Okay, we don’t know that much about Mr. Malahide, but here’s what we do know. Much of this has been gleaned from various sources on the internet, primarily and most notably “Patrick Malahide: An Actor’s Life” (cached version), which has done a fabulous job of compiling information about his life and career, and IMDB.com.
UPDATE Oct. 22, 2014: Links have been added for material we’ve reviewed since this page was first written, plus as much as we know about “Indian Summers” (2015).
UPDATE May 11, 2015: Link added for “Like Minds” as well as new information for “Indian Summers” and Mr. Malahide’s upcoming appearance in “Luther”.
He was born on March 24, 1945 to Irish immigrant parents in Berkshire County. From what we can tell, this gave him a remarkable ability to utilize both Berkshire and Irish accents as well as many others later in life. After university and a stint at teaching, he sold china door-to-door to U.S. Army families in Germany (imagine how delightful it would’ve been to have him show up at your door!). Then, in 1969, he became stage manager of the Byre Theatre in St. Andrews, Scotland. Fearless Admin has an excellent write-up of a short video in which Mr. Malahide discusses his time at the Byre. He worked there for two years, directed eighteen plays, and acted in many others. You can find a massive list of them here.
From there, he applied to be a director at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh, but was hired as an actor instead. He acted for six seasons there with major roles in productions ranging from Shakespeare to George Bernard Shaw to Harold Pinter, then began getting roles in series television which we would badly like to see but haven’t been able to put our hands on – series like “The Standard“, “The Flight of the Heron”, “John Macnab“, “The Mourning Brooch“, and “Eagle of the Ninth” (playing an intriguingly scruffy-looking Celt, Cradoc). His roles in other shows like “The New Avengers”, “Wings“, “The Professionals“, “The Sweeney“, and “Sweeney II” are easier to find online or on DVD.
(UPDATE Oct. 22, 2014: We’ve since seen “The Standard” and thought it was absolutely great. Now we want to see the rest of the series! Check out our review.)
“Minder” and D.S. Chisholm
1979 saw Mr. Malahide’s first appearance as D.S. Albert “Cheerful Charlie” Chisholm in “Minder“, to our unending delight. For his first couple of appearances, his role was very brief and he usually only appeared towards the end of the show; Chisholm’s character had not really been developed much beyond “copper” and “all-purpose antagonist” to Arthur Daley (George Cole) and Terry McCann (Dennis Waterman). He even had to provide his own wardrobe. However, the series writers liked what they saw and gradually began giving Chisholm more and more to do, including bestowing a Welsh D.C., “Taff” Jones (Meic Povey) upon him. He evolved from “all-purpose antagonist” into a character with more complex motivations and somewhat obsessive tendencies, although at other times he could be completely cool, collected, and professional – depending on what the writers wanted out of him, story-wise. Towards the end of “Minder’s” sixth season, Chisholm lost some of his complexity and became a bit more cartoony – more of a Wile E. Coyote to Arthur Daley’s Roadrunner.
Concurrent with his time on “Minder”, Mr. Malahide also appeared in several other series: “Danger UXB“, playing embittered RAF bomber pilot Mike Kelly; “Shoestring”, as a nameless, creepy photographer; “Into the Labyrinth” as King James, “Armchair Thriller“, tormenting Ian McKellen as a “Barkshar” police sergeant; “The Chinese Detective“, playing Jack Turner prototype Colin Bennett; “Educating Marmalade” as “Head Screw” McCrum; “The Black Adder“, as the charming and oh-so-polite highwayman Guy de Glastonbury (another of our favourites); and in the tantalizingly and annoyingly hard-to-find “Dear Enemy” as Dr. Sandy MacRae. We would badly love to get our hands on a copy of “Dear Enemy”, but ITV has not yet seen fit to make it available on video, so publicity pictures and reading the original novel are as good as we can get.
In 1984, Mr. Malahide appeared as the mysterious Visitor in “Dramarama” (a truly hilarious and over-the-top outing), the steady and reliable Scottish doctor Colin in Bill Forsyth’s quirky comedy-drama “Comfort and Joy” (recently rebroadcast on the BBC and badly in need of a DVD re-release), and had a brief role as Australian journalist Dennis Morgan in “The Killing Fields“, proving once again his mastery of accents.
