Oh…Miss Jones!
CAST & CREWCAST, MAIN CHARACTERS & CREWROOMS TO RENT

THE TENANTS: Did I mention the rent?

TENANTS OF RIGSBY’S RANK RESIDENCE INCLUDE….

MISCELLANEOUS (mentioned but not seen)
  1. There was an Indian tenant who was forever cooking ‘exotic’ cuisine. He used to arrive at the boarding-house with 24 friends, all piled into a single taxi. He left owing a month’s rent. Whilst off on a day trip to Boulogne, Rigsby made sure that on their return he wouldn’t let them back in again.
  2. Some chap, possibly a friend of Rigsby’s, who stayed at bleak house but he was always having black-outs – maybe just as well. Once, he came-too after a black-out, holding a black chiffon nightie outside Marks and Sparks!
  3. There was also another tenant, who previously had Alan and Phil’s room, they were always jumping in and out of their cupboard whenever Rigsby was around. He spent more time in there than he did in the room!
  4. Another quiet, suicidal tenant, similar to Mr Gray, who climbed out on top of the roof and started dancing about in his underpants. He was out there all afternoon complaining about the Labour government. In the end he jumped off, landing on the vicar, who broke his fall!
  5. A young student-type occupied one of the rooms. They were always studying like Phil and Alan. He made a spy-hole in the floor to look down into Miss Jones’s room. One night the floor gave way and covered Miss Jones in plaster! Needless to say Rigsby dealt with him very quickly.

FEATURED TENANTS

Below is a complete list of main tenants, along with a brief profile, for all those who had the (mis)fortune of staying at Rigsby’s. Memories from the actors are also shared.
Links are included to the actors’ biographies/filmographies and sadly, where applicable, to their obituaries.

SERIES 1

SPOONER

Played by Derek Newark
RIP: Aug 11, 1998 Aged 65

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Series 1, Episode 2
Episode: A Night Out
And
Series 1, Episode 4
Episode: All Our Yesterdays
An all-in wrestler whose nickname is ‘The Animal’ is also an ex-RAF pilot for the Red Devils, dropping from 3000ft to land on a six pence without as much as a sprained ankle, with hands trained to kill. Strange then that such a feared tenant to the household has a harmless, tranquil Goldfish as his pet, as well as having a fear of the dark! Even now, he gets dizzy just stepping off the pavement. Fastidious about his appearance and personal hygiene, he adores clothes and won’t stand for anyone borrowing them. The last person to do so was tied up in a knot!
Therefore, Rigsby and Alan had better watch their backs as they have taken to rooting around in his classy clothes to wear for a special occasion, a night out at The Grange. Defying the might of the German army and the perils of 56 parachute jumps, he cannot defy Rigsby’s mangy cat, Vienna who, one night, took shelter and warmth on the stairs and sent Spooner tripping over like a sack of potatoes.
Bed-sit ridden with a throbbing broken leg, he is drinking, listening and singing to radio Luxembourg all night and depriving Ruth of her beauty sleep. Rigsby, or ‘That skinflint!’ according to Spooner, better watch out, the last fellow who complained about his singing got snapped, just like a twig.
Spooner has had to put his wrestling career on hold until his next bout in Wolverhampton, and he’s also unable to venture out to his favourite restaurant ‘The Grange’, just as well for Rigsby and Alan who had their run in with him last time they borrowed his clothing. So, he’ll be irritating the tenants from his bed-sit for some time and, for Vienna, that’s a lucky break! And what became of his goldfish? Don’t ask Alan, or Vienna!

