John Neville

  1. Jeremy Brett, War and Peace, 1956.    After his brilliant Richard III,Neville was called to London’s Paramount HQ and casting director Sally Nichols told him: “We’d like to offer you a seven-year contract in Hollywood. Your first job is lined up in Romein ten weeks.””I can’t do that, I’m at theOld Vic.”  “I know. Have you signed the contract? “No, I shook hands.”
  2. Andrew Keir, Quatermass and the Pit, 1967.   Hammer Films always began with a money-raising poster.The one for the second movie sequel clearly depicted Neville as Professor Bernard Quatermass – hero of the Nigel Kneale BBC serials. Instead, Hammer’s first Brit inthe role was Keir.Hewas perfect and played the Prof again in BBC Radio 3’s five-parter,The Quatermass Memoirs: in 1996.
  3. Cornel Wilde, Omar Khayyam, 1956.    In the Persian frame for the poet  Khayyam – and not Khaiyyam as in a 1945 film, or Khayham for a 1924 short  were  the British Neville, Rossano Brazzi, John Forsythe and (the too young) Robert Wagner.
  4. Kenneth McMillan, Dune, 1984.
  5. Peter Cushing, Sherlock Holmes, TV, 1968.     After 13 episodes in 1964-1965, Douglas Wilmer refused to continue with incompetent scirpts ranging from  “the brilliant to the absolutely deplorable.” The BBC asked John Neville to repeat his Sherlock from  the 1964 film, A Study In Terror. Eric Porter was next favourite following his global triumph in Aunty’s Forsyte Saga, 1967.  Finally, Cushing signed on for 16 shows, including The Hound of the Baskervilles, which he’d already made for Hammer in 1958.  Cushing played his favourite role a third time (when far too old at 71) in the tele-movie, The Masks of Death, 1983.  Alan Wheatley had been the first BBC  (indeed, the first TV) Holmes in 1951.


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  5