“The Pickwick Papers” and Alfred Jingle
1985 brought another major role – that of Mr. Alfred Jingle in the BBC’s twelve-part dramatization of Charles Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers“. The extended role gave us a chance to really see what Mr. Malahide is capable of as he portrays Jingle’s transformation from cunning yet charming charlatan, con man, and strolling actor to [SPOILERS!] humbled and penitent prisoner, to redeemed man ready to become a valued part of society. Okay, I’m still not entirely convinced of Jingle’s transformation into the latter – I think it was all a gigantic work just so he could get himself out of prison – but we’ll go with it like Dickens wanted us to. The performance is really a tour de force for Mr. Malahide and he appears to be having a wonderful time. According to patrickmalahide.net, this is his favourite role – and one of ours, too.
“The Singing Detective” and the Binney/Finney Triple Threat
Other roles in 1985 and 1986 included small-time crim Neville in the farcical “Chance In a Million”, the enigmatic, vampiric, yet Dickensianly-named Mr. Hastymite in “December Rose“, and the triple role of Mark Binney, Raymond Binney, and Mark Finney in Dennis Potter’s six-part film noir/psychological exploration, “The Singing Detective“. Potter’s creation is a complex trip into main character Philip Marlow’s (Michael Gambon) psyche, with the Binneys/Finney representing his deepest fears and cruelest demons, wrapped up in the framework of an intriguing pulp novel, which would be fun enough to explore all on its own. Mr. Malahide gives us three intriguing separate, yet related characters each with his own motivations and personality. The overall effect is a slow build to uncovering Marlow’s entrenched psychological and physical issues and in the process, discovering the true identity/ies of the Binneys/Finney. Truly a masterwork. Patrickmalahide.net tells us that Mr. Malahide was nominated for a BAFTA for this performance.
In 1987, Mr. Malahide appeared in August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” as Jean, the sexually harassed and harassing valet (it’s complicated, trust me), the intensely repressed Reverend J.G. Keach in “A Month in the Country” (for which he learned several minutes of Mendelssohn on the violin), and the lead role of Geoff in “Our Geoffrey” which is, again, something we’ve been unable to get hold of and would like to.
Magnus the Magician and “The One Game”
He played another intense role, the Underground Man, in Dostoyevsky’s “Notes from the Underground” in the “Ten Great Writers of the Modern World” documentary series, and headmaster Arthur Starkey in “News at Twelve”, from which we’ve seen enough pictures to completely intrigue us and make us wish it was on DVD. He also appeared as the mysterious magician Magnus in “The One Game“, an embittered former business partner out for revenge who torments Stephen Dillane’s Nick Thorne with a variety of live role-playing (what would nowadays be called LARPing, although LARPers don’t usually use live ammo) games and logic puzzles. He also made friends with some rats and had to run around soaking wet quite a bit of the time, when he wasn’t riding motorcycles. It would be lovely to have a DVD commentary track for this series!
1988 also saw Mr. Malahide play the delightful Robert Blair in “The Franchise Affair“, a small-town lawyer (whom Admin has very accurately described as a provincial Alleyn) taking on his first major murder case, and the conclusion of his involvement in the “Minder” series. There was apparently some discussion about creating a spin-off series for Chisholm and Jones, which would’ve been great if Chisholm had been allowed to be the more well-rounded, complex character he was in the earlier “Minder” seasons, but apparently this fell through. “Minder” continued for another four seasons, but without Chisholm, who would be interested?
He went on to play the somewhat terrifying schoolmaster Mr. Quarles in 1989’s “After the War“, Uncle Adrian in Jim Henson’s “Living With Dinosaurs” (another one we can’t find! UPDATE Oct. 22, 2014: We found it. 😉 ), caddish Jeremy Boynton in the “Driven to Distraction” episode of “Inspector Morse”, lawyer Mike Mansfield in “Who Bombed Birmingham?”, and caddish art history professor Dr. Michael Harrison in “Boon“, the latter re-teaming him with Pippa Haywood, who appeared as Magnus’ unrequited love Jenny Thorne in “The One Game”.
1991 brought another intensely repressed vicar, the Reverend Edwin Sorleyson, in “December Bride“, dipsomaniac and narcoleptic aristocrat Sir Hugo Carey-Holden in “Lovejoy” (he prefers to be addressed by his full name and title), Dirk-Brown in the intriguing-sounding “Smack and Thistle”, and Colonel Mailer in “Children of the North” (both of which we can’t find, although I recently found a publicity photo for the latter), as well as hapless health food shop owner Axel Kingman in “Means of Evil“, part of the “Ruth Rendell Mysteries” series.
