Gareth Thomas - Chronological - <1970

This section lists every professional appearance by Gareth Thomas that we have been able to trace. If you know of any additional material, dates, photos, events or anything interesting please contact Judith.

This section is continuously under development, with more details of Gareth's activities being added as we hear about them.

Note: the dates given for TV/Radio shows are where possible the first showing of the first episode where applicable, not when they were made.

RIPGareth has managed to die in a surprisingly large number of roles. The RIP symbol is shown against performances he is known to have died in.

Gareth has been known to bemoan the fact that he never gets to play lovers. The statistics seem to bear him out. Heart symbols indicate a romance, they appear to be heavily outnumbered by tombstones. (Parts where he is already married don't qualify. )

Gareth has said that he does't want to be thought of as just a Welsh actor, but as an actor who can do English and Welsh characters with equal ease. He has lived for a long time in England, and now in Scotland, after his early years in Wales. He has been cast in a lot of Welsh roles over the years. Leeks indicate Welsh parts.

Material here, comes from many sources including :- Blake's 7 magazine, Chris Blenkarn, Joyce Bowen, Sue Clerc, Robert Cheadle, Sue Cowley, Pat Fenech, The Freedom City Gazette (FCG), Horizon magazine, Julia Jones, Andrew Kearley, Gareth Randell, Judith Proctor, The Prydonian Renegade (March 96), Together Again - Action, TV Zone Special #4, Stellar Quines, Dundee Rep Theatre, Theatre Clwyd, The Magenta Partnership, Royal Lyceum Theatre - Edinburgh, Alan Stevens, Pete Wallbank, Andy Hopkinson, Mark Thompson, The Scottish Theatre Archive, Blake's 7 The Inside Story, The Archives of The Royal Shakespeare Company, Sheelagh Wells, Gareth Thomas and some very nice people who have asked not to be identified.

12 Feb 1945HistoryBorn in Wales
1964 - 1966HistoryAt RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts)

Note some of the plays below while at RADA were not full plays but sections from plays.

Gareth (Horizon NL#21): I actually got into acting by accident. I decided I wanted to carry on being a student, and I thought: well, I can't paint, so I'll try acting. I went back to one of my teachers at school who'd been in charge of drama, etc., and asked if he would coach me. I then auditioned for RADA, which was then the only drama school I knew existed in those days! I got into RADA, and one day halfway through the two year course, I was coming downstairs and found myself thinking: I quite like this game, it's rather fun! I then decided that as long as I could cope with my responsibilities financially, I might as well carry on acting. I've been fairly lucky, so I've kept going. But that was how I got in. Purely by accident, because I decided I wanted to go on being a student, and then was lucky enough to get into drama school.

Gareth (FCG#7): One of the teachers who was teaching so-called "technique"... There were sixteen people in the class, and he gave each of us a different Shakespeare speech, and he said to me, "During the course of the speech, Gareth, I want you to go away, learn it, work at it, come back, do it for me, and during the course of the speech I want you to stand on your head against the wall there, I want you to pick up this chair by the leg, I want you to walk three times down there, I want you to pick your nose," and various other things. We all sat there, "What's this?" However, when you're students, you go and you do what you're told. So we worked hard at our speeches, we came back and we did them. I did my speech, found a place where I thought it would be reasonable for Hamlet too actually do a handstand against the wall, picked up the chair, walked around and did everything else and he criticised: "That worked for me, that didn't work for me," and at the end of about three days, when we had all done our speeches, he said, "I dare say all of you are wondering what the fuck I've been doing. What a damned silly exercise! Well, I'll tell you what I've been doing. If you can make me belive all those damn silly things I asked you to do, you go out to the professional theatre, and anything any director ever asked you to do, you could make it work, and there aren't many people who can do that." That was the most valuable lesson I learned at RADA. If a diector tells me "On that word, I want you to move over there," I may disagree with him, I may argue, but I can make it work.

Stephen Grief (Blake's 7 the Inside Story): On the first day (at RADA), we were given a talk by the principal, then were told "Now you're starting your first term, and just to explain to you how things go here, somebody from the fourth term is going to give you a talk." In walked this guy with a beard, wearing a leotard; a very bouncy, smiley, jokey guy who put us at our ease right away, who said "Hello, my name is Gareth Thomas." He made all of us feel extremely relaxed and laughed and joked like we were part of a big club, and went through the general points of what we were to do in our first term. Then he got up and said goodbye, and we all felt very much at ease. I'll never forget that, and Gareth and I have remained good friends ever since.

