To some he will always be a Droog. To others, Dalziel. It’s a tribute to the acting abilities of Warren Clarke that he was able to inhabit such a diverse range of characters through his long career on screens both big and small. The actor has died at the age of 67.
After leaving school at 15, he initially worked as a copy boy at the Manchester Evening News and had dreams of being a footballer before the acting bug bit and he began performing in amateur dramatics at the Huddersfield Rep and the Liverpool Playhouse. The Oldham-born actor soon took to the small screen, getting his start on venerable soap Coronation Street and appearing in ITV series such as Play Of The Week and Playhouse before moving to a wide range of guest shots on TV series including The Avengers, Softly, Softly, The Sweeney and Minder, among many others.
He broke into film in 1969 with an uncredited role in The Virgin Soldiers, but first came to real notice playing Malcolm McDowell’s Droog cohort Dim in A Clockwork Orange, and later recalled working with director Stanley Kubrick. "If he thought your performance was false he would ask: 'Why are you doing that?' If you didn't have an answer, he'd shout at you. But I got on well with him and I would shout at him if I thought he was pushing us too hard.” Other film roles included O Lucky Man!, Antony And Cleopatra, Firefox, Hawk The Slayer, Lassiter and a standout, brutal role in football hooligan drama I.D. He’s also warmly remembered for his performance as Colonel von Horst in Top Secret!. On stage, he famously played Winston Churchill in Three Days In May.
But it was on TV that he really flourished, switching between Dickens and detective drama with ease, becoming particularly associated with grumpy, old school investigator Andy Dalziel in Dalziel And Pascoe. More recently, he appeared in the Red Riding trilogy and Call The Midwife and will be seen in the Poldark remake scheduled to air next year.
He’s survived by his second wife, Michele, son Rowan and daughter Georgia.