One of my online roles seems to be as an unofficial Keeper of the Flame for John Boorman’s film Excalibur, which I’ve written about here, and here, and here. So I was saddened to learn this week of the death of its star, Nigel Terry. A west country lad and a superb actor, he made a magnificent Arthur, convincing and passionate all the way from callow youth to sorrowful old age.
When I first saw the film I imagined he would go on to star in dozens of other big movies, but although he was a fine Caravaggio a few years later in the Derek Jarman film, I lost track of him for many years after that, until the 1990s, when he began turning up from time to time on TV. He was Svidrigailov in a BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment and Mr Boldwood in ITV’s Far From The Madding Crowd, where he appeared alongside actor-turned-excellent-YA-author Andy Robb (who wrote on Facebook yesterday that he was ‘one of the funniest men I’ve ever met – and possibly the most miserable bastard to walk the earth’. (He also turned up in a Dr Who episode – I must have missed that one.) And, although he seems to have been quite a private and reclusive man, he appeared along with the rest of the Excalibur cast in the Behind the Sword in the Stone documentary (which I wish I could link to, but it’s still in search of a distribution deal).
Anyway, he was a fine actor, and he will always be King Arthur to me.
Here is a link to the Guardian’s obituary.