SERIES 2

Brenda

Played by Gabrielle (Gay) Rose

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Series 2, Episode 4
Episode: Moonlight and Roses
And
Series 2, Episode 6
Episode: Last of The Big Spenders
And
Series 2, Episode 7
Episode: Things That Go Bump in The Night
And
Series 2, Episode 8
Episode: For The Man Who Has Everything (Xmas Special 1975)

Introducing the young, attractive, forthright, free spirited, buxom, Brenda. For a while she replaces Miss Jones as the focal point of Rigsby’s desires – and young Alan’s – after she is brought into the house by Alan in ‘Moonlight and Roses’. It was  Alan’s idea that he could obtain Miss Jones’ room for her, when she departed with Desmond. An artist’s model, yes… a nude! she models for the local art group in town.
Once, her previous landlord found out about this and tried it on, the reason why she left, took Alan’s recommendation, and came to this shoddy house. As Brenda says, “Some people think just because I take my clothes off for a living they think they can take advantage.”
She enjoys an evening out at the flicks with Alan and a visit to the local pub where she eats like a horse, “I eat and eat”, and drinks pints, much to Alan’s delight, “Eh…d’you hear that? she drinks pints! “. Brend’ enjoys a good relationship with Alan and helps to cure his prickly heat by giving him what it is that brings him out in it! Phil thinks Alan’s wasting his time with Brend’, he thinks she’s for the more experienced man and Alan wouldn’t be able to keep up. Well, he’d be right, young Brenda certainly knows her way around the one tracked mind of most men….and Alan wouldn’t stand a chance!
Rigsby’s also got his eye on her, and her top button! With his artistic bent, he wants to get her down on canvas, or the new furniture, she’s so warmly taken to oh, and Rigsby’s wallet. Apparently he’s quite able to admire the female form without trying to fling his leg over it. Brenda’s evidently quite apprehensive of the sexually frustrated landlord and does her best to give him the cold shoulder but he’s far more interested in the other parts of her anatomy.
Rigsby: “l have a responsibility. I’m the landlord….This is a respectable house!“
Brenda also appeared in ‘The Last of the Big Spenders’ and ‘Things That Go Bump in the Night’, as well the Christmas Special, ‘For the Man Who Has Everything’, which rounded off the second series.) 

DESMOND

Played by Robin Parkinson
RIP: May 7, 2022 Aged 92

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Episode: Moonlight and Roses
Series 2, Episode 4
Desmond, an intelligent man, doted on by his mother, he has prose and poetry flowing through his veins. He works at the local library which is where he met Ruth.
They are smitten with each other, Ruth’s changed her hairstyle, worn an extra dab of scent, and they’re always seen holding hands out, even in restaurants, they can’t keep their hands of each other. With the whole book of English verse behind him, Desmond’s romantic vocabulary has Ruth all unnecessary, she’s besotted with the spectacle wearing Desmond who sends her fresh flowers every day. He’s inspired by Ruth, describing her features in intimate detail, and she can’t help but feel his knee trembling as he builds to a crescendo, it does so every time things gets serious.
And it is serious, he has a flat lined up for the both of them and he’s proposed with a diamond ring, and she’s accepted!
As much as Rigsby tries to convince Desmond that Ruth’s not the woman he thinks she is, it won’t work, Desmond’s taking her away to start a new life.
Sadly, there were no wedding bells, Ruth left Desmond to return to Rigsby’s, there was someone she just couldn’t forget in the house…and it wasn’t Rigsby!
Robin Parkinson…Memories of Rising Damp
‘Rising Damp was indeed a classic and I felt very honoured to have made an appearance in a series which I have no doubt will be shown again and again throughout the years. The cast were a joy to work with’.

