Oh…Miss Jones!


Richard Beckinsale

Born Richard Arthur Beckinsale, Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, England. 6 July 1947
Died 19 March 1979
Sunningdale, Berkshire, England. Resting place Mortlake Crematorium, Kew, London, England
Aged 31



British Actor
PARENTS – Arthur & Margaret (nee Barlow) Beckinsale

Margaret Bradley

​(m. 1965; div. 1971)​

Judy Loe ​(m. 1977)​


Samantha Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale


Judith & Wendy

Richard 1977
Born in Nottingham in 1947, the youngest of three children (sisters Judith and Wendy), to an Anglo-Burmese father, Arthur John Beckinsale, and an English mother, Margaret Barlow. Arthur had served in the army during the Second World War and, after being posted to Nottingham, he met Margaret. They married in 1941, both aged 24. Arthur left the military one their fits daughter had been born and started working as a clerk for a solicitor in their home town of Stapleford.
Agency Spotlight – 1973
Richard attended his first school here, Albany Infants School, before the family decided to move to Chilwell. This meant a change of schools for Richard, now starting a new term at College House Primary School on Cator Lane in neighbouring Beeston. Here Richard would discover his gift of theatrics, his sisters would enjoy dressing Richard up to play different characters, and even his parents bought Richard a theatrical make-up kit. His gift of mimicking people, particularly those in authority, teachers in this case, and his ability to quickly draw people into his gentle world, meant Richard drew in many admirers with his easy-going nature. Unfortunately Richard failed his 11-plus, preventing him entry to a local grammar school.
Three For All – 1975
With his interest in acting still prominent, Richard went on to Alderman White Secondary School, where some of his friends from College House also attended. A sensitive kid, and somewhat disruptive at times as his energy and need to entertain fellow classmates sometimes went too far. Richard would form many new friendships at secondary school with his unique, handsome appearance, passed down from his father’s side of the family, his great-grandmother was Burmese, and his confidence would soon gather ground, commenting to his drama teacher that one day he would see his name up in lights.
At the age of 14, Richard wasn’t out playing football or listening to music, he was reading the classics, and performing in the school’s theatrical productions, playing the lead in some cases, and his performance was always eagerly anticipated by the pupils and even the staff who were very taken with Richard’s ability to effortlessly inhabit the roles.
Publicity Shot – Richard in 1975
In 1962 he left Alderman White with no real qualifications, his dreams of continuing in acting were slim, he was back at home now and the holidays before starting college meant he had to find something to do. He knew he would need qualifications to continue onto college and drama school but now, at 15 years old and, as with many teenagers, disillusioned with anything but a typical future as a labourer, he would have to join the adult world as a worked. Barton’s Transport, the biggest transport company in the East Midlands, took Richard on as an apprentice upholster as a coach trimmer trainee. From entertaining staff and pupils at school, a long day of hard manual labour was not for the likes of Richard, and trying to endear himself with labourers by recounting lines from Shakespeare was not going to win him any friends here. A year later he worked for the Gas Board as an inspector of spun pipes at the local steelworks for Stanton and Stavely in Nottingham
Richard as Michael Robson – The Floater – 1975
At 16, Richard was continuing studies in the evenings in English and Art, striving for two O-Levels that would secure his place at Clarendon College in Nottingham. Richard joined the Friday night drama class and he was in his element, he launched himself head first into the arts, enjoying and playing folk music and joining in any creative class available, performance and entertaining was everything to him, even taking private drama tutorials and, at 17, the start of his acting career was about to blossom. After nearly two years at Clarendon, with his course nearly at an end, Richard decided to apply to RADA but unfortunately, he failed his first audition. A huge blow for Richard, he was left stunned but, not to be disheartened, he decided to apply again months later and was accepted, being just one of 31 successful applicants from a total of more than 12,500.
With Ronnie Barker in Porridge – 1979
Richard fell in love with Margaret Bradley, he’d originally met her at a folk club and began dating her in 1964, and in 1965, aged 17, he married Margaret. Richard and Margaret had their first child, Samantha, born on 23 July 1966.With Richard now balancing a professional career in drama, whilst supporting Margaret who was pregnant with Samantha, they decided a move to London would be more suitable and they found a small flat on Goodge Street. With pressures of drama school and a young family to support, Richard and Margaret grew apart and they sadly separated in 1968. Margaret returned to Nottingham with Samantha and Richard, now a graduate of RADA, left London to work in repertory theatre in Crewe.
With Judy Loe in 1978
