Bernard Bresslaw

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Most Promising Newcomer

Bernard Bresslaw (25 February 1934 – 11 June 1993) was an English actor. He is best remembered for his comedy work, especially as a member of the Carry On team.



Bernard Bresslaw was born in Stepney, London, on 25 February 1934.[1] He attended the Coopers' Company's School in Tredegar Square, Bow, London E3. His father was a tailor's cutter and he became interested in acting after visits to the Hackney Empire. London County Council awarded him a scholarship to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where he won the Emile Littler Award as the most promising actor.[2] After Educating Archie on radio and The Army Game on television, more television, film and Shakespearean theatre roles followed, until his big break when he was cast in Carry on Cowboy in 1965.

He featured as Varga, the lead villain in the 1968 Doctor Who story The Ice Warriors. Even though all the actors playing the aliens were over six feet tall - Bresslaw, at 6'7", towered over them. Sonny Caldinez, who played an Ice Warrior in the story, stated in a 2004 interview that Bresslaw "was the only man that could make me feel small."

Although officially starring in 14 Carry On films Bernard Bresslaw did appear in one other Carry On Nurse, as the legs of Terence Longdon were deemed to be too thin and scrawny looking Bernard Bresslaw's were used as stand-ins for the scene where Joan Sims gives him a bath.

Bresslaw's catchphrase, in his strong Cockney accent, was "I only arsked" (sic), first used in The Army Game,[3] and later revived in Carry On Camping (1969). In his fleeting appearance as an angry lorry driver in the 1970 film Spring and Port Wine (set in Bolton), his character was dubbed.

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