We next see him as the romantic yet tragically doomed (seriously, he tore my heart out with this one) Dr. Rank in “A Doll’s House”, Chief Inspector Miller Smith in “Force of Duty” (another one we’d like to see), Assistant Commissioner Henry in “The Secret Agent” opposite David Suchet and Peter Capaldi, and yet another charming, philandering cad, Robert Dangerfield, in the three-part “The Blackheath Poisonings“. However, things don’t work out quite as well for Dangerfield (what a great name!) as he hopes. He’s forced to marry his rich quarry… er, woman… in order to obtain her fortune, but she out-strategizes him. Patrickmalahide.net also tells me that he was beginning to film the first Alleyn series at this time.
The Reverend Edward Casaubon and “Middlemarch”
We were fortunate enough to get two major series starring Mr. Malahide in 1994. The first is an eight-part series based on George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” (my first introduction to his work), playing the deeply intellectual but insular, insecure, and repressed Reverend Edward Casaubon (another favourite around here). Often viewed as simply a straightforward villain, Mr. Malahide actually brings a great deal of humanity and sympathy to Casaubon, giving him depth and complexity and inviting the viewer to understand him further than his surface appearance and motivations. He has great potential as a husband and human being that he sadly squanders.
Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn, the Gentleman Detective
The second series is the “Inspector Alleyn Mysteries” starring Mr. Malahide as Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn, Ngaio Marsh’s “gentleman detective”. It completely blew my mind when I realized that Mr. Malahide played Casaubon and Alleyn concurrently at one point, because the two characters were so completely different. Where Casaubon was cold and stand-offish, Alleyn was warm and charming. Where Casaubon was paralyzed with doubt or lashing out from insecurity, Alleyn was confident, logical, and thoughtful. He was also stylish as all get-out, impeccably attired in tailored Forties suits and almost always carrying gloves and an umbrella (just in case). Partnered with the steady, ever-reliable Inspector Fox (William Simons), Alleyn went on to solve two seasons’ worth of mysteries. I was sorely disappointed when I discovered that was all. I would’ve loved to have seen Mr. Malahide develop the character even further.
Following the “Inspector Alleyn Mysteries”, Mr. Malahide next appeared in a series of movies, ranging from “A Man of No Importance“, playing Irish bus inspector Carson (irresistibly attractive to uniformed schoolgirls, perhaps due to his long, black trenchcoat and cap), to George Bucsan in “Two Deaths”, miserly recluse Uncle Ebenezer in “Kidnapped” (another favourite), bewigged Governor Ainslee in “Cutthroat Island” (easily the best thing in that entire film), shadowy CIA operative Leland Perkins in “Long Kiss Goodnight” (sporting an American accent this time), and power-behind-the-throne Leonid Kleist in “The Beautician and the Beast“, using an indeterminate eastern European accent opposite Timothy Dalton’s Stalinesque dictator Boris Pochenko. It’s more fun than it sounds, I swear.
He also appeared as Timo in “‘Til There Was You” (UPDATE Oct. 22, 2014: Another one we’ve recently found and will be reviewing), Bailie Creech in “Deacon Brodie”, Bertram Lamb in “U.S. Marshals” (with another American accent), the real-life John Harrison in the docudrama “Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude“, and real-life, heroic German naval attaché Georg Duckwitz in “Miracle at Midnight“, who was instrumental in saving many of Denmark’s Jews from the Nazis in 1943. Then came roles as Melrose in “Heaven” (UPDATE Nov. 21, 2014: Recently reviewed by Admin), the wonderfully bureaucratic Mr. Lancing in “Captain Jack” (who’s probably still getting over his encounter with the Quakers), and a very brief blink-and-you’ll-miss-him as Swiss banker Lachaise in “The World Is Not Enough“, where he had the dubious privilege of being threatened with death by Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond. However, Admin and I have a theory that Lachaise actually faked his death just to escape all the ridiculous espionage nonsense. With a suitable collection of Swiss banking codes, of course.
He next appeared in the wrenching, touchingly moving miniseries “All the King’s Men” as Captain Claude Howlett, a World War I medical officer sent to Gallipoli as part of the Sandringham Company on a mission he knows is doomed, yet he manages to find reserves of bravery within himself. Admin and I have intentions to recap that one, but we want to be sure of doing it justice (UPDATE Nov. 21, 2014: We reviewed it and really enjoyed it.). The year 2000 brought with it roles in “Ordinary Decent Criminal” as Commissioner Daly, “Fortress 2” as Peter Teller (that one has Christopher Lambert in it, which is usually a bad sign), “Billy Elliott” as the Dance Academy Principal, and “Quills” as Delbené.
