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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 27 November 1918Ipswich, Suffolk, England, UK
Date of Death 9 July 2007Worthing, Sussex, England, UK

Mini Bio (1)

Peter Tuddenham, actor, born November 27 1918; died July 9 2007.

The amiable actor Peter Tuddenham died aged 88, he was always content to remain in supporting roles; in fact, he was most recognised for his off-screen work. He provided the contrasting voices of the computers in the science-fiction series Blake's 7 (BBC, 1978-81).

Tuddenham, who was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, and brought up in the seaside resort of Felixstowe, had made his professional debut before the second world war, in repertory on the pier at Hastings. In the wartime Royal Army Service Corps, he was one of many who honed their performing skills appearing with Stars in Battledress.

Demobbed after the war, he joined a production of Ivor Novello's The Dancing Years; later, in 1959, BBC productions of this and another Novello musical, Perchance to Deam, were among his early television appearances. In 1950, he appeared in Noel Coward's Ace Of Cards, but although the play was well received on tour, it had negative reviews in London's West End.

Tuddenham's small-screen debut was in The Granville Melodramas (1955), one of ITV's earliest productions, starring then husband and wife Hattie Jacques and John Le Mesurier. He took a regular role in Anglia Television's Weavers Green (1966), a short-lived, twice-weekly soap that made an early use of location videotape recording. As an expert on the Suffolk accents, he became Anglia's regular dialect coach.

Characteristically, Tuddenham was heard but not seen as the spirit of East Anglia, in Akenfield (1974), Sir Peter Hall's film adaptation of Ronald Blythe's book, which had an otherwise amateur cast. In a now commonplace move, most of the funding came from London Weekend Television in exchange for the cinema rights; unlike subsequent cinema crossovers it was first screened on television and then released theatrically. This led to good ratings but poor box office. Still, Tuddenham became the dialogue coach for Hall's 1985 production at Glyndebourne of Benjamin Britten's opera, Albert Herring, which was televised on BBC2.

After much radio work, including the soaps Mrs Dale's Diary and Waggoner's Walk, Tuddenham became an off-screen voice in the Doctor Who stories The Ark in Space and The Masque of Mandragora, in 1975 and 1976, both starring Tom Baker. He was then cast in Blake's 7, the adventures of interplanetary rebels fighting an omnipotent Federation. This was created by Terry Nation, who had previously given the world the Daleks.

Tuddenham provided the voices of the computers (eventually three of them - Zen, Orac and Slave) in the show that featured the ship which Clive James, in the Observer, described as "a tasteless light-fitting known as the Liberator". James's view that the series was "flaring nonsense from beyond the galaxy" was widespread among critics. Jokes about the sets and special effects were frequent, and even the large audiences who enjoyed the series generally viewed it as nothing more than hokum.

However, it developed a passionate and vocal cult following, and many maintain that it and Doctor Who represent the pinnacle of British television. Tuddenham reprised his roles in revivals for radio, and in audio tapes made by fans.

Not that he lacked for work in serious drama, generally playing doctors and authority figures. He was in North and South (1975), after the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, and supported Ian Holm as JM Barrie in The Lost Boys (1978), and Eileen Atkins in The Burston Rebellion (1985), about two Norfolk teachers in 1914 who were dismissed for their leftwing beliefs: their pupils went on strike. Anything More Would Be Greedy (1989), again for Anglia, a six-part critique of the 1980s by Malcolm Bradbury, gave Tuddenham the small but vital role of the returning officer at the local elections.

His lighter guest appearances included Nearest and Dearest, Only Fools and Horses, and One Foot in the Grave. He appeared regularly as the friend of academic dropout Michael Williams in the gentle comedy Double First (1988).

Tuddenham remained a genial character, and was an unfailingly popular guest at sci-fi conventions. Rosie, his second wife, and their son Julian survived him in 2007, together with a son from his first marriage. Another son had predeceased him.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Rosie (? - 9 July 2007) (his death) (1 child)
? (? - ?)

Trivia (3)

Just as well known for his voice work on British radio. He was also the unseen voice of the computers Zen, Orac and Slave in the cult sci-fi TV series "Blake's 7".
He began career in repertory as a youth and entertained troops during WWII with the British Army's Stars in Battledress program.
He appeared in 49 of the 52 episodes of Blakes 7 (1978), more than anyone other than Michael Keating and Paul Darrow.

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