Peter Hammond (actor)
Peter Charles Hammond Hill
15 November 1923
|Died||12 October 2011 87) (aged|
Peter Charles Hammond Hill was born in Victoria, Central London. His father, Charles, was an art restorer and his mother, Ada, a nurse. After attending Harrow School of Art, he started work as a scenic artist at Sheffield Repertory Theatre. Following this, he turned to acting to "earn some cash", where he changed his name to Peter Hammond. He appeared in West End productions at the age of 17.
He made his film début in Waterloo Road in 1945, and went on to carve a career playing handsome boy next door types throughout the late forties and early fifties, most notably as Peter Hawtrey in The Huggetts Trilogy – Here Come the Huggetts (1948), Vote for Huggett and The Huggetts Abroad (both 1949).
His work on The Avengers gave Hammond a free hand to explore many stylistic opportunities. Producer Leonard White and series creator Sydney Newman both congratulated him on giving the early videotape episodes their distinctive visual style. Patrick Macnee credited him as a major influence in the shaping of the character of Steed. It was through Hammond's work on The Avengers and Armchair Theatre (also for Leonard White) that he would be awarded a Director's Bafta in 1965. Hammond's work on the series was entirely on the videotape seasons (1961–64). Although Brian Clemens, producer of the filmed episodes of the show (1965–69), approached him a few times about directing further episodes, Hammond wasn't interested: "I told them to get lost – there was nothing I could love about the Avengers being made on film".
His one foray into film saw him directing James Mason in Spring and Port Wine in 1970, based on the play of the same name by Bill Naughton. Set in the Lancashire town of Bolton, the film is still fondly regarded by those from the area.
He continued to direct many popular TV series of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, including King of the Castle, a 1978 production of Wuthering Heights for the BBC, The Dark Angel for BBC2, Rumpole of the Bailey, Follyfoot, The Wednesday Play, BBC's Cold Comfort Farm in 1968, Tales of the Unexpected, 1966 BBC mini-series The Three Musketeers, The Little World of Don Camillo, The Return of Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Morse and many more.
Peter Neill, a colleague who worked with Hammond on various productions of the time, remembers him as "very efficient, yet creative, with a friendly manner and sense of humour". He is said also to have had a good rapport with actors, perhaps due to his own background in that area.
He retired from directing in the mid-1990s due to illness and to look after his wife, Maureen Glynne, whom he married in 1948, until her death in 2005. They had three sons and two daughters.
- They Knew Mr. Knight (1946)
- The Huggetts Abroad (1949)
- The Reluctant Widow (1950)
- Dance Hall (1950)
- Father's Doing Fine (1952)
- Come Back Peter (1952)
- Flannelfoot (1953)
- Alf's Baby (1953)
- Confession (1955)
- It's Never Too Late (1956)
- Soho Incident (aka Spin a Dark Web) (1956)
- X the Unknown (1956)
- Model for Murder (1959)
- Obituary: Peter Hammond, The Daily Telegraph, 19 October 2011
- The Avengers and Me, Patrick Macnee's Autobiography
- The Avengers – Series 3 DVD Boxset, Brief for Murder audio commentary with Brian Clemens
- The Avengers Forum – Jaz Wiseman, Optimum DVD Producer
- Fiddy, Dick (1 January 2012). "Peter Hammond obituary". The Guardian.