From Capt Scarlet to Morecambe & Wise: Francis Matthews, a life in clips
Suave and effortlessly elegant, Francis Matthews epitomised urbane Middle England. And yet the actor, who has died aged 86, was the son of a Rowntrees factory worker from York.
He played everything from horror to high comedy in a long career. Here’s a look at some of his most memorable moments.
The Lamp in Assassin Mews (1962)
Francis Matthews was born in York on September 2, 1927 and went to St George’s Primary School. He later attended St Michael’s Jesuit College in Leeds before starting his acting career in Leeds Rep.
This is one of his early film roles, a comedy with a macabre edge from the prolific Danzinger Brothers.
Francis played modernising councillor Jack Norton who comes to the attention of a couple of elderly serial killers when he plans to remove a gas lamp outside their home.
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
Francis starred in several classic Hammer horrors, here lured to the castle of Dracula, played by Christopher Lee.
In the same year the two starred together again in Rasputin: the Mad Monk.
Captain Scarlet (1967-68)
Between 1967 and 1968 Francis voiced the role of Captain Scarlet in Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, the Gerry Anderson TV series.
“Scarlet was rather straight-forwardly good looking – dark haired, blue eyed, firm-featured and kind of cultured,” he explains in this documentary.
“So I made him this kind of Cary Grant type character.”
The Paul Temple Collection (1969-71)
Paul Temple, the crime writer and amateur private detective created by Francis Durbridge, was originally a hugely popular radio serial, running from the 1930s to 1960s.
Then the BBC turned it into a TV series starring Francis as Paul Temple. Ros Drinkwater played his wife Steve, employing her feminine intuition to help him solve cases.
Morecambe & Wise
Francis was in the Morecambe & Wise movies The Intelligence Men (1965) and That Riviera Touch (1966), and became a good friend of Eric Morecambe.
He also appeared in Eric & Ernie’s Christmas show in 1977.