3 July 2012 4:01 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Stage and screen actor best known for his role as Chief Superintendent Strange in Inspector Morse

James Grout, who has died aged 84, was a supporting actor of authority and distinction best known on television for playing Inspector Morse's boss, Chief Superintendent Strange, as well as a gallery of prominent characters in other much-loved series. He was the flustered party whip in Yes Minister; a blunt-speaking judge, Ollie Oliphant, in John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey; and an affluent, slightly dodgy businessman, Mr McAllister, in Alan Plater's The Beiderbecke Affair.

Tall and increasingly rotund as he grew older, Grout had an immensely wide-ranging career on stage, radio and television for more than 50 years. He was renowned for having a great voice, noted by the critic Harold Hobson in 1950 when, as a graduating Rada student, Grout recited from Don Marquis's The Dark Hours – words, said Hobson, that "seemed »

- Michael Coveney

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