An Episode by Episode Guide to all the characters.
In addition to the regular tenants at Rigsby’s, a number of additional characters, played by some of our finest character actors, appear throughout the series. Here is a guide to the characters, the actors, and links to additional biographical information and obituaries, where applicable.
Series 1, Episode 2
A Night Out
The Manager – Frank Gatliff
RIP: June 23, 1990 Aged 62
The Grange, one of the higher end establishments that Rigsby, Philip and Spooner have been known to frequent. The Manager is not keen to allow Rigsby into his establishment but, seeing as though Philip (Mr Smith) is a regular, he is allowed in this time, under the warning of causing no trouble.
Alan, on the other hand, is a little out of his depth, amazed to find they charge 10p to use the loo, with an attendant there to compliment you.
But Rigsby knows the manager, one Charlie Briggs, he used to run a tea urn at the market with his father and sold stale sandwiches. Livid, Charlie, escorts Rigsby and co from the dining room.
Series 1, Episode 3
Maureen – Liz Edmiston
RIP: April 10, 2008 Aged 62
Maureen is Alan’s new girlfriend, a dedicated cyclist who won’t go anywhere without her bike, even if it means carrying it up the stairs to Alan’s room or outpacing her over bearing father who follows her around. She’ll even prefer drinking from her water canisters than try a shot of alcohol from Alan’s dusty drinks tray. Smart and streetwise, she see’s Alan’s intentions early on, even recognizing some green pills that Alan tries to make her take. They were the same one’s that changed her sister’s water green!
But woe betide anyone who gets too close, her father insists he’ll wring the neck of the first who touches her!
Series 1, Episode 5
Baker – George Sewell
RIP: April 2, 2007 Aged 82
Baker, referring to himself as Detective Constable Baker, arrives at the boardinghouse just as Miss Jones claims to have seen a shadowy figure prowling around the house. Whilst no one actually called the Police, DC Baker puts on the full TV detective personality and begins conducting an investigation. Is there any reason a prowler would be casing the house, perhaps a disclosure from Rigsby that he keeps a stash of money (rent) under the floorboards.
It turns out DC Baker isn’t a DC at all, just a criminal posing as a policeman and guess what, the money’s gone!
Policeman – Michael Stainton
After the crime takes place, a real policeman shows up to inform Rigsby and company that a criminal is on the loose and, no prizes for guessing what as, he calls himself Baker!
Series 1, Episode 6
Stand Up and Be Counted
Labour Candidate – Michael Ward
RIP: Nov 8, 1997 Aged 88
Election fever hits the house and the boys are supporting the Labour candidate, Jones (see episode review for more information on the name of this character), and Phil’s doing his best to convince Ruth. His background isn’t it politics but in soft toys and baby clothes. Affectedly smoking a cigarette, the candidate is intent on spreading tales that Mr De Vere-Brown (Conservative) is out of touch with the needs of the locals, remote, and shouldn’t be trusted as he has no chin, but he is sound on Dutch elm disease and swine fever, even goes as far as calling out his ancestors for roasting peasants over an open fire.
Annoyed by this, Rigsby hits back and accuses him of sharing a cottage in Wales with his Filipino house boy, shares in ICI and weekend trips to the ballet with a twenty-five year old milkman. Cheap smears indeed and the candidate leaves in disgust, leaving eh boys to keep up the good work!
Mr Platt – Ian Lavender
A young, shy, naïve candidate who’s driven his mother’s mini around to canvass for the Liberals. He’s new to politics but enjoys visiting the locals and, in his words, ‘you can’t beat skin to skin.’ He’s fresh off a speaking engagement at the Corn Exchange and is armed with free pens to distribute. Mis Jones, naturally, takes a shine to the young man and wants to know more and needs to be convinced of the party’s view. Rigsby’s not convinced, especially after seeing him at the Corn Exchange, noting his flies were undone, but also more offended that his policies cater for pensioners…just like Rigsby!
Mr De Vere-Brown – Anthony Sharp
RIP: July 23, 1984 Aged 69
Rigsby’s been canvassing for the Conservatives and Colonel De Vere-Brown is here to see how he’s been doing in the neighborhood. Cut from good stock, he’s married and lives very well in a manor home and is a member of the local billiards club. A supporter of Leeds United, De Vere-Brown also enjoys grouse hunting and can be seen featured in County Life magazine, celebrating his love of blood sports…the grouse not Leeds FC.
