John Arnatt

British character actor John Arnatt was actually born in Russia in Petrograd just as the Revolution was about to break. His family left for England soon after and turned professional in 1936. It wasn’t until after the end of world war II that his career began in ernest though.

All too often seen in positions of authority such as a policeman or the like. One of his best roles was as Sidney Bulmer in the first two seasons of The Main Chance but as can be seen from the credits below he made appearances in many classic shows.

Arnatt was borm on 9 May 1917 and died 21 December 1999 at the age of 82.


1948: The Only Way (Play) as Marquis de Boulainvilliers
1948: Fly Away Peter (Play) as John Neilson
1948: At the Villa Rose (Play) as Harry Wethermill
1953: BBC Sunday Night Theatre: The Troubled Air as Emmet O’Neill
1954: Emney Enterprises Episode 1
1954: Colonel March of Scotland Yard: The Case of the Misguided Missal as Wesley
1955: ITV Television Playhouse: I Passed by Your Window as Detective Inspector Howard
1955: The Granville Melodramas: The Silver King as Captain Skinner
1955: The Star Without A Name (Play) as Grig
1955: London Playhouse: Fighting Chance as Finch
1955: Richard of Bordeaux (Play) as Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby
1955: BBC Sunday Night Theatre: A Dream of Treason as Airways Officer
1955: BBC Sunday Night Theatre: The Adventurer as Tom Roker
1956: ITV Television Playhouse: The Speed Kid as Kenneth Pyott
1956: My Friend Dane (Series) as Detective Inspector Dane
1956: BBC Sunday Night Theatre: The Lark as Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick
1956: The End Begins (Play) as Hugh Pakenham
1956: The Adventures of the Big Man: Rich Girl as Owen Carrigan
1956: For The Defence (Play) as Crawford
1956: The Other Man Episodes 5 and 6 as Harry Vincent
1956: ITV Play of the Week: I Killed The Count as Bernard K. Froy
1957: Sword of Freedom: The Woman in the Picture as Count Ugo
1957: The Trial of Mary Dugan (Play) as District Attorney Galwey
1957: The Indifferent Shepherd (Play) as Hugh Wigmore
1957: BBC Sunday Night Theatre: Our Town as Mr Webb
1957: BBC Sunday Night Theatre: Abe Lincoln in Illinois as Ninian Edwards
1957: Escape (Series) as Tom
1957: The Adventures of Robin Hood: The Challenge of the Black Knight as Sir Roger Fitzwilliam
1957: Dixon of Dock Green: Silver Jubilee as Inspector Dix
1958: Hunted (Play) as Doctor Hildo
1958: The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Series) as Duke of Albemarle
1958: The Royalty (Series) as John Andrews
1959: ITV Television Playhouse: Mr Browne Comes Home as Geoffrey Cooksley
1959: The Adventures of Robin Hood: The Devil You Know as Ralph
1959: The Last Chronicle of Barset (Series) as Mr Robarts
1959: H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man: The Big Plot as Lord Larry Peversham
1959: Armchair Theatre: A House of Own as Dr Lederer
1960: The Adventures of Robin Hood (Series) as Deputy Sheriff of Nottingham
1961: ITV Television Playhouse: Ben Spray as Daniel Hamilton
1961: ITV Play of the Week: Doctor Everyman’s Hour as Alec
1961: Deadline Midnight: Take Over as Pearce
1961: BBC Sunday Night Play: The Test as Superintendent Harding
1962: Sir Francis Drake: Visit To Spain as Duke of Cordova
1962: Sir Francis Drake: Court Intrigue as Spanish Ambassador
1962: Armchair Theatre: Night Conspirators as General von Schiltz
1962: Probation Officer: Season 4 Episode 12 as Ralph Cooper
1962: The Saint: The Arrow of God as Major Fanshire
1963: The Human Jungle: Time Check as Recorder
1963: The Plane Makers: Too Much To Lose as Peter Humphreys
1963-1964: Emergency Ward 10 (Series) 17 Episodes as Dr Fitzgerald
1964: Miss Adventure: The Velvet Touch Part 1
1964: Fire Crackers (Series) as Station Officer Blazer
1964: Sykes And A…: Sykes and a Bird
1965: The Airbase: Peace at Any Price as Air Commodore
1965: The Third Man: Man at the Top as Count Hager
1965: Dixon of Dock Green: The Fourth Finger as John Chiltern
1965: Z Cars: A Matter of Give and Take as Briggs
1968: Z Cars: Blame it on Father Christmas Part 1 as Frank Bowers
1969: Strange Report: Report 2493 – Kidnap: Whose Pretty Girl Are You? as Inspector Hughes
1969: Callan: Blackmailers Should Be Discouraged as High Commissioner
1969-1970: The Main Chance (Series) as Sidney Bulmer
1970: Take Three Girls: Variation on May and September a Doctor
1970: Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Could You Recognise the Man Again as Uniformed Inspector
1970: Steptoe and Son: The Three Feathers as Copeland
1972: Doctor In Charge: Doctor’s Lib as Dr Lanchbery
1972: Man at the Top: Don’t Rock The Boat as Ogilvie
1972: Thirty-Minute Theatre: The Seventh Juror as Coroner
1972: Softly Softly Task Force: On the Third Day as Chief Constable Daniels
1972: Pathfinders: Sitting Ducks as Wing Commander Alexander
1972: The Dick Emery Show: Season 11 Episode 9
1973: Barlow: Publicity as Chief Constable Daniels
1973: The Dick Emery Show: Season 12 Episode 4
1973: Special Branch: The Other Man as Denning
1973: Freewheelers (Series) as Hassell
1973: Thirty Minutes Worth: Season 3 Episode 2
1974: The Wide World of Mystery: Shadow of Fear
1974: Marked Personal: Season 1 Episodes 27 and 28 as James Lawrence
1974: Thriller: Sign It Death as Mr Robinson
1975: Crown Court: The Obsession Part 1 as Harold Gilman
1975: Doctor on the Go: Keep Your Nose Clean as Chairman
1975: Doctor on the Go: Clunk Click as Mr Edwards
1976: Harry (comedy short)
1977: The Cedar Tree: Rumour Part 1 as General Von Heynig
1977: The Cedar Tree: The Scapegoat Part 2 as General Von Heynig
1978: Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time as Borusa
1979: Turning Year Tales: Clubs as Cyril Muncaster
1979: Thundercloud: Bats in the Belfry as Vicar
1979: The Onedin Line: Storm Clouds as Mr Ramsden
1980: The Professionals: Blackout as Hamber
1980: Rings on Their Fingers: Ladies Man as Mr Taylor
1981: Shelley: Signing On as Thomas Humphries
1981: Wilfred and Eileen (Serial) as Major
1981: Kelly Monteith Season 3 Episode 2
1981-1986: The Kenny Everett Television Show (Series) 10 episodes across four seasons
1982: King’s Royal: Episode 3 as Sir James Spence
1982: Jackanory Playhouse: Ivan the Ninny as King
1982: Kelly Monteith Season 4 Episode 4
1983: The Cleopatras (Serial) as Sophron
1983: Don’t Wait Up Season 1 Episode 4 as Man at Cricket Match
1984: Tripper’s Day: Special Offers as Customer
1985: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple: The Moving Finger as Rev Guy Calthrop
1986: Bluebell (Series) as Pierre
1990: House of Cards (Serial) as Sir Jasper Grainger
1992: Covington Cross: The Persecution as Doctor
1993: Lovejoy: Lovejoy Loses It as Stanley Barton
1993: Alleyn Mysteries: The Nursing Home Murder as Nash
1993: Keeping Up Appearances: Looking at Properties as Sir Edward
1993: If You See God, Tell Him Episode 1 as National Telephone Grandad
1995: Dangerfield (Series) as Harry Campbell
1997: A Royal Scandal (TV Movie)
1999: Dad: Securidad as Mr Jarrold


