Sir Michael Gambon RIP


I imagine that most will know him for his role as Gandalf in the Harry Potter films, but he was wonderful in the TV role of Dennis Potter’s ‘The Singing Detective’.


Sad news, RIP. Yet another stalwart passes.


Such a shame - a very, very fine actor. Despite that melancholic demeanour, he had a twinkle in his eye that suggested a rather warm and witty persona behind it


Nice anecdote just now on the lunchtime news on R4:

Gambon was an aircraft fitter and had done a bit of acting at the Unity Theatre in Camden and elsewhere.

He went for an audition at The National in front of Olivier. He described himself as “so thick” that he didn’t know Olivier had played Richard III. Olivier asked him what he was going to do. He said Richard III. Which he did.

The National phoned back a couple of days later and asked him to start on Monday.



‘The Singing Detective’ had quite an impact on me, I remember.




A very sad day. Have seen him many times on stage, plus his film work. Also had a very brief chance to meet him.

One of my all time favourite actors.

Have missed his magic in recent times.


Just working through the 70 Maigret novels of Georges Simenon. My favourite on screen portrayal of Maigret is Michael Gambon - he has the mannerisms just right.



I never watched The Singing Detective when it first aired, must see if it’s on BritBox.

(I think you meant Dumbledore in HP).

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Is that a Peter Greenway film ?

A great actor……r.i.p

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989).


I don’t think I got very far with that movie!

A Top Gear track corner named after him and his response to Clarkson for the latter not understanding the diff that James May had been explaining was brilliant.


Yes, indeed!

Much as I found The Singing Detective mesmerising I must put a word in for his performance in Fortitude. Genuinely disturbing and compelling.

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Had the chance to see him on stage in David Hare’s Skylight, pretty much a two-hander. A great role for him, which allowed him to dominate the stage by driving the action (although Lia Williams proved an equal foil by the end).

His performance as John Harrison in “Longitude” was sensational. Highly recommended.

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And, by the by, Dava Sobell’s short book ‘Longitude’, on which the film was based, is brilliantly written, and highly informative.

Anyone interested should make their way to the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, where John Harrison’s four original marine chronometers , known as H1, H2, H3 and H4, are on permanent show behind glass cases. It is amazing, and rather humbling, to observe genius at work. H1 to H3 seem like complicated carriage clocks, a mass of rotating metal cogs, levers and wheels, whereas H4 looks like an overgrown pocket watch. They had fallen into complete disrepair early in the last Century, but were painstakingly restored by a shellshocked soldier, an inspiring story in itself.

(Outside the Museum there is a metal strip inlaid in the paving, which denotes the Greenwich Meridian, so you can bestride the strip, and straddle both halves of the Earth!)