Back to voice-work now, and what a voice. The barely disguised tones of Brian Blessed boomed from the auditorium speakers as Mexborough’s finest became grouchy Gungan supremo Boss Nass in The Phantom Menace.
His 1980 performance in Flash Gordon has become the stuff of cinematic legend of course, but Blessed also portrayed King Richard in BBC’s 1983 sitcom The Black Adder, joyfully bellowing lines in his own inimitable style.
But Star Wars‘ comedy connections didn’t begin with the prequel-era. Back in 1983, Jabba The Hutt’s flamboyant dancer Yarna d’al’ Gargan in Return Of The Jedi was portrayed by Claire Davenport, perhaps more recognisable to audiences as Mrs. Wilson from BBC’s Fawlty Towers.
Claire only appeared in ‘The Germans’ episode (and had a wide and varied career across television and cinema elsewhere), but the rewatch value of Fawlty Towers is such that her deftly delivered lines are enough to forever secure a place in the Torquay hotel every bit as much as the Galaxy Far, Far Away…
Staying at Fawlty Towers, and in a markedly more sizeable role, Bruce Boa played tourist Harry Hamilton, who spent the ‘Waldorf Salad’ episode trying to order the titular dish and an American cocktail in a 1970s British hotel.
But Bruce was also the face of the Rebellion’s General Rieekan, leading the evacuation of Echo Base in The Empire Strikes Back. And at least if he manages to get a Screwdriver on Hoth, it should arrive nicely chilled…
And because it would be rude (negligent, even) to leave out A New Hope, our final entry in the list spotlights the fleeting appearance of Mr. Harry Fielder, the laundry van driver (he’s the chap on the left) from Fawlty Towers ‘The Kipper And The Corpse’ episode, something of a demotion from his stint on the Death Star a couple of years previously (he’s the chap on the right).
But there are no small parts in classic comedy, and certainly none in Star Wars. To those who’ve made us laugh on Earth then gasp among the stars, May The Force Be With You…
So, who did we miss? Which other Brit-com stalwarts are lurking in the back of a cantina or Imperial installation? Let us know in the comments below!