Charles SEYMOUR

Played by Henry McGhee
RIP: Jan 28, 2006 Aged 76

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Series 2, Episode 5
Episode: A Perfect Gentleman
Charles Seymour has come to the boarding-house posing as a financial consultant, just in the surrounding area. Though it has to be said he spends most of his time in the bathroom, in there for hours sometimes, reading the Financial Times according to Rigsby, checking the price of the Krugerrand. Rigsby thinks he’s a financial wizard, especially when he advises him to invest in oil production in the Pennines, not even Merlin could make that happen!
Seymour though is nothing more than a crook, a professional pick pocketer and confidence trickster. He is even borrowing money for the gas meter, and the use of Philip’s bar of soap. He then proceeds to inform Rigsby he’s from a middle-class background from an old and prestigious family.
As a youngster, he attended public school in Oxford. He was an alleged RAF, Spitfire, fighter pilot “Ugh! Brylcream boy.” according to Rigsby, scared of heights the lot of ‘em. He alleges he spends most of his time playing golf with the Mayor in an exclusive Masonic club.
After the war he spent 20 years in Africa to help break down the ethnic boundaries, where all the thanks he got was, ‘… the natives peed in the drinking water.’
After attempting to steal from the Rigsby household the ‘great white hunter’ attempts to sneak away to “Darkest Birmingham, white man’s grave.” with the takings, only to be caught red-handed by Phil. And low and behold, Rigsby professes to have been aware of his dodgy dealings throughout his stay,
Rigsby, “I saw through you mate!”
Henry McGhee…Memories of Rising Damp
“Working on Rising Damp was a very happy experience; it was the only time I worked with Leonard but he was very inspiring because he had enormous energy. It was great fun”

SERIES 3

Mr & Mrs Jim BRENT & Son (David)

Played by Ann Beach & David Baker
Ann
RIP: March 9, 2017 Aged 78

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David

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Series 3, Episode 1
Episode: That’s My Boy
Whilst Rigsby was on holiday in the Costa Brava, eating greasy food and, in his eyes, meeting greasy people, Alan has thrown caution to the wind and let out one of the rooms in the household. He’s already informed Mr & Mrs Brent that Rigsby hates children, let alone adults, and they can only stay until he comes back. Jim, the father, who Rigsby thinks the baby sees him as “Just a sailor with a big hooter.” is all-at-sea working in the Merchant Navy on the cross-channel ferry.
Whilst the mother is off to find some more permanent accommodation from the social security, little baby David “My word he’s certainly a boy…. fully equipped.” is left alone with Alan, whom Phil and Rigsby think is the father “It’s the nose!” Well, it’s the first time Phil’s not going to get the blame isn’t it! Miss Jones cannot see how Rigsby can throw them out. So, on her wish, Rigsby reluctantly gives in and now they’re all staying for as long as they like.

HILARY

Played by Peter Bowles
RIP: March 17, 2022 Aged 85

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Series 3, Episode 2
Episode: Stage Struck

Hilary, a ‘resting’ actor who’s claim to fame was nearly landing a part in ‘Oh Calcutta’ but unfortunately, he sprained his ankle and took a part in ‘I Claudius’ instead, wearing a stag’s head, running around squeezing grapes over people in an orgy scene!
A highly strung actor, Hilary was mentally scarred whilst performing in a full-frontal nudity scene due to heckling from the audience, with cries of “Where were you when they were handed out?” His career and talents were hounded from then on.
Wearing his striped apron, he enjoys cooking, soufflés a speciality, writing his new play, and giving enlightening poetry readings to the tenants. He’s a great admirer of young Alan especially his earing and hair “It’s your crowning glory…the way it cascades.” Hilary decides to cast him as ‘Slim’, more like “Podge!” according to Rigsby, in his new play, a psychological drama. With Rigsby being greeted as ‘Ducky’ in a foppish manner, he spreads the rumour that Hilary is “Not as other men…he’s one-of-them”, as limp as a Vicar’s handshake!
However, eventually taking over the part of ‘Slim’ from Alan, Hilary plays out a passionate love scene with Miss Jones, only to find that Hilary wasn’t all Rigsby thought he was…”He’s one of us! The dirty little swine!” With this intimate liaison with Miss Jones, it would come as no surprise to find that Hilary was moved on the following day, “Go on, get out of it. You’re not the first to be kicked out of ‘ere today.”
PETER BOWLES…Memories of Rising Damp

Courtesy of Richard Webber’s Celebration book.

