ITV Playhouse is a British television anthology series that ran from 1967 to 1983, which featured contributions from playwrights such as Dennis Potter, Rhys Adrian and Alan Sharp.

Actors appearing in the series included Leslie Anderson, Gwen Nelson, Ricky Alleyne, Pat Heywood, Michael Elphick, Ian Hendry,Edward Woodward, Margaret Lockwood, Jessie Matthews and Lloyd Peters.

ITV Playhouse - Netflix

Type: Scripted

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 25 minutes

Premier: 1968-12-28

ITV Playhouse - Richard Beckinsale - Netflix

Richard Arthur Beckinsale (6 July 1947 – 19 March 1979) was an English actor, who played Lennie Godber in the BBC sitcom Porridge (along with its sequel series Going Straight) and Alan Moore in the British ITV sitcom Rising Damp. He is the father of actresses Samantha Beckinsale and Kate Beckinsale.

ITV Playhouse - Death - Netflix

With filming completed on the film version of Porridge, Beckinsale started work on a sitcom for the BBC called Bloomers, and also prepared to start work on the film Bloody Kids. According to his Bloomers co-star Anna Calder-Marshall, during the recording of the first episode, Beckinsale told her he had suffered some kind of black-out, and had some dizzy spells. This concerned him enough to make an appointment to see a doctor, but the doctor could not find anything wrong apart from an overactive stomach lining, and slightly high cholesterol. As filming on the show progressed, Beckinsale appeared increasingly tired, and “greyer and greyer”, according to co-star David Swift, and towards the end of filming he was complaining of pains in his arms. On what was to be his last day of filming on the show, he gave Anna Calder-Marshall a lift home after filming. To her surprise, he began to talk about his fear of dying, and of being alone in the house. A week before he died, Beckinsale complained to his wife Judy Loe of feeling unwell and said he was unable to take her to hospital. At the time, they both put it down to nerves; she was due to have an operation to increase the couple's chances of having another child. The day before he died, he and his five-year-old daughter Kate visited Loe in hospital. Upon leaving the hospital, Beckinsale dropped his daughter off with relatives to spend the night. He then attended a farewell party for the Two Ronnies, who were about to leave for Australia. Afterwards, he returned to his house in Sunningdale, Berkshire. At some point that day, he had also called his elder daughter Samantha, and made plans to spend some time with her the following weekend. After arriving home late on the evening of Sunday 18 March, he telephoned friends. During the conversation he repeated that he had been feeling unwell, and also said that he had some pain in his chest and arms. He seemed in good humour though, and made a joke out of it.

When he did not arrive at the rehearsal for the sixth and final episode of Bloomers the next morning, a member of the production team rang his house, and the phone was answered by family friend Rosana Bradley, who had been staying at the house to help take care of Kate, but who had not been there the previous night. She said Beckinsale was still sleeping, and she left the phone to wake him up. When she returned, she said that she was unable to wake him, and was advised to call a doctor. Shortly after, it was confirmed that he had died during the night, of what appeared to be a massive heart attack. This was confirmed during a post-mortem examination, which also revealed that he had a congenital heart defect. Beckinsale had expressed worries about his cholesterol to friend Stephen Frears over dinner just days earlier, but he seemed healthy and fit and had no cardiac problems in his medical records. According to Frears, Beckinsale's high cholesterol may have been a factor in his early death. Porridge co-star Ronnie Barker commented on Beckinsale's premature death, saying: “He was so loved. He hadn't done much but he was so loved that there was a universal sort of grief that went on.” When asked to comment on his death years later, Kate Beckinsale said, “It was so sudden. He just went to sleep one night, and didn't wake up again.” Beckinsale was cremated at Mortlake Crematorium. He has a memorial plaque in the actors' church St Paul's in Covent Garden.

ITV Playhouse - References - Netflix