Murray Melvin: Torchwood, A Taste of Honey and Doctor Who actor dead at 90 - what films has he been in?

Melvin passed away at the age of 90 after he "never fully recovered" from a fall in December

Murray Melvin and Lisi Tribble in 2012 (Photo: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)Murray Melvin and Lisi Tribble in 2012 (Photo: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)
Murray Melvin and Lisi Tribble in 2012 (Photo: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

Tributes have been paid to “wonderful” Murray Melvin following his death at the age of 90.

The actor was best known for his roles in Torchwood, A Touch of Honey and many more. His passing was announced by a friend, who said the actor had “never fully recovered” from a fall in December.

Russell T Davies and John Barrowman have led the tributes to the actor. He died at St Thomas' Hospital in London, according to creative director Kerry Kyriacos Michael, who identified himself as the late actor's next of kin to the PA news agency.

Michael also wrote on Twitter that it was with “great sadness” he was announcing the actor’s death, who he also described as a “director and theatre archivist”. Here is everything you need to know about him.

Who was Murray Melvin?

Best known for his work in theatre and film, Melvin was born in 1932 in London, and began his career in theatre in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He attended drama school at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, before joining the Theatre Workshop, which was led by Joan Littlewood.

In 1961, Melvin appeared in the film A Taste of Honey, directed by Tony Richardson and based on the play by Shelagh Delaney. He played the role of Geoffrey, the gay friend of the main character, and won the Best Actor award at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival for his performance.

Melvin continued to work in film and theatre throughout the 1960s and beyond, appearing in a variety of productions including The Devils, The Long Day Closes, and The Phantom of the Opera.

In addition to his work in theatre and film, Melvin also appeared on television, and had roles in a number of British TV shows, including Doctor Who, Midsomer Murders and Jonathan Creek.

Melvin also worked as a voice actor, and his distinctive voice can be heard in a number of animated films and television shows, including The Toad in The Wind in the Willows.

In addition to his acting career, Melvin has also worked as a writer, and has published several plays - including The Last Yankee, which was produced in London’s West End in 1993, and Brecht in Practice, which explores the work of the German playwright Bertolt Brecht - and a memoir.

Throughout his career, which spanned over six decades, Melvin was praised for his versatile and nuanced performances, and became a respected figure in British theatre and film.

How did he die?

Creative director Kerry Kyriacos Michael, who identified himself as the late actor’s next of kin to the PA news agency, said Melvin passed away at St Thomas’ Hospital in London at the age of 90, after he "never fully recovered" from a fall in December.

Who has paid tribute?

Following the announcement, Russell T Davies wrote on Instagram that Melvin was a “wonderful villain” in the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood that he created.

The Doctor Who showrunner added: “He lived through a century that saw the understanding of his identity change so profoundly, and he did so with dignity, class and wit. His last email to me ended, ‘Take care, we still cannot afford to take chances.’ Oh he was wise. Night, Murray.”

Barrowman, who played the lead as immortal captain Jack Harkness in the BBC science fiction series, wrote: “Murray Melvin, he always brought a cheeky warm smile to the Torchwood set and had the power to make us all laugh. What a glorious career and life but he will always be my ‘Bilis Manger servant of Abaddon’ RIP Murray.”

Melvin was also on the board of London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East along with acting in Joan Littlewood’s company Theatre Workshop in numerous roles including the musical Oh! What A Lovely War as well as A Taste Of Honey.

On Twitter, Stratford East wrote that it was “deeply saddened” by the death of the “passionate advocate of our theatre”. The theatre added: “He was on the board for 20 years, and dedicated much of his time in the last 30 years to the development and organisation of a rich theatre archive, which he painstakingly completed in early 2020.

“He will be greatly missed, although never forgotten.”