De Vere-Brown’s brough his two golden Labradors with him, Roper and Bella, to meet Rigsby. Roper unfortunately mistakes Rigsby’s hallway as a toilet but Rigsby’s so excited to be in the presence of De Vere-Brown that it’s easily overlooked.
Unbeknown to De Vere-Brown, Risgby is the owner of the house, and he is intent on making it clear that these boarding houses should be pulled down and replaced with flats, too much exploitation goes on in Rigsby’s dwellings and, according to De Vere-Brown, the owner should be up in front of the rent tribunal! Rigsby argues he’s the one that should be protected and ejects him, and his dogs, out of the house.
Series 2, Episode 1
The Permissive Society
Mr Cooper – George A. Cooper
RIP: Nov 16, 2018 Aged 93
Alan’s been dating Mr Cooper’s daughter, Sandra. Nothing runs smoothly when Alan’s involved and it’s not long before poor Sandra is left in tears. So it’s no surprise then that Mr Cooper should show up at Rigsby’s demanding to speak to Alan. Rigsby’s on hand to enjoy the ear bashing Mr Cooper is about to dish out but, seeing the unjust attack on young Alan, Rigsby steps in to point out that he shouldn’t be reading Alan’s letters to Sandra and he’s not standing for any more of it, and forces Mr Cooper to leave. Alan’s impressed with his landlord’s surprise counter but once they see Sandra’s two big brothers returning to continue to telling off, they’re both running to hide.
Series 1, Episode 4
Moonlight and Roses
Desmond – Robin Parkinson (see tenants page)
Series 2, Episode 6
The Last of the Big Spenders
Mr Flint – Campbell Singer
RIP: Feb16, 1976 Aged 92
As Mr Flint points out, it’s all very well living the life of an international playboy when you can afford it, sadly for Rigsby he’s purchased some lavish furniture that he can’t afford to pay for. As the bailiff, Mr Flint is here to reclaim the furniture, without interfering with Rigsby’s subtle dalliances with Brenda.
Charlie – Ronnie Brody
RIP: May 8, 1991 Aged 72
Charlie’s alongside to help Mr Flint, carefully removing each item to load onto the truck
The Gasman – Robert Gillespie
Love is blind, and expensive, when Rigsby’s got no money to take Brenda out. In fact, he’s got no money for anything, even to pay for his gas bill, they’ve cut him off. A despondent gasman calls to inform Rigsby he’s been disconnected, only to find Rigsby’s been raiding the gas meter so he has some money to take Brenda out. Once discovered, the gasman has no choice but to report Rigsby.
Series 2, Episode 7
Things That Go Bump in the Night
Vicar – Norman Bird
RIP: April 22, 2005 Aged 80
There are some strange things going on in the Rigsby household, some stranger than normal. The curse of the Grey Lady has manifested itself and to keep the house in order, Rigsby’s called the local Vicar to exorcize the house. The Vicar didn’t expect to see Rigsby again until his last rites! The Vicar doesn’t like the sound of a haunted house, maybe Rigsby should have called the Catholics.
The Vicar’s sure there is a natural explanation as to why this is happening, he advises the cricket playing curate may be of more help.
Curate – David Rowlands
Gordon, an over excitable, cricket loving Curate, accompanies the Vicar back to Rigsby’s. he’s looking to take some interesting pictures for the Parish magazine.
Just as he sets the scene for the manifestation, Rigsby bowls him a googly by turning up dressed as the Grey Lady.
Gordon and Vicar are convinced he doesn’t need devine intervention, but should really see a Dr. As Gordon proclaims to Rigsby, ‘…you’ve been clean bowled’.
Series 2, Episode 8 – Christmas Special
For the Man Who Has Everything
Fred – Larry Martyn
RIP: Aug 7, 1994 Aged 60
Well, if Rigsby doesn’t get his double cream at Christmas, someone’s going to get it. That someone is sun-seeker Fred, the milkman. A ladies’ man, Fred’s milk float has been seen by Rigsby outside of Mrs Bailey’s house, it was there for the whole morning the other day. He doesn’t forget her, but he does forget the double cream!
