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From the last Mohican to M’

PUBLISHED: 12:37 23 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:16 11 August 2010

THE ACTOR who still sends audiences into gales of laughter with one line from Dad s Army, is bringing a wealth of experience to a moving play in Westcliff Philip Madoc in his 74th year is still packing them in during a tour of The Holly and the Ivy, a bea

THE ACTOR who still sends audiences into gales of laughter with one line from Dad's Army, is bringing a wealth of experience to a moving play in Westcliff

Philip Madoc in his 74th year is still packing them in during a tour of The Holly and the Ivy, a beautifully crafted play by Wynyard Browne, and will be at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff for three performances on Friday and Saturday, January 9 and 10.

"It is a lovely play that delves deep into family relationships," he said.

"I play an elderly vicar who is looked after by his daughter. He is comfortable with his life, but the errant side of the family descend on him for Christmas, and his sedentary world seems to collapse."

Calling for the full locker of acting skills, Philip follows a marvellous tradition of superb actors in the role, with Dermot Walsh and Tony Britton to name but two.

"It is a delightful role for an actor," he said. "The mix of comedy and seriousness is quite demanding yet very touching.

"It can be quite emotional and to add to the play, my character is not actually all he seems and suffers from the stresses and strains of a normal family life."

Philip Madoc has spent his life on stage and with a biography that runs into numerous pages; it is easier to ask what he has not done.

"You never ask an actor what he has planned for the future, but I must admit I have been kept busy in the past."

For those with a longer memory, Philip was Magua in the 1971 television epic 'Last of the Mohicans,' and even further back as the relentless SS Officer Lutzig in the 1969 Manhunt serial.

"Both the series put me in the public eye," he said. "I remember we filmed the Last of the Mohicans in Scotland, and people still remember it."

However, his most famous role to date is still regarded as a masterpiece of the actors' art. The BBC Wales drama, The Life and Times of David Lloyd George.

But it was as SS Officer Lutzig he is remembered but not from the Manhunt series.

"I was asked to do one episode of Dad's Army playing something similar to Lutzig," he said.

"It was a wonderful opportunity to play alongside such a fine bunch of actors, and it has turned out to be the one in all of the 81 episodes of Dad's Army, that is still hailed as the finite episode.

"It was a very good show, and I seem to remember enjoying it a lot, though at the time it did not occur to any of us that it would gain such reputation."

In fact the episode has become iconic and just about everyone remembers Philip as the U-Boat Captain captured by Arthur Lowe's Walmington on Sea platoon.

"It really was a one off," he said. "I was asking Ian Lavender his name for my report and Arthur bellowed out 'Don't tell him Pike'. Absolute classic writing."

With appearances in Dr Who's Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD, Philip has been seen on screen and film as well as stage in such a diverse set of roles from the Goodies, to Porridge.

The Holly and Ivy is touring the country and he is at present in Southport.

"We are all over the country with this one," he said. "Before Wesctliff the play is at Llandudno.

"At this time of year, touring can be quite a chore as you have to get from one theatre to the next, but in terms of enjoyment, it certainly does depend on the play."

But it would seem as if the venerable actor still has many roles to play as his name has been linked with the next 'M' in a James Bond movie.

"People have mentioned they have seen it, but no one has approached me," he said.

"But if asked, I would be delighted.

"If they are interested in me as an actor, then it is my idea of what 'M' should be, so yes, I would be terribly interested."

Philip Madoc is appearing with Zoie Kennedy, Corrine Wicks, Nathan Hannan, Paddy Glynn, Christine Drummond, Alan Leith and Tom Butcher.

Tickets for the Holly and the Ivy are from £10.50 to £23.50 and available from the box office on 01702 351135.


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