Ian Bannen

  1. Jack Lord, Hawaii Five-0, TV, 1968-1980.      A totally off-the-wall idea from creator Leonard Freeman, but Bannen avoided being Detective Steve McGarret for what some  281 episodes over a dozen years.
  2. Peter Finch, Sunday Bloody Sunday, 1971.   Regrets,  he had a few and this was #1…  Director John Schlesinger  called in  Bannen to replace  Alan Bates  (delayed on The Go-Between), but it soon became obvious that the Scot was far from at ease with playing the gay medic and, worse, having to kiss co-star Murray Head. Paul Scofield was contacted but Finchey  came to the rescue –  losing an Oscar due (everyone said) to the gay kiss that  Bannen felt would have  ruined his career. In  fact, he later said  his career never recovered from being unable to cope with the script. Until Sean Connery (keen on succeeding him here) asked Bannen to join him in The Offence, 1972, one of his 206 screen roles in 45 years.
  3. Barry Foster, Van Der Valk, TV, 1972-1992.    Bannen, who once considered quitting acting to be a monk, passed on the BBC offer to portray the titular Dutch cop  – for  32 episodes shot o  ver 20 years. 
  4. Nigel Davenport, The Island of Dr Moreau, 1976.    Davenport took over the luckless role of Montgomery  from Bannen in the Burt Lancaster version of HG Wells’ mad, humanoid-making  scientist  in  the second screen version. The first, re-titled The Island of Lost Souls) was in 1932, with Charles Laughton.. The third in 1996 with  Marlon Brando  was a total catastrophe. All based upon HG’s 1896  “exercise in youthful blasphemy.” Or put it another way: a load of crap.
  5. Edward Fox, Force 10 From Navarone, 1977.      After a bit of a barney  with producer Oliver A Unger, Bannen was deep-sixed and Fox became  Dusty Miller – originally played by David Niven in the 1960 Guns of Navarone classic. 
  6. Lee Montague, The Legacy,1977.     Welsh director Richard Marquand’s list for the hotelier, Grandier, were Joss Ackland, Peter Arne (also up for the immolated Liebnecht), Ian Bannen, John Carson, Frank Finlay, Ian Hendry, Peter Jeffrey.  Also in the literal horror was Who singer Roger Daltrey – his price for allowing his country house to be used for five murders. Leading man Sam Elliott warned the Associated Press off the film: “It’s about 15 years behind its time.”
  7. Trevor Howard, Meteor, 1979.      In the loop for Sir Michael Hughes in the last of the disaster movies (a $22m bummer) were: Howard, Bannen, Harry Andrews, Peter Cushing, Michael Hordern, Gordon Jackson, John Mills, Kenneth More, Anthony Quayle… and four UK knights: Sirs John Gielgud, Alec Guinness, John Mills and Ralph Richardson. (Hordern was knighted in 1983; Quayle in 1985).
  8. Michael Robbins, Doctor Who #119: The Visitation, TV, 1982.       One of Doc5 Peter Davison’s three favourite tales. Robbins, however, hated his rôle as much as scenarist Eric Saward disliked the performance. Also up for Richard Mace were such Whoverse casting regulars as Bannen, John Carson, Frank Finlay, Ronald Fraser, Donald Houston, William Lucas, Glyn Owen and Donald Pleasence.  
  9. Frank Windsor, Doctor Who #128: The King’s Demons, 1983.     The  usual suspects were flagpoled for Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam at the court of King John, circa 1215… Bannen, Joss Ackland, George Baker, Julian Glover, Michael Jayston, Peter Jeffrey, Dinsdale Landen, Alfred Lynch, TP McKenna, Clifford Rose, Peter Vaughan, Edward Woodward. Plus three Z Cars cops: booming Brian Blessed, Irish James Ellis… and the quiet Windsor.
  10. John Normington, Doctor Who #135: The Caves of Androzani, TV, 1984.   Bannen, Normington, Joss Ackland, Patrick Allen, George Baker, Julian Glover, Martin Jarvis, Michael Jayston were all on the Morgus wish list.

  11. Terence Alexander, Doctor Who #139: The Mark of the Rani, 1984.      Bannen, Joss Ackland, Harry Andrews, Bernard Archard, Robin Bailey, George Baker,  Geoffrey Bayldon, John Carson, Peter Cushing, Allan Cuthbertson, Frank Finlay, Robert Flemyng, Michael Gough, Dinsdale Landen, TP McKenna, Donald Pickering, Peter Sallis, John Standing, Patrick Stewart, Peter Vaughan… and the Z Cars cops James Ellis and Jeremy Kemp – 23 contenders for Lord Ravenworth. Phew! Standing was the most suitable as he was the the fourth baronet in his family’s line.
  12. John Stratton, Doctor Who #140: The Two Doctors, TV, 1985.      The two Time Lords were Doc2 Patrick Troughton and Doc 6, the short lived Colin Baker. Shockeyes were more plentiful.  The 22 prospects were: Bannen, Stratton, Joss Ackland, George Baker, Brian Blessed, Denholm Elliott, James Ellis, Frank Finlay, Ronald Fraser, Michael Gothard, Don Henderson, Donald Houston, Freddie Jones, Jeremy Kemp, Roy Kinnear, Ronald Lacey, TP McKenna, Aubrey Morris, Donald Pleasence, Peter Sallis, George Sewell, Peter Vaughan.
  13. Alun Armstrong, Strictly Sinatra, 2000.       Production had barely begun when the veteran Bannen was killed in a car smash (his wife was driving). Armstrong, a TV stalwart, answered the urgent appeal from a fellow Scot, writer-director Peter Capaldi – the 12th Doctor Who in 2013.

 Birth year: 1928Death year: 1999Other name: Casting Calls:  13