As the novelist Jack Sugden newly returned home to take over the eponymous Emmerdale Farm in ITV’s pioneering lunchtime soap, Andrew Burt found himself at the centre of a rural family dynasty who quickly caught viewers’ imaginations to become an early hit of the recently deregulated daytime television schedules.
One of the show’s six principals, Burt spent two years in the serial, returning again for 12 episodes in 1976 before departing to take a lead role as Lieutenant Peek in the BBC’s military drama Warship the same year.
His small-screen profile was strengthened as Captain FitzRoy in the BAFTA-winning The Voyage of Charles Darwin (1978) and in the title roles of Andrew Davies’ 1979 retelling of The Legend of King Arthur and Barry Letts’ adaptation of Gulliver in Lilliput in 1982.
Born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, Burt originally planned a career in engineering before training at Rose Bruford College. He found early professional work in rep in Perth, Cheltenham and the Worthing Connaught, where his admired Heathcliff in a 1974 staging of Wuthering Heights prompted The Stage to note of his portrayal: “There are moments when [it] reaches great heights.”
Television dominated his later career, notable appearances including as the presenter of the children’s series Stepping Stones (1979-80), Doctor Who (1983), as Chorus alongside Anthony Quayle in Don Taylor’s reworking of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus (1986), Campion (1989-90) and I’m Alan Partridge as both the voice of Radio Norwich’s idents and jingles and as the delusional DJ’s former headmaster Sweaty Raphael (1997-2002).
Much in demand as a voice-over artist, he contributed to documentaries and adverts and was the announcer for ITN’s branded news broadcasts on commercial television for more than a decade. He also recorded many books for the blind as a volunteer for the Calibre Audio Library.
More recently, he gained a diploma in person-centred counselling and ran his own practice for several years as an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Andrew Thomas Hutchison Burt was born on May 23, 1945 and died on November 16, aged 73.