“We were a double act in a panto called Hooray for Daisy! recalls Peter. ‘…my comedy timing was different from his; when it came to choosing a style which was right for our roles, we couldn’t end up agreeing and we had a tremendous argument. Even so, I enjoyed working with Len and we developed a great respect for each other.’ The experience of working with Rossiter put Peter in good stead when they met the set of Rising Damp. ‘When I arrived at the studios immediately that everyone seemed nervous of him. They kept warning me not to upset him because he was very particular. I’d always got on well with Len and by now we were old friends. When filming began, I started making suggestions about how scenes could be improved. Everybody seemed to duck for cover but, as I expected, he listened and we tried out my ideas. I could never understand why every- one was so nervous, because if you put forward a good idea which was worth trying, he would never dismiss it. ‘Len was a remarkable actor with a unique style. I remember his spring-footedness more than anything: it was as if he had springs in his shoes. His stylistic approach was very powerful and was something he was unaware of until later in his career, when he began exploiting it. He was a great actor’.

CAROLINE ARMITAGE

(A tenant? Maybe, we’ll never know if she bypassed Rigsby’s eyes and ears to stay with Alan, especially after the engagement.)
Played by Judy Buxton

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Series 3, Episode 3
Episode: Clunk Click
And
Series 3, Episode 6
Episode: The Cocktail Hour

(Although a different character was penned by Eric Chappell for this episode, Judy’s character was so successful that they decided to bring her back and continue the story with Alan)

Caroline Armitage first dated Alan when he came into a local coffee bar, throwing his car keys into the air to attract her attention, even though he only had a push bike. He parked it around the back of the bar so she didn’t find out.
Phil thinks she has a funny voice, like a ‘…cat sliding down a Blackboard’. That’s good breeding, Alan notes, but he’s more worried that he’s led Caroline to believe he has a car, only it’s currently out of commission…oh, and it’s actually Rigsby’s new sports car. The only problem is Rigsby doesn’t know Alan’s told Caroline it’s his, and he’s got plans to drive her to her parents for the weekend. Caroline’s friend, Howard, also has a super little sports car so Alan’s got serious competition.
Thanks to a mix up, Alan’s got the car for the weekend, and the girl, next time we see them they’re engaged so the sports car did the trick!
Caroline’s got class, she’s from a very influential family in the town, her mother’s President of the Women’s Guild and her father is a property developer. They own a large house with a cattle grid, gravel drive and a six stone Labrador who’s taken a shine to Alan (though he prefers they call him Guy), when it’s stopped dragging him around the house.
An only child, Caroline is used to the finer things in life, she’s got extensive knowledge of food, wine and music. A sensitive girl who’s opened Alan’s eyes to the fine things in life…and she’s not the type of girl who sticks chewing gum to the back of cinema seats, according to Alan. And one small detail Alan notes, she’s worth 52,000 pounds in shares and gilt edge!
Caroline and Alan were thrown out of the local cinema, likely for inappropriate behaviour. Even though their engaged, thanks to Rigsby, believe it or not, for loaning Alan 50 pounds to buy the ring, Caroline’s hanging on for the right time for anything like that, she needs to be sure. A date is arranged for Caroline’s mother to visit Alan’s humble abode, and meet his flatmates…including Rigsby.
Well, that’s all it takes, her mother meets Rigsby and after the truth of Alan is divulged, insults thrown and inappropriate touching, they leave the house, with Caroline giving Alan the ring back and the relationship is sadly over.
JUDY BUXTON…Memories of Rising Damp

This Questionnaire took place in 1996:

Was acting your inaugural career choice? Yes
What do you consider to be your most memorable performance? ‘Juliet’ in Romeo & Juliet for the RSC at Stratford
Which actors/actresses do you most admire? Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Maggie Smith, David Suchet
Who are your heroes / role models? Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis
How did you first become involved in Rising Damp? I can’t remember if I had to go for an interview but it was through my agent
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? No I hadn’t worked with any of them before, but I admired them all, particularly Leonard Rossiter. He was great to work with such a perfectionist.
What did you enjoy most about Eric Chappell’s scripts? They made me laugh
Do you have a favourite episode? They were all wonderful – I liked ‘Clunk Click’ – not just because I was in it. It was just very funny.
What special moment with the cast will remain with you always? Going to a wonderful Chinese restaurant in Leeds after the recording with Leonard and Richard.
Do you still watch the repeats or do you have them on tape? Yes, I watch the repeats – and I have my episodes on tape.

