Deryck Guyler

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Deryck Guyler (29 April 1914 - 7 October 1999) was an English actor, best known for his portrayal of officious, short-tempered middle-aged men in sitcoms such as Please Sir! and Sykes.

Contents

Early life

Guyler was born in Wallasey on Wirral, Merseyside (then Cheshire) and raised on the other side of the River Mersey in the city of Liverpool, originally planning a career in the church. During the Second World War he was called up and joined the RAF Police but was later invalided from service, whereupon he joined Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) and then (on 4 May 1942) the BBC's Drama and Repertory company in Manchester.

Career

After the war, he became a regular on the immensely popular radio series, It's That Man Again (ITMA) until the series was cancelled in 1949 upon the death of the main star Tommy Handley. Guyler claimed that his character 'Frisby Dike' (named after a Liverpool department store bombed in the Blitz) was the first time the real Liverpudlian accent was heard on the radio.

He took part in a Royal Command Performance of ITMA for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in December 1947.

After ITMA, Guyler carried on working in a variety of roles from light entertainment (BBC Children's Hour) to classical (acting with John Gielgud in King Lear). In the 1950s, he played the time-traveller (also known as "the voice") in the British sci-fi radio series Journey Into Space. His success continued into the 1960s and 1970s when he starred in the satirical radio programme about life in the British civil service The Men from the Ministry with Richard Murdoch. Guyler played the pompous, self-important Number One in the General Assistance Department, with Murdoch as his diffident but equally incompetent Number Two.

Guyler holds a unique place in theatrical history, having "acted" in every performance of The Mousetrap since the opening night on 6 October 1952 in Nottingham. He delivered a news bulletin via a recording which is still being used at the St Martin's Theatre at present.

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