Gareth talking to the Edinburgh News:"In my first theatre production my big scene involved walking on stage and opening a door for somebody. "I walked on to the stage, opened the door . . . and it came off its hinges. So at the end of my first ever professional stage appearance I had to pick up the door and walk off stage with it."

Note he was there for 7 terms spanning 1964 to 1966 we are not yet sure which are in which year.

1964 (1st Term)TheatreThe Winter's Tale While at RADA. He played The Shepherd and 2nd Lord.

1964 (2nd Term)TheatreOthello While at RADA. He played Iago and Roderigo.

1964 (2nd Term)TheatreTons of Money While at RADA. He played Aubrey Allington and Jiles
1965 (3rd Term)TheatreTwelfth Night While at RADA. He played Feste, the clown and The Sea Captain.

He mentioned Feste in Twelfth Night although it was his portrayal of the Sea Captain which was singled out for particular praise - according to the records of RADA.

1965 (3rd Term)TheatreWhere Angels Fear To Tread While at RADA. He played Gino Carella and Philip Henton
1965 (4th Term)TheatreThe Way Of The World While at RADA. he played Witword.
1965 (4th Term)TheatreIvanov While at RADA. He played the second guest
1965 (4th Term)TheatreThe Beggar's Opera While at RADA. He played Crook-Fingered Jack and the Turnkey
1965 (5th Term)TheatreRomeo and Juliet While at RADA. He played Benvolio.
1965 (5th Term)TheatreSt Joan Playing "Mgr de la Tremouille". While at RADA. He also gave the Epilogue.

1965 (5th Term)TheatreHamlet While at RADA. RIP

Gareth talking to Ken Armstrong in Blake's 7 magazine: I was playing the part of Laertes, working up to the big sword-fight where Laertes dies. The actor duelling with me lost part of the end of his blade, meaning his sword was six inches shorter than normal... and the rubber bung placed on tip for safety was also missing. As this happened in a flurry of sword blades, the audience did did not know a piece had broken off. By accident the now sharp blade grazed me and caused just a little bleeding.

The dramatic part happened, though, when I fell back on stage with the sword apparently in me. A woman in the front row stared at me, saw the sword was shorter than normal and that I was actually bleeding a little. She obviously thought the sword had really gone through me... and had a fit of hysterics! There, I thought to myself... I'm really getting through to the audience!

1966 (6th Term)TheatreA Night Out While at RADA. He played Sidney
1966 (6th Term)TheatreLook After Julie While at RADA. He played Valery
1966 (6th Term)TheatreLive Like Pigs While at RADA. He played Black Mouth.

1966 (6th Term)TheatreNo No Nanette While at RADA. He was in the chorus.

1966 (7th Term)TheatreMeasure for Measure While training as an actor at RADA, he played Angelo.
1966 (7th Term)Theatre
The Long, the Short and the Tall While at RADA. A play about soldiers by Willis Hall.
Gareth played Lance Corporal Macleish

1964-1966TheatreBarnstaple While at RADA.
1964-1966TheatreItalian Straw Hat While at RADA.
Mid 1966TheatreUnknown The first activity after leaving RADA was as understudy for the actor Peter Jones in a play at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.
Sep/Dec 1966TheatreAssistant stage manager For about 4 months, in 1966 Gareth was an assistant stage manager at the Liverpool playhouse. He was paid seven pounds 10 shillings a week for this job.
Dec 1966TheatreVarious Roles as part of the Liverpool playhouse company from December 1966 until sometime in 1967.
1967?TheatreAround the World in 80 Days at the Liverpool Playhouse. John Thaw was Phileas Fogg. Gareth did several walk on parts.
Dec 1966TheatreBrer Rabbit Gareth played Brer Bear at the Liverpool playhouse. This is thought to have been a theatre production for children. (December is an educated guess.)
1967TheatreThree Months Gone by Donald Howarth. At the Duchess Theatre, London West End. Gareth played a character in the 2nd act and understudied Alan Lake (Chel in Aftermath), who starred in the play with his wife Diana Dors. One day without ever rehearsing the lead and with only minutes' notice, he had to go on for Alan for a matinee performance. He says at one point during the play he and Dors were sitting on a couch in their underwear, she told him he was doing "f****** wonderful".
1967TVThe Prussian Officer. Granada TV. This was Gareth's first TV role.
11 Nov 1967TV
The Avengers: Murdersville(ABC - Associated British Corporation). The classic spy spoof series.