And he’s not expecting a Christmas bonus from Rigsby either so he disappears to try and find Rigsby’s double cream. On his return to the house, he gets more than Rigsby, postmistress Gwen had returned from her earlier visit, only for Fred to sweep her off her feet as she’s under the mistletoe, leaving Rigsby to enjoy his pineapple chunks…with double cream.
Postmistress Gwen – Helen Fraser
Gwen’s a caring, good-natured postwoman who’s always concerned that she never has anything to deliver to Rigsby’s house. She’s seen him at the window longing for her to come to the door and, finally, during this Christmas season she has a card to deliver, even if it’s sent from Rigsby to himself!
Invited in by Rigsby, he offers her a festive drink which she accepts, she normally never drinks when she’s working for the Royal Mail and/or riding her bike. Finding out she’s unmarried, Rigsby ushers her to the mistletoe but Gwen’s not having any of it, she’s still on duty, in uniform, and this contact could be classed as tampering with the Royal Mail!
On reflection, Gwen felt her actions were a little prudish so she returns to see Rigsby later in the day, out of uniform, and under the mistletoe. Rigsby’s too busy rinsing his mouth to notice Fred, the milkman, who takes the opportunity to, well, take Gwen.
Maybe next year, Rigsby…
This Questionnaire with Helen took place in 1995:
Was acting your inaugural career choice? Yes. Stage School, from the age of nine.
What do you consider to be your most memorable performance? Barbara in the film ‘Billy Liar!’
Which actors/actresses do you most admire? Judi Dench / Meryl Streep / Anthony Hopkins.
Who are your heroes / role models? Fred Astaire / Ethel Merman / Cicely Courtneidge
How did you first become involved in Rising Damp? When asked to be in the Christmas Special as postmistress. Later to appear in another episode with Joan Sanderson and John Quayle ‘Pink Carnations’.
Had you seen any of the early episodes? Yes
What were your thoughts about acting alongside such a highly talented cast? Had you worked with any of them previously? Absolutely delighted. Yes, Frances de la Tour I knew from the RSC. Leonard Rossiter from the film ‘Billy Liar!’.
What did you enjoy most about Eric Chappell’s scripts? Wonderfully funny without losing reality.
Do you have a favourite episode? My Christmas Special
What special moment with the cast will remain with you always? Great laughs on set and off.
Do you still watch the repeats or do you have them on tape? Yes
What are your plans for the future? To keep making audiences laugh.
Lucy – Elizabeth Adare
A smart, intelligent lady, Lucy’s arrival to the house on Boxing Day was always going to cause confusion and hysteria, mainly due to Rigsby thinking she’s a late Christmas gift from Philip, he’s already received bath salts so this is quite the gift! Alas, Lucy’s Philip’s girlfriend and she’s travelled down from Northampton to spend Christmas with him, not Rigsby, with a hope of renting a room for a few days.
Series 3, Episode 1
That’s My Boy
Radio Announcer – Daphne Oxenford
RIP: Dec 21, 2012 Aged 93
Is heard presenting a children’s show on the radio. Rigsby’s tuned into her show in the hope he can keep Mr & Mrs Brent’s baby occupied until they return. An enthusiastic, joyful narration means Rigsby is getting quite the work out entertaining the little one, with hand puppets and all!
Series 3, Episode 3
Mr French – Derek Francis
RIP: March 27, 1984 Aged 60
Mr French is a magistrate who was involved in a collision with a white sports car. Unfortunately, the owner did not stop and Mr French has tracked down a location where he thinks the owner lives. Once at Rigsby’s, Philip informs him that yes, the white car resides here and to call back. When he does, Rigsby tells him there is no car, he’s hiding it under a sheet! The sheet falls and Rigsby informs Mr French that he will notify him as to who the owner is. Mr French calls back to find Rigsby has already offered Alan the car, knowing he’ll take full responsibility for the accident, not Rigsby. But Mr French confesses, the white sports car had the right of way and now wishes to pay Alan for the inconvenience and minor damages, 10 pounds should cover it.
Peppery Man – James Bree
RIP: Dec 1, 2008 Aged 85
(See the episode review of Clunk Click for more information on the deleted scene)
An angry motorist who was so livid with the way Rigsby was driving that he followed him back to his house. As the recording of this episode ran over, the scene was sadly cut although the Peppery Man is still scene on the end credits.
