John Arnatt bigraphy, stories - British actor

John Arnatt : biography

9 May 1917 - 21 December 1999

John Arnatt (9 May 1917 – 21 December 1999) was a British actor born in Russia.


John Arnatt was born in Petrograd on 9 May 1917. His parents were Francis Arnatt and Ethel Marion Arnatt (née Jephcott). He attended Epworth College. Arnatt trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. John Arnatt died at the age of 82 on 21 December 1999.


Never well known, he amassed numerous television credits in popular productions such as Keeping Up Appearances, Dangerfield, Lovejoy, The Professionals, House of Cards and Z-Cars. Doctor Who fans will recall him as the second actor to play Time Lord Cardinal Borusa in the serial The Invasion of Time. He had a recurring role in the early episodes of the ITV legal drama The Main Chance.

One of Arnatt's most high profile roles was as "The Deputy Sheriff of Nottingham" in the fourth and final season of 1955-60 TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene. His character filled in for Alan Wheatley, who played the regular sheriff. Arnatt's character was introduced and interacted with Wheatley's character in the episode "The Devil You Don't Know". In the 1962 film Dr Crippen, starring Donald Pleasence, Arnatt played Chief Inspector Walter Dew. Arnatt also played an imitation "M" to Tom Adams' imitation James Bond in two films, Licensed to Kill (1965 film) and Where the Bullets Fly (1966).

In 1967, Arnatt got something of a promotion when he played the High Sheriff of Nottingham opposite Barrie Ingham's Robin in the film A Challenge for Robin Hood. Later, in the 1985 television film Marple: The Moving Finger, he played Reverend Guy Calthrop.

Selected filmography

  • The Passionate Stranger (1957)
  • Clash by Night (1963)
  • Hysteria (1965)
  • Crucible of Terror (1971)
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