Mr GRAY

Played by David Swift
RIP: April 8, 2016 Aged 85

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Series 3, Episode 4
Episode: The Good Samaritans
On arrival to one of the more gloomier rooms at Rigsby’s, Mr Gray ensures the congenial landlord that he’s used to better things, “I hope I’m not going to regret this.” expresses Rigsby. Mr Gray’s not bothered about the surroundings, he’s not planning on a long stay, and besides he hasn’t any luggage with him, strange. For once then, Rigsby’s offered the perfect accommodation for a tenant! And, if there’s one thing to cheer him up, he’s in luck because there’s a good deal of sunlight that hit’s his room during the day. Of course, he will find an extra charge for this on his rent slip.
That kind of luxury isn’t free you know, oh no. Alan ensures Rigsby that it’s not just Mr Gray who’s a bit down hearted “Everyone get’s depressed when they see that room” Mr Gray used to run his own company, he “…reached the heights!”, wined and dined at the best restaurants, mingled with the fashionable and the famous and was married to a caring, loving wife. What more could he want? Well, a mistress for starters. He liaised with a stunning mistress who robbed him of all his money and left him with a pile of debts to clear, enough to sink a ship in fact, and now his suicidal tendencies have taken over.
With all Mr Gray’s talk of leaving and his ever-growing depression, “The whole worlds against me!”, Rigsby thinks he’s emigrating!? Not even the dulcet tones of Miss Jones can persuade him not to do the deed, and he ends up on the roof threatening to jump. At least Rigsby will not have to throw him out, he’s getting’ out himself, once and for all! Alas, Mr Gray see’s sense and decides to come in to patch his life up “I’m sorry to have put you through that Mr Rigsby.”
DAVID SWIFT…Memories of Rising Damp
‘As you can imagine they were a great team to work with and we had a lot of fun in the episode I did. I did go on to star in a sitcom with Richard called ‘Bloomers’, which was just about to go into its second series when Richard so tragically died.
Leonard was some sort of acting genius and I don’t think Richard was very far behind. He brought his own disarming, cheery, mildly sardonic personality into his work in a very truthful way and I am quite sure his loss to British comedy was immeasurable because he still had so much to give.’
‘I think a manic-depressive in comedy is always fun to play. People who know nothing else about my career always seem to have watched that episode of Rising Damp.’
‘It was pretty clear through the writing how the character should be played. With comedy you take a particular characteristic of the personality and exaggerate it, but you’ve got to choose the right one.’
‘To work with Leonard was such a privilege because he was a genius. He knew what he wanted, and for someone so exceptionally talented he was surprisingly restrained. I’ve worked with other star actors who can take over, dominate and tell you exactly what to do. Leonard wasn’t like that. He knew what he wanted to get from something but wasn’t overbearing, and was a delight to work with.’
‘It’s comedy for all time, it’s wonderful. There’s so much interaction between those extraordinary characters; it could almost have been recorded on a blank set because it would still have been hysterically funny. It was television at its very best.’