Caroline Armitage – Judy Buxton (see tenants page)
Series 3, Episode 4
The Good Samaritans
Samaritan – John Clive
RIP: Oct 14, 2012 Aged 79
The pipe-smoking Samaritan has been called to the house after Rigsby found a letter from Mr Gray, threatening to end it all. He’s a little late as he was called to a man who threw himself into the canal, only to land in two feet of water but he cut his leg on a pram in the way in.
Confusion arises when the Samaritan arrives at Ruth’s door, only to find her with her head in the oven. A caring, considerate and somewhat overfriendly Samaritan, he listens to Ruth’s concerns only to find they’re not about her health and mental well-being but more about her gas supply!
Rigsby made the call to the Samaritans and when found, the Samaritan thinks it’s Rigsby who needs supporting word, it’s his wild manic look that sounds the alarm. Regardless of the plight of Mr Gray, and the need for him to obtain treatment from the hospital, the Samaritan is still convinced that the stretcher from the hospital that’s just arrived is still for Rigsby!
Series 3, Episode 5
Douglas – Jonathan Elsom
The curate, Douglas, is paying Ruth a visit to rehearse their musical duet. Much to Alan’s annoyance, he will be singing and Ruth will be accompanying him on her recorder. Douglas is a confident perfectionist who enjoys Ruth’s fawning over his musical agility.
Douglas can hear hissing and he’s convinced its Ruth, not his breath control, but the hissing he hears is in fact Fawcett’s python! Rigsby’s convinced the python wouldn’t attack a man of the cloth but he’s not so sure that he’s immune from our hissing friend.
Series 3, Episode 6
The Cocktail Hour
Caroline Armitage – Judy Buxton (see tenants page)
Mrs Armitage – Diana King
RIP: July 31, 1986 Aged 67
Caroline’s snooty upper-class Mother, Mrs Armitage, is very influential in the town, she’s President of the Women’s Guild and her husband’s a property developer. She lives in a large house with a cattle grid, gravel drive and a six stone Labrador.
However, when she attends a cocktail party to celebrate her daughters engagement to Alan, it’s left to a somewhat hyper Rigsby to break the upper class façade, reminding everyone that Mrs Armitage is remembered as Mavis Bagworthy, who used to ride around on her father’s rag-and-bone cart wiping her constantly runny nose with her sleeve, leading to her nickname of silver sleaves!
Series 4, Episode 1
Hello Young Lovers
Father – Robert Dorning
RIP: Feb 21, 1989 Aged 75
The father of Lorna is a blustery old-fashioned, cane wielding gentleman, with an angry temper and a selection of firearms, who just wants the best for his young daughter. The first thing he wants is for Lorna to finish her degree before settling down with a young man. That young man, Robin, is the unknown lover of Lorna and, if it wasn’t for them booking a room at Rigsby’s, he would never have found out. Miss Jones felt it her duty to inform him that they were together.
The angry Father takes a long drive and drops in on them, only to find Rigsby in their room who he suspects to be the lover and tries to attack him, Philip restrains the father, only for the father to think it’s now Philip’s who’s the lover!
Turns out Robin’s the best of the bunch according to her father, he’s made an old man, very, very happy! And they’re off to discuss wedding plans.
Series 4, Episode 3
Mr Snell – Andrew Sachs
RIP: Nov 23, 2016 Aged 86
Mr Snell from Hargreaves Solicitors is a bowler hatted, matter of fact, bespectacled layer, here to see Mr Rigsby on a confidential, personal matter. Rigsby believe he’s from the council though, questioning him on the local infestation of rats!
But, to Rigsby’s surprise, he’s actually here to inform Rigbsy of his late Uncle Geoge’s estate. Rigsby gets the residual to the tune of 50,000 pounds! Mr Snell advises Rigsby to call into the office to discuss the use of the money.
However, Mr Snell returns with some bad news, it appears George Rigsby never paid any income tax so all the residue goes to the Inland Revenue to pay off the debt!
