Kenneth Gilbert in CROSSROADS ATV 1981

Actor Kenneth Gilbert, best known for roles in Doctor Who, Edward VII and a recurring role in soap Crossroads (pictured) has died aged 84.

Born in Devon in 1931 he began his professional stage career in the late 1950s with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the beginning of a long and distingushed live theatre career. Other well remembered stints included Henry VI Parts I and II for the Old Vic in 1974 as well the Wizard in the RSC’s version of The Wizard Of Oz at the Theatre Royal, Bath in 1994.

He became a well-known face to millions of television viewers through a range of guest-roles and longer running parts. In 1953 he made his broadcasting debut in BBC TV’s The Heir of Skipton. Also in the fifties he made numerous appearances as different characters in The Granville Melodramas for the corporation.

In 1976 he played World Ecology Bureau official Richard Dunbar in the Doctor Who story The Seeds Of Doom with Tom Baker as The Doctor and Elisabeth Sladen as his time travel assistant Sarah Jane. Other guest stints for the BBC included police serials Z Cars in 1966, Softly Softly in 1968, political drama House of Cards in 1990 and most recently Hustle in 2011.

Gilbert however was a more frequent employee of ITV making appearances, often as characters of importance – doctors, solicitors, detectives…, in shows such as Thames Television’s drama Special Branch, ATV’s spy saga The Zoo Gang of 1974, ATV’s BAFTA-winning period drama Edward VII in 1975, court room tales in Granada Television’s Crown Court in 1976 and LWT’s sitcom On The Buses in 1973. His longest running regular role was that of Oliver Banks, well-off businessman and father of brummie Kevin Banks, in the long running ATV soap opera Crossroads. First appearing in 1981 he was a semi-regular until the mid-1980s. He had previously played a minor role in the saga in 1970.

Kenneth Gilbert 1931 – 2015

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