Character actor John Hallam was more of a face than a name to most audiences. However, he was a much more capable actor than his typecasting as a supporting villain with a sinister eye for the ladies often allowed him to be.
Born on October 28, 1941 in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, he graduated from RADA in 1964, finding himself in Olivier’s Trelawney of the Wells at the Old Vic the following year. His break into film came in 1968 with contrasting roles in The Charge of the Light Brigade and Carry On Up the Khyber. That same year he made the first of his many television appearances in Softly Softly. In the three and a half decades that followed, Hallam was constantly to be found in British television staples – Doctor Who, A Family at War, Casualty, Emmerdale and Bergerac among them – and in an eclectic range of films, notably starring alongside Peter O’Toole in 1971 in the Peter Yates-directed Murphy’s War.
But it will be for two television roles that Hallam is best remembered – as the lusty, scheming nineteenth-century squire complete with badger-striped hair in Catherine Cookson’s bodice-ripper The Mallens (1979) and as Dirty Den’s shifty Cockney cellmate Barnsey in EastEnders (1988-90).
A keen gardener and cousin of Clive Mantle, Hallam died in Clifton, Oxfordshire on November 14, aged 65. He is survived by his ex-wife – the mask-maker Vicky Brinkworth, to whom he was married for 26 years – three daughters and a son.
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