Retro Heaven

Death of Hywel Bennett

Hywel Bennett dies aged seventy three…

That the news of Hywel Bennett’s death took a week to become common knowledge seems to encapsulate much of what I regarded him as. He was one of those actors who I rarely thought about but when I saw him I was never disappointed, he seemed to drift in and out of my television viewing throughout the seventies and eighties and only last week I re-watched his appearance as Ricky Tarr in Le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

That classic series from 1979 starring Alec Guiness as Smiley was a masterclass in casting. I cannot think of a single character whose actor didn’t perfectly encapsulate Le Carré’s original idea and Hywel Bennett as Tarr was no exception. His role and what he gave to it deserves mention and remembering.

His first television appearance was in Dr Who in 1965 and he starred or performed in a number of television series and films. He was of course best known as the lead in the television series Shelley which ran from 1979 to 1984 and later The Return of Shelley 1988-1992. A brief part in EastEnders in later life reminded those of a certain age of Bennett’s wit and charm, he was that kind of actor.

There was something about him which seemed to encapsulate film and television of the late seventies and early eighties, I wish I could elaborate on that statement but I cannot, he just seemed to. His death is one of those that I felt should be acknowledged and recorded, it is a shame it took as long as it did to become newsworthy.

Hywel Bennett 1944-2017

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