MARILYN

Played by Andonia Katsaros

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Series 3, Episode 5
Episode: Fawcett’s Python
An ageing performer who is reluctant to let on about her line of work, sleeping most of the day and staying out late at night. Rigsby and the rest of the household thinks she’s ‘on the game’ and Miss Jones believes the moral climate of the house has taken a turn for the worse. Marilyn is, however, an artistic dancer; well alright then, an erotic dancer, “You mean she takes her clothes off?” a naive Alan remarks. She works alongside her partner, Charlie, a beautifully marked, non-venomous snake. At a previous house, Charlie used to drop onto the previous landlord and then ate the neighbours garden gnomes! Well, she will insist on playing with-him in the garden! It won’t come as any surprise that Marilyn and Charlie were told to leave.
Although she had talent and could have been a Classical performer, only she grew/developed too much, as it were. Parading around the house in only a flimsy negligee and sunbathing topless in the garden, she has already taken a fancy to young Alan. With her painted toe-nails and heavy eye-shadow it’s no wonder Rigsby’s taken a shine to her too, as well as her windows. He’s cleaned them three times in a week, inside and out! and already ‘he’s twice fallen out of the apple tree trying to peer into her room.
Rigsby’s more concerned with Miss Jones’s concern for the moral climate than with rent, for a change, so he moved her on quickly after he mistook Charlie for Philip’s fake snake and got bit, “I’ve got Miss Jones to consider.” More than an overbearing landlord to his tenants, he’s also concerned and/or jealous with impressionable young minds around the house.
ANDONIA KATSAROS…Memories of Rising Damp

Courtesy of Richard Webber’s Celebration book.

‘When my agent called and said they wanted me to play an erotic snake dancer I couldn’t help but laugh, but I jumped at the chance of appearing in the show because I thought Leonard was wonderful. Working with him in rehearsals was very interesting because he was like an electric typewriter: you never knew when the scene ended because he would just go on – he was so full of energy.’
‘Sometimes you feel a little uncomfortable (as a new artist), but Rising Damp was great, and Leonard Rossiter always made me feel part of the group’, says Andonia.Playing an erotic dancer meant Andonia had to work with a rubber snake, but trying to make it look realistic was no easy feat.

OSBORNE

Played by Roger Brierley
RIP: Sept 23, 2005 Aged 70

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Series 3, Episode 7
Episode: Suddenly at Home
Osborne has been given the compact and bijou surroundings of the dark and dismal basement. Even the mushrooms aren’t very good from there this year and even the coalman mistook it for the cellar and engulfed poor Osborne in nutty slack. Single, middle-aged, Ozzy, is forever taking pills for his chest pains and has a list of symptoms as long as your arm. His main worry though is his appointment at the local hospital “Oh…they don’t walk out of there very often.” for a delicate operation.
He’s under the knife for the ‘unkindest cut of all’ and, with a rare blood group, he’s wrought with tension. With all the worry, he’s gone and overdosed on the pills and if he hadn’t snored in the hospital, they would have been all set for major, open-heart surgery! As he has no family, Rigsby’s all set to be chief mourner.
With Miss Jones’ Christian charity in evidence, Osborne is served soup and pies for strength, much to Rigsby’s disgust ‘Half the trouble in this country is caused by tight underpants!’ With all his symptoms, it does not look like Rigsby’s going to have much more of it! And, he doesn’t want Miss Jones serving him up the dish of the day for much longer.
ROGER BRIERLEY…Memories of Rising Damp
‘I enclose a photograph, though, as its 18 years since “Suddenly, at Home”, I’m barely recognisable as the long-haired hypochondriac so mocked by Rigsby, as I discovered seeing the repeat last Friday!’ 1995
‘If you see Eric Chappell, give him my regards – a terrific writer’
‘It was a very good episode. The script was great and the character wonderful to play I just wish I had that much hair now!’
‘So, I’ve survived 25 years since Suddenly at Home!’ 2002
Another interesting story, shared by Roger with Richard Webber for his Celebration book, is that of Roger travelling to the recording of this episode after his wife gave birth to their son. Roger finally arrived at the studio after a frantic race to get their as late-night trains to Leeds no longer ran. With the aid of a friend, he reached the Yorkshire TV studios on time. After the recording Leonard Rossiter shared Roger’s story with the audience, bringing in his characters storyline, Osborne, who was due to have a vasectomy, removing his ‘firing-pin’. Leonard pointed out to eh audience that unlike Osborne, Roger doesn’t need to worry about lead in his pencil because Roger has just had a son who was born last night. A wonderful gesture from Leonard to Roger, and I’m sure his son shares this story of receiving a round of applause for his birth.

