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Conrad Phillips obituary

13 January 2016 10:31 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Stage and screen actor best known for his role in the ITV series William Tell

One of ITV’s first action heroes, notable for his expertise with a crossbow, was William Tell, played by Conrad Phillips, who has died aged 90. Swashbucklers were hugely popular in ITV’s early years and William Tell (1958-59), set in 14th-century Switzerland under the tyrannical rule of Emperor Rudolph of Austria, was one of the most memorable series.

In the opening episode, Phillips, as the patriot who rebels against Austrian rule, was seen demonstrating his perfect marksmanship by shooting an arrow into an apple placed on the head of his screen son, Walter, by order of the hated governor, Landburgher Gessler (Willoughby Goddard). Over the 39 episodes of the series, the bulky, blustering Gessler plotted to catch Tell, who operated from the hills with a band of outlaws.

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- Anthony Hayward

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