The Rough Guide to Cult TV's Cult TV Heroes

by Progressive-Element | created - 08 May 2013 | updated - 08 May 2013 | Public

1. Caroline Aherne

Actress | The Royle Family

Caroline Aherne was born on December 24, 1963 in Ealing, London, England. She was an actress and writer, known for The Royle Family (1998), The Mrs. Merton Show (1995) and Mrs. Merton and Malcolm (1999). She was married to Peter Hook. She died on July 2, 2016 in Timperley, Greater Manchester, ...

2. Dave Allen

Writer | Dave Allen at Large

Born of a prominent Irish journalist in Dublin, Ireland, Dave Allen started out working and touring through English theatres and night clubs. Only occasionally working on radio, he made his first TV appearance on the BBC's "New Faces." He managed to tour with The Beatles while they were still ...

3. Gillian Anderson

Actress | The X Files

Gillian Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Rosemary Alyce (Lane), a computer analyst, and Homer Edward Anderson III, who owned a film post-production company. She has English, German, and Irish ancestry.

Gillian started her career as a member of an amateur actor group while at high school. ...

4. Tom Baker

Actor | Nicholas and Alexandra

The English character actor Tom Baker is best known for his record-setting seven-year stint as the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who (1963). He was born in 1934 in Liverpool, to Mary Jane (Fleming) and John Stewart Baker. His father was of English and Scottish descent, while his mother's family was ...

5. Frank Bough

Actor | Life After Life

Frank Bough became known as one of the BBC's most accomplished presenters, equally able to cover sport, entertainment and politics. He was educated at Oswestry Boys' School and Merton College, Oxford. He undertook national service in the Royal Tank Regiment. He was encouraged to become a ...

6. Basil Brush

Actor | French and Saunders

Basil Brush was born in September 1962 in England. He is an actor, known for French and Saunders (1987), Small Time (1955) and Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do (2003).

7. Dick Clement

Writer | The Commitments

Dick Clement was born on September 5, 1937 in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England as Richard Clement. He is a writer and producer, known for The Commitments (1991), Flushed Away (2006) and The Bank Job (2008).

8. Ian La Frenais

Writer | The Commitments

Ian La Frenais was born on January 7, 1937 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England. He is a writer and producer, known for The Commitments (1991), The Bank Job (2008) and Flushed Away (2006). He has been married to Doris Vartan since 1984.

9. David Coleman

Actor | Without Limits

David Coleman was born on April 26, 1926 in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, England. He was an actor and producer, known for Without Limits (1998), Sports Retort (1955) and The Range Rider (1951). He was married to Barbara. He died on December 21, 2013 in Warwickshire, England.

10. Steve Coogan

Actor | Philomena

Steve Coogan was born on October 14, 1965 in Middleton, Manchester, England as Stephen John Coogan. He is an actor and producer, known for Philomena (2013), 24 Hour Party People (2002) and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2013). He was previously married to Caroline Hickman.

11. Peter Cook

Actor | The Princess Bride

One of four stars of the London and New York revues Beyond the Fringe and Beyond the Fringe (with Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett, and Dudley Moore). Later created scatological comedy routine "Derek & Clive" with Moore.

12. Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Producer | Le monde sans soleil

Jacques-Yves Cousteau was born on June 11, 1910, in Saint-André-de-Cubzac (Gironde) in France. He entered the naval academy in 1930, was graduated and became a gunnery officer. Then, while he was training to be a pilot, a serious car accident ended his aviation career. In order to rehabilitate his ...

13. Pete Duel

Actor | Alias Smith and Jones

Born on 24 February 1940 in Rochester, New York, Pete Duel moved to West Hollywood in 1963 following a tour with the National Road Company's "Take Her, She's Mine". After landing small guest spots on various TV series, Pete was cast in a recurring role alongside Sally Field on Gidget (1965) in 1965...

14. Peter Glaze

Actor | Doctor Who

Peter Glaze was born on September 17, 1924 in London, England. He was an actor, known for Doctor Who (1963), Whack-O! (1956) and Together Again (1957). He died on February 20, 1983 in Dartford, England.

