Simon Cadell

Simon John Cadell (19 July 1950 – 6 March 1996) was an English actor, best known for his portrayal of Jeffrey Fairbrother in the first five series of the BBC situation comedy Hi-de-Hi!.

Simon Cadell
Simon Cadell
Simon John Cadell

(1950-07-19)19 July 1950
London, England
Died6 March 1996(1996-03-06) (aged 45)
Westminster, England
Spouse(s)Rebecca Croft (m. 1985)
Children2 sons

Early life

Born in London, he was the son of theatrical agent John Cadell, grandson of the Scottish character actress Jean Cadell, great nephew of Francis Cadell RSA, the brother of the actress Selina Cadell and commercials director Patrick Cadell, the cousin of the actor Guy Siner and son-in-law of the television producer David Croft. He was educated at The Hall School in Hampstead and Bedales School at Petersfield where his close friends included Gyles Brandreth, who remained a friend until Cadell's death.[1]


Cadell was a member of the National Youth Theatre and appeared with them in the 1967 production of Zigger Zagger. He trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His first successes were found in the theatre in the mid to late 1970s. He then provided the voice of Blackberry in the animated adaptation of Watership Down (1978), based on the novel by Richard Adams. Subsequently he had roles in television programmes such as Enemy at the Door (1978–80), and also appeared briefly in the disaster film Meteor (1979) as a TV news reporter.

He is best remembered for his role as the well-meaning holiday camp manager Jeffrey Fairbrother in the BBC situation comedy Hi-de-Hi! (1980–84) and for playing the disingenuous civil servant Dundridge in the screen adaptation of a novel by Tom Sharpe, Blott on the Landscape (1985).

On radio he played the elven-king Celeborn in the BBC adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (1981). He starred in the BBC sitcom Life Without George (1987-1989) which ran for three series and also featured Carol Royle in a leading role.

Cadell appeared in the 1991 British comedy series Singles. Other television credits include, Minder, Bergerac, The Kenny Everett Television Show and Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. He was also in heavy demand as a voice-over for television commercials.

He also narrated the children's television series Bump for the BBC which is all about a baby elephant (who always bumps into things) and his friend Birdie.

Personal life

In 1985 Cadell married actress Rebecca Croft, the daughter of Dad's Army co-creator David Croft. The couple had two sons.


In January 1993 Cadell, a heavy smoker of up to [2] 80 cigarettes a day, suffered a near-fatal heart attack after giving a recital with Joanna Lumley at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, in London. He returned to the stage four months after undergoing triple heart bypass surgery, but was diagnosed with cancer in September 1993,[3] while being treated for pneumonia.[4]

On 6 March 1996 Cadell died at the age of 45,[5][6] He is buried with his father in the Cadell family grave in Dean Cemetery in western Edinburgh. The grave lies on the southern wall.

Only 12 weeks after Cadell's death, his best friend Jeremy Sinden, who was 5 weeks older than he, also died of lung cancer. Simon Cadell's father, John, had been the theatrical agent of Jeremy Sinden's father, Donald Sinden, for more than 30 years.[7]

Television roles

1978-1980Enemy at the DoorHauptsturmführer Reinicke
1978Edward & Mrs. SimpsonMajor John Aird
1980-1984Hi-de-Hi!Prof. Jeffrey Fairbrother
1981BergeracHedley Cross"Campaign for Silence" (1981)
1981-1984Tales of the UnexpectedCo-pilot
Sam Luke
"Hijack" (1981)
"Have a Nice Death" (1984)
1985Blott on the LandscapeMr. Dundridge
1987-1989Life Without GeorgeLarry Wade
1989Anything More Would Be GreedyNarrator
1989Frederick Forsyth Presents: Pride and Extreme PrejudiceWilson
1989MinderWilliam Pierce"The Wrong Goodbye" (1989)
1991SinglesDenis Duvall

Film roles

1978Watership DownBlackberryVoice
1979MeteorBBC News ReporterUncredited
1996The Cold Light of DayVladimir Kozant


  1. Nicholas Shakespeare "The Diary of a Lifetime by Gyles Brandreth: review", Daily Telegraph, 31 October 2009
  2. The Independent
  3. Herald Scotland
  4. GRO Register of Deaths: MAR 1996 A38C 170 WESTMINSTER - Simon John Cadell, DoB 19 Jul 1950, aged 45
  5. Alexandra Younger (8 March 1996). "Obituary: Simon Cadell - Obituaries - News". The Independent. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  6. "Simon Cadell". Croydon Life. 14 June 2008.
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