Veronica – Avis Bunnage
RIP: Oct 4, 1990 Aged 67
Rupert Rigsby was married to Veronica, “I was a beautiful girl before HE got hold of me.”, she notes, a true cockney, snared by Rigsby after a wartime romance on VJ night. Rigsby enthuses that the Japanese weren’t the only ones to surrender that night! Rigsby compares her looks akin to Walter Pidgeon, not Greer Garcon, the woman he was meant to marry. Veronica’s a tough old boot with a robust sense of humour who talks and smokes simultaneously with a heavy bronchial cough, it was a marriage of long spells of boredom followed by short bursts of violence. They used to spend their anniversaries with a slap-up dinner, Champagne, the lot…… separate hotels though. Veronica now lives in Cleethorpes and is only to be seen again when the late George Rigsby passes away, turning up to try and gain a share of the residue. She’s in for another surprise when she finds out there’s nothing left, and Rigbsy’s booked her a train ticket to return to Cleethorpes!
Aunt Maud – Gretchen Franklin
RIP: July 11, 2005 Aged 94
Aunt Maud visits the house during Veronica’s visit, as she’s one of the executors of Uncle Geroge Rigsby’s will. A sour, hard of hearing Aunt, Maud’s always suspicious that Rigsby’s hiding something from her, she’s never trusted him, a shifty little devil who she couldn’t abide, just like his mother. She thought Rigsby’s marriage to Veronica would never last, the wedding cake collapsing was the first bad omen.
Aunt Maud informs Rigsby that she wouldn’t be next in line to receive any money, should Rigsby not get it, it’s going to the dog home!
Series 4, Episode 4
BRIDE – Helen Fraser
The Bride and Groom, now Mr & Mrs Smedley, have hired their local drinking spot, The George, for their wedding reception.
The bride is left waiting for guests to arrive at the reception when Rigsby presents himself, thinking she’s his blind date because she wearing a matching carnation. She’s only been married for an hour and now Rigsby’s trying to coerce into leaving with him.
The confused dialogue between them is overheard by her husband, who’s racked with jealousy and suspicion. The bride storms off leaving the groom in a similar state of confusion with the other half of Rigsby’s blind date, Ruth! For she too is wearing her carnation and so is the groom. The bride returns to hear a similar conversation and is now suspicious of his intentions.
Her mother always said she had her doubts about him, obsessed with ‘it’ she said, the over eagerness to kiss the bridesmaids didn’t go unnoticed!
And so, the bride and groom patch up their insecurities and misunderstandings, off to Majorca for their honeymoon.
Barman – Roy Barraclough
RIP: June 1, 2017 Aged 81
He looks after the bar at The George, an establishment used for Mr & Mrs Smedley’s wedding reception. The barman is there to keep an eye on proceedings, tested by the visit of one Rupert Rigsby, intent on taking advantage of the barman’s service. Annoyed by his residence, the barman is happy to finally eject Rigsby when his antics plan on disrupting the Smedley’s wedding reception.
Groom – John Quayle
The newly married groom (Mr Smedley) finds his new wife in conversation with Rigsby, confusion occurs when Rigbsy thinks she’s the other half of his blind date, they’re both wearing carnations. After threatening to deal with Rigsby’s exploits, the bride runs off upset as careless words are thrown at each other. The groom ends up in more hot water when Miss Jones suspects he’s the other half of her blind date, again, it’s the carnation they’re wearing!
Mother – Joan Sanderson
RIP: May 24, 1992 Aged 79
The mother arrives at The George as part of the reception party. After offering the groom some much needed advice on the trials and tribulations of marriage, she’s sent over to Rigsby to address his actions, whereupon Rigsby, yet again, mistakes her to be his blind date.
Series 4, Episode 6
Come On In, The Water’s Lovely
Ron Rigsby – Brian Peck
Ron Rigsby shows up to be Rigsby’s best man, they haven’t seen each other for years. They fell out one Christmas where Rigsby attacked him with a drumstick, Ron now lives in Acrington. A furtive, shifty, criminal-type character who’s always ‘finding’ things since he was 10. Like the Wedding ring he gave Rigsby, a huge cluster of ruby’s and diamonds “…like a bird’s egg!” Once he was found at the back of the Midland bank, halfway up a ladder. He said he was looking for a chiropodist!
It’s just a shame he didn’t find the right church where the wedding was happening, he drove Rigsby to the wrong one! Just as well, as Miss Jones couldn’t go through with it anyway.
Mother – Fanny Rowe
RIP: July 31, 1988 Aged 75