Peter Blythe

Thesp

Thesp Peter Blythe, a longtime character actor on the West End and on British TV, died Sunday June 27 after a short illness at Dorset County Hospital. He was 69.

Yorkshire native studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He began picking up roles in the ’60s, among them two episodes of “The Avengers” and a turn in Hammer horror pic “Frankenstein Created Woman.”

He went on to appear in many West End shows, including “Humble Boy,” “Hay Fever,” “Mind Millie for Me,” “The Chairman,” “Absurd Person Singular,” “Return to AJ Raffles,” “Clandestine Marriage and “So What About Love.”

He appeared at the National Theater in productions of “King Lear,” “Hamlet,” “Futurists,” “The Government Inspector” and “Pravda.”

Blythe became a member of the Peter Hall Co. for its 1997 season at the Old Vic, appearing in “The Provoked Wife,” “The Seagull,” “Waste” and “King Lear.” More recently he was in Hall’s productions of “The Royal Family,” with Judi Dench; “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” with Brenda Blethyn; and “Amadeus.”

He was last seen onstage last year, as the Duke of Exeter in Nicholas Hytner’s production of “Henry V.”

His film career included appearances in “The Luzhin Defense,” “Carrington” and “The Bridge.”

Blythe was also a familiar face on TV, where he played Head of Chambers “Soapy Sam” Ballard in “Rumpole of the Bailey” and Supt. Backhouse in “Dalziel and Pascoe” and had roles in “Only Fools and Horses” and many other series and made-fors.

He is survived by his partner, actress Harriet Walker, and a daughter.

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