Monday, 16 November 2009

Edward Woodward

It was announced earlier today that Edward Woodward had died at the age of 79 years after a period of illness.

He was a consummate actor and singer who was probably most well known for his portrayal of the anti-hero CALLAN in the TV series of that name. What made David Callan (his character's full name) memorable was the fact that he was – besides being a 'fixer' and sometime assassin on behalf of an unnamed section of the British Security Services – a wargamer. For wargamers of a certain age this made wargaming look a bit less nerdy and a bit more macho and certainly changed public opinion about the hobby.

I was lucky enough to see the pilot episode for the series – A MAGNUM FOR SCHNEIDER – when it appeared on TV in February 1967, and I watched every episode thereafter. The pilot episode later went on to become the basis for the spin-off film entitled CALLAN. This featured an American Civil War wargame that was fought out on a beautiful created specially for the film by Peter Gilder. Peter also provided the figures, and it is rumoured that after filming Edward Woodward bought both the figures and the terrain for his own use.

Wargaming also featured in the episode entitled ACT OF KINDNESS, which was screened on Wednesday 27th May 1970. For personal reasons this was a memorable day for me, and whenever I watch this episode on DVD I do so with very fond memories.

Edward Woodward also starred in what I consider to be one of the more under-rated films about warfare, BREAKER MORANT. This dealt with the dark side of counter-insurgency warfare during the latter part of the Boer War.

He will be sorely missed by his many fans, of which I am one.

Edward Albert Arthur Woodward OBE
(1st June 1930 – 16th November 2009)
RIP

17 comments:

  1. Damnit Bob, you got there before me. As someone who is slightly younger than you I never saw Callan first time round (before my bedtime), but I caught the colour re-runs on Channel 4.

    I'm currently watching the DVDs of the final series (the one where Callan becomes Hunter & Lonely gets a taxi) which strangely enough is only available from Australia.

    There's only one colour programme not on DVD ("Wet Job"), but the black and whites are completely unavailable, although a lot of them are held at the BFI, I believe.

    A real classy actor. Callan is still the best spy show ever made

    ReplyDelete
  2. An absolute shame, a complete Gentleman. I agree Breaker Morant is one of the greatest movies ever made and it's Woodward's performance which frankly made the film what it is.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear all,

    I suspect that we are not alone in feeling the loss of this Gentleman.

    Lets us raise a metaphorical glass together to his memory.

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here's another "Callan" and Woodward fan.. you've said it all.. tanks guys...

    Cheers
    Robin

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can remember him presenting a six part series called The Wargame in the late seventies on ITV. Covering six wargames through periods of history to be fought over. Including Gettysburg where he made reference to the Callum episode.

    +1 about Breaker Morant.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mark,

    I never saw any of the episodes of BATTLEGROUND, and despite my attempts to find a recorded copy of any of the programmes, I have so far drawn a blank. I would love to have seen one or more of them but ...

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  7. He was an excellent singer too, as I recall.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm fondest of the Equilizer episodes.. his portrayal of King Saul, and the Crusade episode with him as Alwyn the technomage, playing opposite of his son.... may he remain in our memories and may his family know peace.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rest in peace Edward, I heard in heaven the scale of choice is 1:1 and the terrain is absolutely splendid!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dear all,

    The death of Edward Woodward seems to have triggered off a lot of recollections about this great (and often under-rated) actor.

    It is a pity that there is not likely to be any permanent memorial to him anywhere.

    He will, however, live on in our memories.

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  11. A week is a long time in the blog-o-sphere, but for those still interested I've posted some details on "Battleground" and a few pictures over at:

    http://wargaming4grownups.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  12. Trebian,

    I just picked up your blog entry on Google Reader, and I was about to make a comment on your blog myself!

    I knew about the BATTLEGROUND series, but have never met anyone who ever saw it. It is a pity that no copies seem to exist.

    I do have copies of the GAME OF WAR series (or 'Men in Cardigans' as I believe it was called by some people!) and was able to give Phil Sabin a copy of the programme that he appeared in!

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  13. The originals were lost in a fire in the archive, but I now have copies of 4 of the episodes I will do a write up in due course

    ReplyDelete
  14. John Curry,

    I never, ever saw the original programmes and would love to see them at some point.

    Are they good enough to form the basis of a possible COW session?

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete