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Patrick Allen
Patrick Allen


17th March 1927


28th July 2006





John Keith Patrick Allen (17 March 1927 – 28 July 2006) was a British film, television and voice actor.

Life and career[]

Allen was born in Nyasaland (now Malawi), where his father was a tobacco farmer. After his parents returned to Britain, he was evacuated to Canada during World War II where he remained to finish his education at McGill University in Montreal. He gained experience as a local radio broadcaster and appeared on television in plays and documentaries, before returning to Britain.

Returning to the United Kingdom in 1953, Allen made his film debut in Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (1954). He subsequently appeared in character roles in many films, including Captain Clegg, The Wild Geese, The Sea Wolves and Who Dares Wins. He was also the lead actor in the Associated Rediffusion adventure series Crane (1963–65) and in the BBC-1 series Brett (1971). Allen played Moriaty's deputy Colonel Sebastian Moran in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

He made regular appearances in ITC television series during the 1960s and early 1970s, including The Baron, The Champions and UFO, although he never had an ongoing role in any of these series. He made one episode of the Saint alongside Roger Moore in The Man Who Could Not Die broadcast July 1965 in the UK.

Allen also worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a number of stage roles, along with many BBC productions.

Voice work[]

Allen's distinctive, authoritative voice was familiar across Britain, even amongst those who did not recognise him as an actor.

He narrated the British Government's Protect and Survive series of instructional videos in the 1970s; some of his lines in that production were re-recorded and sampled into the single Two Tribes by the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. He was also the voiceover artist for Vic and Bob's comedy series Vic Reeves Big Night Out, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and Shooting Stars, and appeared in and voiced numerous commercials for house builder Barratt Homes and for the Ford Sierra, among many others. His voice-over work led him to start up his own business, running a very successful recording studio for voice-over work.

He also narrated the first series of Blackadder, and appeared in the last episode 'The Black Seal' as Edmund's arch-nemesis, Philip of Burgundy - known to his enemies as 'The Hawk'.

He provided the narration (the voice of Captain Star) for the 1989 children's series TUGS. Allen remained uncredited for his work, which was revealed in later interview with the show's producer Robert D. Cardona.

In 2005, he became the voice of the British television channel E4, providing voiceovers for many of its idents and promotions. Some of the slogans are rather irreverent, and match the tone of the channel well, especially during the channel's recent campaigns.