15. Grace Wyndham Goldie

Producer | London to Brighton Side by Side

Grace Wyndham Goldie is a producer, known for London to Brighton Side by Side (2008), Stage by Stage (1954) and Weekend World (1972).

16. Larry Hagman

Actor | Dallas

The son of a legendary actress (Mary Martin) and a district attorney, Larry Martin Hagman was born on September 21, 1931 in Fort Worth, Texas. After his parents' divorce, he moved to Los Angeles, California to live with his grandmother. When he was 12, his grandmother died and he moved back to his ...

17. Tony Hancock

Actor | The Rebel

Tony Hancock was born in Birmingham, England, the son of John and Lillian Hancock. He was educated at Durlston Court, Swanage, and Bradfield College, Reading. He served in the R.A.F. (ground crew) during the war. In 1942 he was in the R.A.F. Gang Show. He was de-mobbed in 1946. He appeared at the ...

18. Tony Hart

Art_department | The George Mitchell Choir: Around the World in Song

Tony Hart was born on October 15, 1925 in Maidstone, Kent, England as Norman Anthony Hart. He is known for his work on The George Mitchell Choir: Around the World in Song (1962), The Lenny the Lion Show (1957) and Saturday Special (1951). He was married to Jean Hart. He died on January 18, 2009 in ...

20. Frankie Howerd

Actor | Up Pompeii

Francis Alick Howerd, who grew up to become popular British comedian Frankie Howerd, was born in 1917 and first set foot on stage at age 4. A Sunday school teacher as a teen, his father, who died in 1934, had been an Army man for most of his life. Not long after Frankie was invited to audition for ...

21. David Hyde Pierce

Actor | Frasier

David Hyde Pierce was born on 3 April 1959 in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA. He is the youngest child of George and Laura Pierce (both deceased) and has two older sisters (Barbara and Nancy) and an older brother (Thomas). As a child, he was very interested in music (particularly piano) and ...

22. John Le Mesurier

Actor | The Italian Job

The son of a solicitor, British character actor John Le Mesurier attended public school in Dorset, England, before embarking on a career in law. However, acting was his true calling, and at age 20, with his parents' approval, he began his acting career by studying drama at the Fay Compton School of...

23. David Letterman

Writer | Late Show with David Letterman

Television would never be the same after David Letterman made his second attempt at a television show in 1982. But his career before becoming host of the show was quite an interesting and long one. Letterman was born in Broad Ripple, a neighborhood in Indianapolis. His childhood was relatively ...

24. Jack Lord

Actor | Dr. No

Jack Lord will probably be best remembered as Steve McGarrett in the long running television series Hawaii Five-O (1968), but he was much more than that however. He starred in several movies, directed several episodes of his show, was in several Broadway productions, and was an accomplished artist....

25. Ian McCaskill

Actor | The Little and Large Show

Ian McCaskill was born on July 28, 1938 in Glasgow, Scotland as John Robertson McCaskill. He was an actor, known for The Little and Large Show (1978), The Kenny Everett Television Show (1981) and Roland Rat: The Series (1986). He was married to Pat Cormack and Lesley Charlesworth. He died on ...

26. Quinn Martin

Producer | The Fugitive

During the early 1970s QM Productions through its owner Quinn Martin dominated the action adventure television series genre. At one time QM produced more hours of network television programs per week than any other independent production company. Perhaps one of Martin's most lasting contributions ...

27. Rik Mayall

Actor | The Young Ones

Rik Mayall, one of the first and foremost alternative comedians in the UK, was born in a village called Matching Tye, just outside Harlow in Essex. His parents, John and Gillian were both drama teachers. His acting debut was at the age of seven when he appeared in one of his father's stage plays. ...

28. Spike Milligan

Actor | The Bed Sitting Room

Spike was born an 'Army Brat', the son of an Irish Captain in the British Raj in India. Educated in a series of Roman Catholic schools in India and at Lewisham Polytechnic in England, he spent his formative years playing the fool and playing the trumpet in local jazz bands.

He joined the British ...

29. Eric Morecambe

Writer | The Morecambe & Wise Show

Eric Morecambe was born on May 14, 1926 in Buxton Street, Morecambe, Lancashire, England as John Eric Bartholomew. He was a writer and actor, known for The Morecambe & Wise Show (1968), Night Train to Murder (1984) and The Intelligence Men (1965). He was married to Joan Morecambe. He died on ...