In 2001 and 2002, Mr. Malahide appeared as German Colonel Barge in the World War II drama “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (another blink-and-you’ll-miss-him), but we had much better luck when he appeared as Sir John Conroy in the two-part miniseries, “Victoria and Albert“. He only appeared in the first part, but he made an indelible impression as the autocratic head of the Duchess of Kent’s household and Victoria’s de facto (and extremely opportunistic) guardian. This was followed by roles as the delightfully rakish and charming Sir Myles in “The Abduction Club“, Dr. Colworth in “The Final Curtain”, and Headmaster Ralston in a remake of “Goodbye, Mr. Chips“, opposite Martin Clunes as the titular character.
He followed this with the role of the Reverend Patrick Brontë in the two-part docudrama, “In Search of the Brontës“, as the father of the famous Brontë sisters; a very brief appearance as barrister Sir Montague Depleach in the Agatha Christie mystery “Five Little Pigs” (again opposite David Suchet, this time as Hercule Poirot); and as Arthur Frommer – who, much to my shock and amazement, turned out to be a real travel writer – in the execrable teen comedy (blargh!) “EuroTrip”. I’m sorry, but that movie has no redeeming features and I’ve actually seen it three times now (only once on purpose). Mr. Malahide was perfectly competent in his very brief role, but the movie was otherwise so awful that I really hope he got a trip to Italy out of it or something!
But 2004 and 2005 also brought us the excellent mystery/drama “Amnesia“, in which Mr. Malahide played sharply intelligent (and ever-prepared) D.I. Brennan opposite John Hannah and Brendan Coyle; another brief role as Charles Ilford in “The Rocket Post” (I wished we’d seen a lot more of him); Ambassador Polidori in “Sahara”, an unnamed Minister in “Extras” (holding his own opposite Samuel L. Jackson), the entrepreneurial Anders in “Friends and Crocodiles” (would’ve liked to have seen him have a few scenes with Damian Lewis), and perhaps best of all, Sir Francis Walsingham in the two-part “Elizabeth I“. Walsingham was a truly interesting character: absolutely ruthless, intelligent, and cunning; willing to employ underhanded methods just as his enemies were doing, but completely loyal to his Queen – played in this case by Helen Mirren.
A Diamond Geezer and a Sharp Solicitor
He then took a little trip to the wrong side of the law as Cockney criminal Derek “Chopper” Hadley in an episode of “New Tricks” called “Diamond Geezers”. Amusingly enough, he was opposite “Minder’s” Dennis Waterman again, except this time Waterman was playing retired cop Gerry Standing and Chopper was the bad guy (although I didn’t think he was all that bad – for a guy who habitually carried a hatchet). Then came the Headmaster in “Like Minds” (UPDATE: May 11, 2015: Reviewed by Admin), President Eisenhower in “Suez: A Very British Crisis”, the wonderfully sensitive, devoted grandfather John Poole in the four-part miniseries “Five Days” (UPDATE: Oct. 22, 2014: We’ve since reviewed it, and it’s excellent), and the sharp-as-a-tack, yet romantic solicitor Leonard Richards in “Sensitive Skin” (another favourite of ours), opposite Maggie Steed and Joanna Lumley.
Roles followed in 2008’s “Ten Days to War” as Sir Jeremy Greenstock, a remake of “Brideshead Revisited” as the dotty yet humorously acerbic Mr. Edward Ryder (who can tell you more about owls than you’ll ever want to know), cunning master spy Professor Fisher, who torments Rupert Penry-Jones’ Richard Hannay in “The 39 Steps“, Richard in “A Short Stay in Switzerland” opposite Harriet Walter, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery in “Into the Storm“, and the mysterious Landry in the post-apocalyptic drama “Survivors” – which sadly, never got a second season so we could see what Landry was really up to. Mr. Malahide then had several guest appearances as Robert Ridley, Q.C., who tormented Ben Daniels’ James Steele in “Law & Order: U.K.“, and also undertook the role of Claudius in National Theatre Live’s production of “Hamlet” – which both Admin and I would really like to see, but haven’t been able to yet.