This was the 7th episode in the sixth season broadcast on ITV. (Some reference books incorectly list this as episode 23 of season 5 - these episodes were in fact filmed and broadcast in two blocks of 16 and 8 episodes respectively.) Gareth appears uncredited in a short scene, in a non-speaking but effective role. In Little Storping in the Swuff, a typically idyllic Avengers-type English country village, the locals have provided a haven for assassins and murderers. For a fee, they will turn a blind eye to any killings that occur in their village, and even help with the planning of the crimes. Gareth plays one of the killers taking advantage of their services. In his short scene, he waits silently in the village pub, wearing dark glasses and drinking a pint of beer, until the appointed hour when his victim arrives. Then he gets up, collects a shotgun from the landlord, and goes outside. We hear gunshots, then Gareth returns the gun to the landlord and calmly resumes drinking his beer.

After the shooting (32K)

Quatermass and the Pit (Hammer Films, 1967). Directed by Roy Ward Baker. Starring James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley (Dr. Plaxton in Stardrive) and Julian Glover (Kayn in Breakdown). An intelligent and literate sf thriller, adapted from the tv serial of the same name by Nigel Kneale. Prehistoric skeletons are unearthed during the excavation of a new London underground line, leading to unexpected discoveries about the true heritage of mankind - culminating in the resurrection of an ancient Martian lifeforce. Gareth has a non-speaking part near the beginning as one of the construction workers who discover the skeletons. The film was called 5 Million Years to Earth for US release. Gareth's part was filmed in July 1966.

This small part has been used as the trailer for the whole film.

Gareth to the Edinburgh Evening News 16 Jan 2000: "They built up this very expensive plaster of Paris tube station wall with real clay carefully put in and the alien skeleton set behind it.

"The director told me to take a pickaxe and hit the top of the clay so that the whole section of wall would fall away. He suggested a rehearsal first, and warned me not to actually hit the thing.

"So I swung the pick, stopped it dead an inch from the wall ... and the head flew off and smashed the whole thing. "There was a moment's absolute silence broken only by the director yelling "props'! It took three hours to rebuild."

The moment of discovery (62K)

Gareth interviewed by Joe Nazzaro in Horizon NL#33: There was one wonderful occasion, not long out of drama school, when I played a small part in Quatermass and the Pit; in fact it was before the title came up. I was in Los Angeles as a spear-holder for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and apparently the film had just been shown on television. I was walking down the street and somebody came up to me and said, "My God, I saw you last night! You were in that film Quatermass and the Pit!" I think they had cut most of my lines; I had something like two lines, and yet somebody had seen that and remembered it."

1960'sTV AdvertsSoap Powder and Beer

Gareth (Horizon NL#21): I've done some voice overs, and would love to do more, because you're not immediately identifiable. A lot of people disagree with me on this one, but my attitude and my agent's also, is not to do visual adverts because to do that you either have to be very careful what I say here - I don't mean it disparagingly - you either have to be unknown or very well known to get away with it. My agent once said to me: "I won't let you do adverts, because if I put you up for Hamlet - I'm too old for that now, that's just an example - if I put you up for Hamlet, it's going to be very difficult for the director to see you as Hamlet if he's seen you advertising washing powder five times a night for the last ten weeks." I could see his point, and so that has been my policy. When I was first into the business I did do a couple of adverts, but none since.

1 Apr 1968TheatreUnder Milk Wood at the Aldwych in London, with the RSC. Gareth has taken part in Under Milk Wood between 3 and 5 times.
27 June 1968TheatreDr Faustus (RSC, 1968) Gareth played 2nd scholar and Vintner in Dr Faustus for the RSC at Stratford on Avon. Stephen Greif was also involved, played Valdes also Rath (one of the seven deadly sins) and 5th scholor. Dr Faustus was played by Eric Porter.
1968TheatreKing Lear (RSC) Gareth plays first messenger, Stephen Grief plays a captain employed by Edmund. Patrick Stewart is also there as the Duke of Cornwall. Lear was played by Eric Porter, the director was Trevor Nunn.
1968TheatreMuch Ado About Nothing (RSC) Stephen Greif was also involved, part not known.
1968TheatreAs You Like It (RSC) Gareth plays a minor part falling into the category of "Lords, Attendants, Villagers" (so did Stephen Grief). Partrick Stewart played Touchstone the clown.

