Peter Cellier

Peter Cellier (born 12 July 1928)[1] is an English actor who has appeared in film, stage and television. He is known for his role as Sir Frank Gordon in Yes Minister and then Yes, Prime Minister in the 1980s.

Peter Cellier
Photo by Tim Drury
Peter F. Cellier

(1928-07-12) 12 July 1928
Hendon, Middlesex, England
Known for
Parent(s)Frank Cellier
Phyllis Shannaw

Early life

Cellier was born in Hendon, Middlesex into a family of actors including his father Frank, his mother Phyllis Shannaw, and his half-sister Antoinette. His grandfather was the Gilbert and Sullivan conductor François Cellier.[2][3]



Cellier started his career at the Leatherhead Theatre in 1953. His theatre work has included seasons at Stratford-on-Avon, The Old Vic and the Chichester Festival Theatre, and he was a founder-member of the National Theatre. Shakespeare plays in which Cellier has appeared include Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Love's Labour's Lost, Measure for Measure, As You Like It, King John, Julius Caesar, Cymbeline and Henry V, as the Dauphin. Other roles include Pinchard in Georges Feydeau's An Absolute Turkey, Tommy Devon in Aunt Edwina, The Dean of Archeo in Body and Soul, Eric Shelding in The Case in Question, Danforth in The Crucible, Duke Francis in The Dark Horse, Dr. Finache in Jacques Charon's National Theatre production of Feydeau's A Flea in her Ear, Charles Blutham in Juno and the Paycock, Dr. Herdal in The Master Builder, Sir John Tremaine in Me And My Girl, The Chaplain in Mother Courage, Christopher in A Private Matter, Captain Brazen in The Recruiting Officer (replacing Laurence Olivier), Polonius in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Higgins in Ross, Miguel Estete in The Royal Hunt of the Sun and Desmond in The Winslow Boy.[4]


On television, Cellier has appeared in a wide range of programmes since 1955, including detective series such as Softly, Softly and Bergerac, adventure series such as Doctor Who, historical dramas such as The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Upstairs, Downstairs and The Duchess of Duke Street, and is perhaps best known for his work in two John Mortimer series, Rumpole of the Bailey (in which he played the role of Sir Frank Fawcett, Permanent Secretary for Defence), Paradise Postponed. He also appeared in the sitcoms It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Yes Minister and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister (1981–87) and Keeping Up Appearances, as the Major (1990–91),[4] among others. In the two Minister series, he played Sir Frank Gordon, the Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury, urbanely contending with Nigel Hawthorne's Sir Humphrey Appleby for supremacy within the civil service.[4] He played Roy Difford in the Casualty episode "The Silence of Friends".[5] and the Judge in BBC Four's Canoe Man (2010), which recounted the John Darwin disappearance case.


Cellier's film work includes Morgan! (1966), as Second Counsel; Young Winston (1972), as Captain 35th Sikhs; Luther (1973), as the Prior; Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! (1973), as the Attorney General; Man About the House (1974), as Morris Pluthero; Man Friday (1975), as Carey; Barry Lyndon (1975), as Sir Richard; Sister Dora (1977), as Actor; Jabberwocky (1977), as First merchant; Crossed Swords (1977), as Mean Man; Holocaust 2000 (1977), as Sheckley; The Pumaman (1980), as Martin; Breaking Glass (1980), as Garage Customer; Chariots of Fire (1981), as Head Waiter, as Savoy; And the Ship Sails On (1983), as Sir Reginald J. Dongby; The Last Days of Pompeii (1984), as Calenus; A Room with a View (1985), as Sir Harry Otway, a landlord; Clockwise (1986), as Headmaster; Out of Order (1987), as Home Secretary; Personal Services (1987), as Mr. Marples; Howards End (1992), as Colonel Fussell; Bhaji on the Beach (1993), as Ambrose Waddington; The Remains of the Day (1993), as Sir Leonard Bax; Stanley's Dragon (1994), as Mr. Johnson; Mrs Dalloway (1997), as Lord Lezham; and Ladies in Lavender (2004), as BBC Announcer.

Cellier played W. S. Gilbert in the 1983 film The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan, in which Gilbert and Sullivan reunite to watch a performance of their greatest songs at the Royal Albert Hall.[6][7]


1960Sink the Bismarck!First Lieutenant on DestroyersUncredited
1966Morgan – A Suitable Case for TreatmentSecond Counsel
1970The Six Wives of Henry VIIISir Christopher HalesEpisode: Anne Boleyn
1971The Rivals of Sherlock HolmesDuke of WiltshireEpisode: The Duchess of Wiltshire's Diamonds
1972Young WinstonCaptain
1972-1975Play for TodayVarious3 episodes
1973Upstairs, DownstairsHenry PritchettEpisode: Word of Honour
1974Don't Just Lie There, Say Something!Attorney General
1974Man About the HouseMorris Pluthero
1975FlameSalesman In Car ShowroomUncredited
1975Man FridayCarey
1975Barry LyndonSir Richard
1976The Duchess of Duke StreetMr MatherEpisode: The Bargain
1977Jabberwocky1st Merchant
1977The Prince and the PauperMean Man
1977-1982Crown CourtJudge Robinson4 episodes
1977Holocaust 2000Sheckley
1978Pennies from HeavenBank ManagerTV mini-series, Episode: The Sweetest Thing
1980The PumamanMuseum Curator
1980Breaking GlassGarage Customer
1981Yes MinisterSir Frank GordonEpisode: The Quality of Life
1981Chariots of FireHead Waiter-Savoy
1982Doctor WhoAndrewsEpisode: Time-Flight (Part 1)
1983And the Ship Sails OnSir Reginald J. Dongby
1985A Room with a ViewSir Harry Otway, a landlord
1986ClockwiseHeadmaster #4
1986-1987Yes Prime MinisterSir Frank Gordon4 episodes
1987Personal ServicesMr. Marples
1987Out of OrderHome Secretary
1988Don't Wait UpPatient Richard BalfourSeries 5 Episode 7: Golf
1990-1991Keeping Up AppearancesThe Major3 episodes
1992Howards EndColonel Fussell
1993Bhaji on the BeachAmbrose Waddington
1993The Remains of the DaySir Leonard Bax
1993Goodnight SweetheartThe SpivEpisode: Is Your Journey Really Necessary?
1994Stanley's DragonMr. Johnson
1997Mrs DallowayLord Lezham
2003Midsomer MurdersPeregrine SladeEpisode: A Talent for Life
2004Ladies in LavenderBBC Announcer
2005-2010DoctorsDavid Padkin / Stanley Hill2 episodes
2007CasualtyRoy DiffordEpisode: The Silence of Friends


  1. "Peter Cellier". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  2. McFarlane, Brian; Slide, Anthony (1 January 2013). The Encyclopedia of British Film: Fourth Edition. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719091391.
  3. Sandra Brennan. "Peter Cellier - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  4. Programme note for Globe Theatre production of An Absolute Turkey, 1994
  5. "The Silence of Friends" episode of Casualty (2007) at the IMDB database
  6. The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan (1983) at the IMDB database
  7. Shepherd, Marc. "Gilbert & Sullivan's Greatest Hits (Video, 1983)", Archived 11 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, accessed 3 June 2009
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