Two Ruthless Businessmen: Glendenning and Turner
More recent productions (as of the time of this writing) include “Endeavour“, a prequel to John Thaw’s “Morse” series starring Shaun Evans as the young Morse, in which Mr. Malahide played the decidedly nasty Sir Richard Lovell. He followed this with the decidedly non-nasty Lord Glendenning (well, unless you crossed him in business or toyed with his daughter’s affections) in the first season of the Victorian shop drama, “The Paradise“. We were extremely pleased when “The Paradise” was broadcast nearly concurrently with “Hunted“, in which Mr. Malahide played ruthless Cockney-crimelord-turned-business-magnate – and doting grandad – Jack Turner. Both Lord Glendenning and Jack Turner were pretty ruthless in their own ways, but only one of them would actually shed your blood while making sure you weren’t a threat any more. Well… that we saw on screen.
Lord Reaper of Pyke
We were also delighted when we first heard that Mr. Malahide had been cast as Balon Greyjoy in “Game of Thrones“, the sprawling medieval-ish fantasy/adventure HBO series based on the books by George R.R. Martin. As of the time of writing, it’s three seasons in and Balon is still alive – an admirable record among Martin characters. He’s the Lord Reaper of Pyke and in open rebellion against all of the other powerful characters, because that’s the sort of a ruthless pirate king he is. But he’s also gravely disappointed in his children, which is par for the course. Mr. Malahide has only appeared in three episodes (so far – knock wood!), but he’s made a very strong impression as Balon. Take care on those bridges! (UPDATE: May 11, 2015: And he’s still alive as of season five!)
In 2014, Mr. Malahide appeared in the first two episodes of the four-part miniseries “New Worlds” as 17th Century Catholic nobleman John Francis. The series itself suffered from uneven, choppy writing that made it seem as if one was watching an assortment of barely related events and some really dreadful dialogue, but Mr. Malahide (and his co-stars Eve Best and James McArdle) were able to do an astonishing amount with the material they had. In particular, John Francis had some of the most moving scenes while he was imprisoned and describing his fear of betraying his wife, who had the reputation of being a former rebel. The series would’ve been vastly improved had there been more John Francis in it.
Lord Willingdon, Viceroy of India
UPDATE: May 11, 2015: “Indian Summers” has just finished its ten-episode run for its first season. Both Admin and I enjoyed it a great deal (you can read our reviews here), and Mr. Malahide’s Viceroy, the real-life Lord Willingdon, was a big part of that. The story takes place in India in 1932, the last days of the British Raj. Lord Willingdon is arguably the most powerful man on the continent; he represents the King’s rule, but he’s also very human. He’s at once caring, jovial, sentimental, and occasionally dotty, while also being no-nonsense, experienced, very business-like, and not to be trifled with in political matters, leading to occasional clashes with his private secretary, Ralph Whelan (Henry Lloyd-Hughes, also turning in an excellent performance), who has more modern ideas. Yet Lord Willingdon is also trying to deal with a huge amount of change, and exist in two different worlds. Mr. Malahide appeared in only four episodes this series, but “Indian Summers” has been renewed for a second season that promises to cover “a Viceroy’s last summer”. We have high hopes that we’ll see a lot more of Lord Willingdon in series 2.
May 11, 2015: We don’t yet know much about Mr. Malahide’s character in “Luther“, but we do know that he’ll be appearing in a two-part episode this fall. Admin has found some extremely intriguing photos of the episode being filmed, including what looks like a clandestine conference on a bridge (see left), as well as a glimpse of series star Idris Elba marching Mr. Malahide away with his jacket yanked over his head! We’re guessing that his character is some sort of criminal who is likely providing information to D.I. Luther, but we really don’t know yet. In any case, we can’t wait to find out.
In addition to everything mentioned above, Mr. Malahide has had a lengthy career in theatre and a large number of writing credits to his name. We’re less familiar with these aspects of his work just because of sheer geography (and lack of DVDs!), but it would be an enormous treat to see him acting in live theatre – either from his days at the Byre or in one of his more current roles, like Claudius in “Hamlet”. Visiting the Writing, Theatre, and Biography pages of patrickmalahide.net provides a more complete sense of the vast body of his work. He’s narrated a lot of audio books and provided his voice to various radio plays as well, which are extremely enjoyable listening; you can find a list of many of them here.
We’ve only scratched the surface here, but we hope to see Mr. Malahide in many, many roles yet to come.