30. Christopher Morris

Writer | Four Lions

Morris, the oldest son of two GPs, was educated at Stonyhurst College and Bristol University, where he read Zoology. His upbringing, and in particular, his education, has been the source of much media speculation, especially after the post-Brass Eye Special tabloid backlash. The tabloids focused on...

31. Jeremy Paxman

Actor | Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Jeremy Paxman is arguably Britain's most respected political journalist, renowned for his tough, rigorous interviewing of public figures. He was born in Leeds and educated at a prestigious private school, Malvern College. He graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in English. He joined ...

32. Jon Snow

Actor | Coriolanus

Jon Snow was born on September 28, 1947 in Ardingly, Sussex, England. He is an actor, known for Coriolanus (2011), Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Avid Merrion's XXXmas Special (2005). He has been married to Precious Lunga since March 26, 2010.

33. Patricia Phoenix

Actress | The L-Shaped Room

Bold, brassy and larger than life, Pat Phoenix was television's favourite scarlet woman. For nearly 25 years, she dominated the soap opera Coronation Street (1960) in the role of Elsie Tanner and sent shivers down the spines of Britain's menfolk twice a week. With her low cut cleavage, she was ...

34. Oliver Postgate

Writer | Bagpuss

Oliver Postgate was born on April 12, 1925 in Hendon, Middlesex, England as Richard Oliver Postgate. He was a writer and actor, known for Bagpuss (1974), Ivor the Engine (1975) and Life On Earth Perhaps (1985). He was married to Prue Myers. He died on December 8, 2008 in Broadstairs, Kent, England.

35. Fred Quimby

Producer | The Cat Concerto

Won 4 consecutive Oscars between 1944-1947, in the category Best Short Subject, Cartoons.

36. Vic Reeves

Actor | House of Fools

Vic Reeves was born on January 24, 1959 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England as James Roderick Moir. He is an actor and writer, known for House of Fools (2014), Vic Reeves Big Night Out (1990) and Catterick (2004). He has been married to Nancy Sorrell since January 25, 2003. They have two children. He...

37. Bob Mortimer

Writer | House of Fools

Bob Mortimer was born on May 23, 1959 in Middlesbrough, Teesside, England as Robert Renwick Mortimer. He is a writer and actor, known for House of Fools (2014), Catterick (2004) and Bang, Bang, It's Reeves and Mortimer (1999). He has been married to Lisa Matthews since October 2015. They have two ...

38. Gene Roddenberry

Writer | Star Trek

Gene Roddenberry was born on August 19, 1921 in El Paso, Texas, USA as Eugene Wesley Roddenberry. He was a writer and producer, known for Star Trek (1966), Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). He was married to Majel Barrett and Eileen Anita Rexroat. He ...

39. Leonard Rossiter

Actor | 2001: A Space Odyssey

Leonard Rossiter was born on October 21st, 1926 in Liverpool. Unable to afford to go to university, he worked in an insurance office until he was 27, when he joined Preston repertory company and made his professional stage debut in "The Gay Dog". After Preston, he starred in productions at ...

40. Aaron Spelling

Producer | Charlie's Angels

Aaron Spelling graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Before that, he attended Forest Avenue High. He started as a writer and sold his first script to Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre (1955). He wrote for various television shows, ...

41. Carol Vorderman

Actress | W1A

Carol Vorderman was born on December 24, 1960 in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England as Carol Jean Vorderman. She is known for her work on W1A (2014), Trollied (2011) and Stars in Their Eyes (1990).

42. Paul Whitehouse

Actor | The Fast Show

Paul Whitehouse was born on May 17, 1958 in Stanleytown, Rhondda, Wales. He is an actor and writer, known for The Fast Show (1994), The Death of Stalin (2017) and Corpse Bride (2005).

43. Edward Woodward

Actor | The Wicker Man

British actor Edward Woodward made a highly successful transition into Hollywood stardom in the mid 1980s thanks to a popular TV dramatic series. Possessing a magnetic, yet coldly handsome demeanor in the same mold as Christopher Plummer, he was born on June 1, 1930, in London and received his ...