aug 29 - Sept". The Argus. 25 August 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  16. Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show, Theatre Tour Programme 1992 and 1994. Publisher: John Good Holbrook, 1992 and 1994.
  17. ""The Professionals" Everest Was Also Conquered (TV Episode 1978)". Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2018 via
  18. "Episode dated 9/8/2010". EastEnders. 9 August 2010. BBC. BBC One. Archived from the original on 12 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  19. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  20. Ed Stewart (28 October 2012). "BBC One - Top of the Pops, 29/09/77". Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  21. Peter Blake - Lipsmackin' Rock 'N Rollin', retrieved 13 May 2018
  22. Peter Blake - Boogie Breakout, retrieved 13 May 2018
  23. "HAIR Netherlands 1970 - Grey Cover". Olaf's Hair site.
  24. "Highlights from What's a nice country like U.S. doing in a state like this?". WorldCat.

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