Program notes from the RSC programme: This production was first seen in June 1967 when it joined last year's Stratford season. The following month it moved into the RSC's London repertoire at the Aldwych Theatre, and then visited Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol and Cardiff, before returning to Stratford in the autumn. In the new year it went to America and played (with The Shrew) a six week season at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles. We have no reason to believe that Gareth was on any of these tours.

August 1968TheatreTroilus and Cressida RSC. Gareth was understudying Hector, and this play also had Stephen Greif understuding Alan Howard's Achilles. And further to GT's remark that Blake and Picard were together, that production also featured Sebastian Shaw (who played Annakin Skywalker at the end of the Star Wars trilogy) as Ulysses.

Gareth had two parts, he was playing Margarelon who is a son of Priam the King of Troy and according to the programme the prologue was done by Ian Dyson or Gareth Thomas. Cressida was played by Helen Mirrem.

Gareth in The Prydonian Renegrade: I've said this at conventions many times and nobody's ever picked it up and made an issue of it. In 1969 when I was 24 I was a spearholder at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the first time I went to the Royal Shakespeare Company. And there was a gentleman who was about five or six years older than me, and we were doing Troilus and Cressida and he was playing Hector, and I actually understudied him, and that was Pat Stewart. And the fact that Blake actually understudied Star Trek - but nobody's ever picked that up and I find it fascinating.

May 1969TheatreUnknown RSC on tour in Detroit, USA. They also went to Los Angeles and San Francisco as part of the same tour, the tour intended to go to New York but ended in Detroit as they could not fill the theatre in New York. (Last bit from Liz Freeland Drewery the stage Manager for the tour).

Dr Faustus and Much Ado About Nothing (See 1968) may have been on tour.

Gareth (FCG#7): I've been in Detroit years and years ago in 1969 with the RSC. They were wiring the blossoms on the trees, because it was May Day. Outside Hudson's, I think. It was the first time that I got somewhere, and they wouldn't take money. "What do you mean, you won't take money?" and they said, "You've got to have a credit card!" I said, "I don't have a credit card. I'm English!"

1969 - 1970TVParkin's Patch (Yorkshire TV). He was a regular in this series. 26 episodes made in total and broadcast from 19 Sep 1969 until 20 Mar 1970. He played a detective.

1969-1973TVA Family at War Granada - either 8 1hr episodes or 13 episodes per year. Story of a family during WW II. No information as to Gareth's role. Gareth (Horizon NL#21): I'd been in the pub with the script editor some weeks before, and somebody came in and said: "Gareth, you're needed." I downed my pint in about four or five seconds, and the script editor said: "Hey, that's damned good" We'll get that into the script for the character." So stupidly, in my young days, I said: "Yes, yes, fine, jolly good idea!" and lo and behold a few scripts later, in came this scene of me in a pub drinking a pint quickly. The scene immediately prior to that was me at breakfast having bacon and eggs. So of course we came to the rehearsal and I have bacon and eggs and then I go to the next scene and knock back a pint. Then we come to the actual take and I go and have bacon and eggs and down another pint. Then we do a retake - by which time I need a bucket! (Laughs). That was a very salutary lesson.
30 Oct 1970TVZ Cars: Public Relations BBC police drama.
1970TheatreBlack Comedy At the Gate Theatre in Dublin and the Lyric in Belfast, Gareth played Brindsley

This was a double bill, together with Decameron (the 77th story of the Decameron).

Gareth (Horizon NL#21): In it I was playing a sort of roving jester, who literally wandered out and ad-libbed in the audience and all sorts of things, as well as being the link-man. And the review raved about this Decameron, raved and raved about it, but never mentioned me at all. Then there was a break in the paragraph and the next paragraph was about Black Comedy, and it started off: 'What more can we say about Mr. Thomas?' and that was it! Somebody pointed this out to me and I thought 'That's ridiculous, they haven't said anything about me!' So the stage manager phoned up the newspaper, and I got a charming letter from this lady reviewer - can't remeber her name now - showing me the original review, which the newspaper editor had slashed without reading it at all. Just took a chunk out, because they didn't have space. And in fact, it had been an absolutely wonderful review! Hence, 'What more can we say about Mr. Thomas?'.

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Last updated on 06th of May 2002.