Judy Loe was also working at Crewe, both were making their professional debuts, and the two began dating in 1968. Supporting each other in productions at Crewe and throughout the UK, the two would end up living together, supporting one and other’s careers. With theatrical roles in Crewe and throughout the UK, Richard’s big break came when he secured his television debut in 1969 as policeman PC Wilcox in Coronation Street. The role, to arrest, and carry away, one of the most well-known stars of the show, stalwart Ena Sharples. This was followed by a small role in a 1970 episode of A Family at War where he played a young soldier. Following these small parts in TV, the writer Jack Rosenthal had written a new comedy called The Lovers and was casting for the role of Geoffrey. He had travelled to Hull to see Richard in a play after numerous actors, who had auditioned for Geoffrey, had told Jack that Richard would be best suited for the role in The Lovers, and they were right. Playing alongside the excellent Paula Wilcox as Beryl, also a newcomer on television, The Lovers for Granada TV was a huge hit. Richard’s performance won him an award as Best TV Newcomer for 1971.
As Geoffrey in The Lovers 1971
During the two series of The Lovers, Richard also had roles in the ITV children’s show, Elephant’s Eggs in a Rhubarb Tree and an episode of Armchair Theatre, Detective Waiting.
1972 saw Richard make his film debut in the spy/detective film Rentadick, playing the role of Hobbs. A year later there was more success, now in Richard’s personal life, as he and Judy celebrated their first child, Katie, born in July 1973.
The mid 70s would bring two roles that would take Richard to even greater heights, landing the role of Lennie Godber, alongside Ronnie Barker’s Fletcher, in the hit BBC sitcom Porridge from 1974 to 1977. While appearing in Porridge, Richard also starred as medical student Alan Moore in the ITV sitcom Rising Damp, also from 1974 to 1977.
I Love My Wife – 1977
Theatrical commitments followed and he joined the musical I Love My Wife for a 6-month run in 1977, unfortunately this would mean that Richard would be unable to return to the role of Alan in the fourth series of Rising Damp. Richard would also appear the hit West End Musical Funny Peculiar for 19 months, for which he was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for “Actor of the Year in a New Play” and “Comedy Performance of the Year”.
Between working on these sitcoms, Richard returned to his debut sitcom, The Lovers, where he and Paula reprised their roles once again for the 1973 film version of the series.
In 1977, Richard married Judy and another sitcom would follow in 1978, Going Straight, a spin-off of Porridge.
After all his TV work, theatrical commitments and a new found fame in being the new poster boy of television, Richard’s handsome looks and charismatic personality meant he was appearing everywhere, from TV adverts, to pin-up features in magazines and a huge following of admiring fans and the exposure was getting to him. 1978 saw Richard decide to take some much-needed time off from his acting commitments and he spent time riding his horse, singing, playing his guitar and fishing.
As Stan in Bloomers with Ann Calder-Marshall – 1979
On his return to acting a year later, Richard also wanted a change of scenery here too, to move away from the comedic roles and to take on more serious roles, noting a hunger to play Hamlet at the National Theatre. But another sitcom would come his way on his return to work in 1979. Richard had his first leading role in what was to be his last sitcom, Bloomers, playing the role of Stan, an out-of-work actor who now works as a partner of a flower shop.
Rehearsals were due to begin on the sixth episode of the series in March 1979, postponed from its schedule recording in 1978 due to industrial action, when news was passed onto the crew that Richard had died of a heart attack at his home on Monday March 19 1979.
David Swift, who had appeared with Richard in an episode of Rising Damp, would later report that he had witnessed Richard looking more tired as the filming progressed. Anna Calder-Marshall, playing alongside Richard, would also note that Richard had told her the night before he died that he was suffering from dizzy spells and he had suffered a kind of black-out, concerning him enough to make an appointment to see a doctor. The doctor was unable to find anything wrong, other than Richard’s cholesterol being slightly high, as he also reported to Stephen Frears whilst beginning filming on Stephen’s 1979 film, Bloody Kids.
Publicity Shot – 1971
The post-mortem examination revealed that Richard had coronary artery disease, causing the heart attack.
At a later date, in memory of Richard, the five recorded episodes of Bloomers were later transmitted with the permission of his widow, Judy Loe.
Richard had an enormous talent of making everything look effortless, he showed a real truth and vulnerability in the roles he played, but it wasn’t easy. As Eric Chappell noted on one occasion, what made Richard appear so relaxed on screen, was in fact took a performance that required a lot of energy and mental preparation. Eric witnessed this after an episode of Rising Damp, he knew Richard had given too much, and he broke his cover. Richard was in three hugely popular BAFTA nominated sitcoms in three consecutive years in the 70s, millions of people switched on to see this handsome, gentle man play these naive, awkward, lovable roles, and he was loved by all who saw him.