Celebrities of Film, Television & Broadcasting
Jack Wild was born in Royton, Manchester on 30th September 1952,
and was discovered as a young lad by agent June Collins (mother
of drummer/musician Phil Collins). Wild
came to the attention of the public when he was selected to
appear in the leading role in the London stage production of
Lionel Bart's musical of Charles Dicken's "Oliver" .
Soon after, when the show was made into a movie, he was given
the role of The Artful Dodger, for which he received an Oscar
nomination as best supporting actor - a part for which he is
still probably best remembered. Based
on this success, in 1969 he was offered the lead role in an
American television series called "H.R. Pufnstuf" .
The instant success of this programme led to him being offered
the role for the film version in 1970. Other roles quickly followed
as he became a highly demanded character - these included "Melody"
and "Flight of the Doves" , both in 1971. Around
this period he also released three song albums: "The
Jack Wild Album", "Everything's Coming up Roses"
and "Beautiful World" . However, gradually he
was offered fewer and fewer leading roles and subsequently appeared
in lesser roles in plays and films, including "The Pied
Piper" and "Our Mutual Friend" in
1976. More recently, he had two small film roles - in Kevin
Costner's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" in
1991 and "Basil" in 1998. Unfortunately
alcoholism dogged him during the 1980s and cost him career prospects
and failing health. He has been alcohol-free since 1988 and
founded a support group known as Alcoholics Victorious .
Professionally, he has spent much of the last decade appearing
in plays on the British stage. Latterly,
Jack Wild lived in north London and died in 2006 having suffered
from mouth cancer for some time.
Violet Carson had a long and celebrated career as an actress
and performer during the early days of BBC radio and during
the latter decades of her life as the matron of British Television
soap operas playing the character of hair-net wearing Ena Sharples
in the long running "Coronation
She was born in German Street, Ancoats, in Manchester on 1st
September 1898. An accomplished pianist, she first appeared
in the Wilfred Pickles' radio show "Have a Go" during
the 1940s and 1950s. She was married at Manchester Cathedral
to George Peplow in 1926, but was widowed when he died in 1928.
In 1965 Violet was awarded the Order of the British Empire in
the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Her long and distinguished
career included many notable TV guest appearances including
in: "Mayberry RFD" in 1968 in which she played
the part of Amelia. In 1966 she appeared in "Batman"
playing the part of an old lady.
also appeared in "Bewitched" with Elizabeth
Montgomery in 1964, "The Monkees" in 1966 and
"The Girl from UNCLE" in 1967. From 1960 onwards
until her retirement in 1980 she was a regular stalwart of the
"Coronation Street" TV series. Violet
Carson died on 28th September 1983 in Cleveleys near Blackpool
Entertainer-comedian Ted Ray was actually born Charlie Olden
in Wigan in 1905 although his parents moved him to Liverpool
within days of his birth, and Liverpudlians tend to regard him
therefore as a local of their fair city. As a major radio personality
and comedian of the 1940s and 50s he regularly demonstrated
his extraordinary ad-libbing skills in his weekly radio show
"Ray's A Laugh" , which ran from 1949 until
1961. A much sought after music hall comedian, Ray usually played
the violin (badly) as part of his act. He also played straight
roles in several British films- notably as the lead as the headmaster
in "Teacher" . He also played in early "Carry
On" films. He
was, however, best remembered for "Ray's a Laugh" ,
which was a domestic comedy in which he was accompanied by Australian,
Kitty Bluett, who played his wife. Many later to become well
known actors and actresses cut their teeth on this radio show,
including Ted Yule, Patricia Hayes, Kenneth Connor, Peter Sellers,
Pat Coombs and Graham Stark 1940 and 1950 saw Ray as King Rat
of the Grand Order of Water Rats.
was a very keen and accomplished golfer who frequently appeared
playing with professional sportsmen. Later in his career Ted
Ray appeared together with Jimmy Edwards, Arthur Askey and Cyril
Fletcher in the comedy radio panel game "Does the Team
Think? ". He
never managed to break successfully into television, though
his son, Robin Ray, was a well known television personality
in the 1960s and 1970s, having initiated "Call My Bluff"
and other specialist classical music shows. Ted
Ray died in 1977.
Sarah Lancashire was born on the 4th of October 1964 in
Oldham, (then in Lancashire), the daughter of Geoffrey Lancashire,
who had been scriptwriter ion the early days of "Coronation
Street". Later, Sarah attended and graduated from the
Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1986. In 1985 she married
music lecturer Gary Hargreaves with whom she had two sons. They
were divorced in 1995 and Sarah subsequently was remarried to
Television Executive Peter Salmon in August 2001 with whom she
currently has one child, born at London's Portland Hospital
on the 26th March 2003. Sarah is was best known to the wider
public for many years as the character of Racquel Watts, which
she played in the TV series of "Coronation Street"
from 1991-1999. She had meantime acted in other television
dramas including "Where the Heart Is" and "Bloomin'
Marvellous" in 1997 and "The Verdict"
in 1998. In same that year she left the successful soap opera
to embark on a more varied career as an independent television
She has already built up a distinguished repertoire of appearances
including: in 2000, "Chambers", "My Fragile
Heart", "Seeing Red" and "Clocking
Off" ; in 2001, "Back Home", "The Glass"
and "Gentlemen's Relish" ; in 2002, "Birthday
Girl", "Rose and Maloney", "The Cry"
and "The John Thaw Story" ; "Sons
and Lovers" in 2003. Other notable television guest
appearances have included: "Comic Relief 2003: The Big
Hair Do", The Billy Connolly BAFTA Tribute in 2002,
"Top Ten Soap Queens" in 2002, "Murder
Most Horrid" in 1991, "Going Solo"
in 1999 and in "Watching" in 1987. In December
2006, she played a pivotal role in the latest television adaptation
of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist", and in
2009 in the latest television adaptation of "Wuthering
Heights". Other notable television performances were
in "South Riding" and "Lark Rise to
Candleford". In 2012 she took a leading role in the
television drama "The Paradise".