SERIES 4

LORNA AND ROBIN (The Young Lovers)

Played by Deborah Watling & Alun Lewis
Deborah
RIP: July 21, 2017 Aged 69

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    Alun

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Series 4, Episode 1
Episode: Hello Young Lovers
Lorna, alias ‘Tiggywinkle’ and Robin, ‘Squirrelnutkin’, are a young, unmarried couple who Rigsby and Ruth believe to have been just married. Though Lorna and Robin have agreed not to tie-the-knot, Rigsby’s on hand to give some helpful first night advice. He’s seething with disgust when he finds out they’re not married and were planning to use one of his rooms for…well, y’know, a bit of how’s yer father. “Under my own roof as well.”, Rigsby can’t believe the nerve of it.
Rigsby’s father would have had a fit if he’d known this kind of thing would be happening, “..mind you, I might have known they weren‘t married…thought they were too happy.” Anyway, Lorna’s father would hit the roof if he found out his daughter was in a relationship, he wants her to get a good education before any of that sort of thing happens.
But when her father shows up and thinks Rigsby’s the boyfriend, let alone Phil, he’s more than happy, if not relieved, to find that Robin’s the lucky man and decides to treat them all to dinner.
DEBORAH WATLING…Memories of Rising Damp
‘I was a great fan of ‘Rising Damp’, I adored Leonard Rossiter, Richard Beckinsale & Frances de la Tour. So, you can imagine my delight and excitement when I was offered the part of Lorna in ‘The Young Lovers’.
We rehearsed in a scout hall in Chiswick, London – I have to admit I was slightly nervous and of course “in awe”. There was no need to be – I was welcomed into “the family” immediately.
Dear Richard Beckinsale had passed away and Don Warrington was the new character.
I made friends with all of them. Frances & I were so very different in every imaginable way – but we struck up a great friendship. Don was nice – even took me out to dinner once! Leonard was Leonard – he was unique – what a nice man. I was very sad when he died – what a waste.
I shall always remember “The Young Lovers” with great affection.
Of course, we mustn’t forget dear Bob Dorning.’

Gwyn Williams

Played by John Clive
RIP: Oct 14, 2012 Aged 79
Series 4, Episode 2
Episode: Fire and Brimstone
A mature, Welsh, theological student who has come to stay and study at the local college, just a stone’s throw from the dignified grey building… the Abattoir. Rigsby’s attempting to make him share with Philip … “a challenge for ya”, insists Rigsby, in the dingy upstairs bed-sit, and he has to pay four weeks rent, in advance, for the privilege. He lives a very simple existence with the Bible “Ahh… the Good book.” as his constant companion, as Rigsby allegedly did throughout the war, well that and a deck of cards.
Though Rigsby’s desperate for him to stay and bring a helping hand to the lonely, frustrated tenants, he sees this as Gwyn’s opportunity “…a chance to work with young minds.” Well, that and the money of course, of which he continually reminds Gwyn. A member of The Primitive Church of First Day Witness, he is very strict and does not tolerate drinking, gambling, smoking, bawdiness or fornication. Well, would you believe it, there is not many of them “I’m not surprised.” exclaims Rigsby.
He prays every night at his bedside and sings hymns throughout the house and even in the toilet. Well, there’s no lock is there! Miss Jones falls for his Welsh dialect and Bible readings until her advances become too much for Gwyn’s beliefs, “Jezebel! I cannot stay in this den of iniquity!” he announces, and Rigsby couldn’t be more chuffed with the loss of competition, advising Gwyn of his next step, “Well get out then….”
JOHN CLIVE…Memories of Rising Damp

The late John Clive was very supportive of my project when I was doing my initial research in the 90s, he wrote to me on several occasions to see how things were progressing, even offering up a possible publisher to release the magazine.

