The last radio programme to attract a bigger audience than television was the sci-fi series Journey Into Space (1953-58), one of the stars of which was Bruce Beeby. He played Stephen “Mitch” Mitchell, who, according to the programme’s writer and producer, Charles Chilton, was similar to Beeby himself, always losing his temper.
Beeby moved from his native Australia with his wife, the actress Madi Hedd, in the 1950s. He soon found work in rep companies before Chilton hired him for Journey Into Space, which is still heard in faraway places, having been translated into 17 languages, including Hindustani.
Beeby also found work in films, including Carol Reed’s A Kid for Two Farthings (1955); the Oscar-winning Lawrence of Arabia (1962), starring Peter O’Toole; the Beatles’ first film, A Hard Day’s Night (1964); and Wuthering Heights (1970), an adaptation of Emily Bronte’s novel with Timothy Dalton playing Heathcliff.
His most prominent role in television was in the now-derided soap opera Crossroads, set in a motel near Birmingham. He played Simon Russell, one of the more upmarket suitors of Noele Gordon’s Meg Richardson, the motel’s owner.
Beeby also wrote plays and adapted novels for television, including Patrick Quentin’s thriller Shadow of Guilt. He was a keen cricketer and a fine cook, publishing a collection of recipes, Father in the Kitchen, in 1977.
He was divorced from Madi Hedd in 1987 and then had a long relationship with the BBC producer Betty Davies.
Bruce Beeby, who was born on October 21, 1921, died on October 20, the day before his 92nd birthday.