Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Bernard Archard

by -

Leading actor Bernard Archard, one of television’s most familiar faces, was best known for his role as Lt Col Oreste Pinto in the BBC secret agent drama Spycatcher (1959-61).

Dutchman Pinto was a key figure during the Second World War and the series was based on his true counter-espionage experiences. Twenty four stories were filmed over four series and made Archard, at the age of 43, a star.

He later found fame when he played Leonard Kempinski, second husband to Annie Sugden, in the soap Emmerdale.

Born in Fulham on August 20, 1916, the tall, imposing actor won a scholarship to RADA. On graduating he worked in repertory around the country and made his TV debut in 1957 in Sir Walter Scott’s Kenilworth. In the 1950s he ran his own touring repertory company with his partner, actor James Belchamber.

Disillusioned with work in Britain, he was about to emigrate to Canada when he was offered the role in Spycatcher. When the series finished, he was inundated with TV and film offers and among his many TV credits were leading roles in Z Cars, Softly Softly, Upstairs Downstairs, Rumpole of the Bailey, Krull, Bergerac and The Avengers. He won an army of younger fans when he starred in two Doctor Who stories, Bragen in The Power of the Daleks and Marcus Scarman in The Pyramids of Mars.

His many films included The Spy with the Cold Nose, The Village of the Damned, The Day of the Jackal, Roman Polanski’s Macbeth, Dad’s Army and The Sea Wolves.

He returned to the theatre in the seventies appearing in Terence Rattigan’s last play Cause Celebre (Her Majesty’s Theatre) and in the controversial Peter O’Toole production of Macbeth (Old Vic) in which he played Duncan.

In 2006 he registered a civil partnership with James Belchamber. Archard died at his home in Somerset on May 1, aged 91. His partner survives him.

Patrick Newley

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.