I’m delighted to see that you are going to endeavour to create a magazine devoted to RISING DAMP…….’Oh Miss Jones…!’ You have a fine subject for such a project. I wish you every success with it and if there’s anything I can do to help, then get in touch. I had worked with Richard Beckinsale on two occasions before RISING DAMP and he had been a joy to work with. Self-effacing, mild mannered, never uptight, and whenever he got in front of the camera this wonderful character emerged.’
‘They (scripts) were so well written; the words sprang naturally to the actor’s lips. And because they were fully embedded in the character’s he’d created. Just as important though was the structure of the storylines – there was always a story and the plotting never forgot the comic point. There was a poignancy in Miss Jones romantic and constantly frustrated dreams, and an understanding of how Rigsby was the man character and circumstance had made him….
‘Of the two I was in I preferred the first in which I was mistaken by Miss Jones for a man who had come to mend the gas – when in fact I was from the Samaritans. My best scene was on the sofa with Frances de la Tour when she was making wonderfully funny advances towards me. She was a delight to work with….’
Yes I do (watch them), if I notice they are on, and the pleasure grows and grows…..’
‘I’d worked with Ronnie Baxter before, so he knew my work, and I loved playing the Samaritan. It was a delight to appear with Frances de la Tour, whose subtle performance complemented whatever you did. I thought the episode worked rather well, especially as Eric’s writing was so good: the scripts were extremely funny and proof of that is the fact that it’s stood the test of time; here we are twenty-five years later and it’s still going strong.’

AMBROSE

Played by Peter Jeffrey
RIP: Dec 25, 1999 Aged 70

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Series 4, Episode 5
Episode: Under The Influence
A bohemian-type who occupies the first floor flat adjacent to Ruth Jones. With ‘the gift-of-the-gab’, Ambrose possesses an eloquence of speech, he claims to have Romany blood in his veins but the only time he’s been in a caravan was for a week’s holiday in Cleethorpes. His wild claims of “I am a mystic… like the holy men of India…I m the seventh son of a seventh son I am. We have the gift”, but for all his claims, he’s left with a small stall in the market where he sells patent medicines and other paraphernalia such as tarot cards and sexometers.
His business begins to suffer badly, resulting in his rent arrears, when he sells a married woman a tonic to cure her lethargy. Instead of swallowing it, she rubs it on her scalp, with the result that all her hair falls out whilst she is in bed, and she is forced to sit up all night with her head in a bucket! Her irate husband, who woke up next to a billiard ball not his flamin’ red-haired wife, comes round to the boarding house the next day, and assaults Ambrose with a starting handle.
For once in his life Ambrose failed to see into the future, though Rigsby had a pretty good idea where he was going to shove the handle! Ambrose also claims to a be a mystic with the ability to tell fortunes and hypnotize people, much to Rigsby’s amazement “You couldn’t hypnotize our cat!”. Ambrose claims to have had great success with the latter by using it to remove people’s inhibitions. While attempting to hypnotize Philip, Ambrose puts Rigsby into a trance instead, regressing his mind subconsciously to his childhood days.
Rigsby manages to persuade Ambrose to attempt to hypnotize Ruth to make her more susceptible to his scant charms, but she proves to be impervious to mesmerism, Rigsby resigns himself, “Hypnotism… load of rubbish.”
Peter Jeffrey…Memories of Rising Damp
‘I’m happy to support your project (magazine), although I cannot contribute much in the way of copy. I shared a BRISTOL OLD VIC Season with Len (‘58 / ’59 I think) and we got on well together so I was pleased to be in one episode of Rising Damp with him later. I also taught him to play Squash – not much of a tutor obviously as he was soon able to beat me comfortably, playing with the thoroughness and passion that he brought to everything he attempted. I’m sorry I cannot be of more help, but I wish your venture every success.’

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