Actor and writer Christopher Blake, who enjoyed a prolific career in television, film and theatre, died on December 11, aged 55.
Born Peter Ronald Gray on August 23, 1949, in Chingford, he emigrated as a child with his parents and two brothers to Australia on a government-assisted grant. His education was interrupted by the family coming back to England in 1961 only to leave again shortly afterwards and finally return in 1966. He tried his luck at acting after working as an odd job man at a newly formed experimental theatre, the Brighton Combination.
Accepted in 1969 by the Central School of Speech and Drama, he changed his name to Christopher Blake. There followed more than 20 years of regular employment in theatre, television and film during which he played a vast range of parts. Blake specialized in the unflappable, quietly spoken charmer he was in real life, the type friends and strangers alike immediately trusted. Although best remembered for light comedy in the successful television sitcoms That’s My Boy and Mixed Blessings, he displayed an equal talent for serious drama in The Mill on the Floss, The Lost Boys and in particular an LWT adaptation of HE Bates’ Love for Lydia. In the theatre his roles ranged from farce to the eponymous Alfie, Milo in Sleuth and George in Same Time Next Year. Later in his career he took to playing villains.
More recently he became a regular writer on Channel 5’s Family Affairs and contributed to Sky One’s Dream Team. His last two completed scripts were for the ITV series A Touch of Frost.
Offstage, Blake played cricket and was for many years he was a valuable member of the Lord’s Taverners XI and of the Sargentmen, a side composed mostly of fellow actors, writers and producers. He possessed an easy charm and wry sense of humour that earned him a wide circle of loyal friends throughout his life.
In 1997 Blake met actress and theatrical producer Victoria Little with whom he found fulfilling happiness and contentment. While putting the final touches to a house they renovated in Spain, he was diagnosed with a rare form of Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. To the end he was his own man, battling a debilitating illness with typical fortitude and without a trace of fear or self pity.
He leaves three children, Charlotte, Louise and Sean.
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