1949: Meet Simon Cherry Uncredited role as Tommy
1950: Dick Barton at Bay as Jackson
1951: Cry The Beloved Country as Uncredited role as Prison Warder
1952: Evidence for Hire as Steve Harrison
1953: House of Blackmail as Pete Carter
1954: Forbidden Cargo Uncredited role as Customs officer
1957: A Novel Affair as Maurice Lamport / Martin
1960: The Bulldog Breed Uncredited role as Briggs
1961: No Love For Johnnie Uncredited role as BBC reporter Gregson
1961: The Impersonator as Detective Superintendent Fletcher
1961: Whistle Down The Wind as Superintendent Teesdale
1961: The Third Alibi as Superintendent Ross
1962: Only Two Can Play as Bill
1963: The Edgar Wallace Mysteries: The Set Up as Superintendent Ross
1963: Shadow of Fear as Sharp
1963: Dr Crippen as Inspector Dew
1964: Escape by Night as Inspector Croft
1965: Joey Boy as Brigadier Charles Chapman
1965: Hysteria as Mr James
1965: The 2nd Best Secret Agent in the World as Rockwell
1966: Where the Bullets Fly as Rockwell
1967: Our Mother’s House as Man Client
1967: A Challenge for Robin Hood as Sheriff of Nottingham
1971: Crucible of Terror as Bill
1973: Paganini Strikes Again as Inspector Mainwairing
1979: The Man From S.E.X as Merlin

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.