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For The Love Of StoriesBig Finish produce fantastic full-cast audio dramas for CD and download.

Actor and director Murray Melvin had a long and distinguished career in theatre, film and television. In the early part of his stage career, he was probably best known for his work with Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workship in the 1950s, which led to breakthrough roles in film adaptations of plays such as A Taste of Honey, Sparrows Can’t Sing and Alfie.  

A reputation as a great character actor and an instantly recognisable voice led to many guest appearances in popular TV series including The Avengers, Jonathan Creek and, most familiar to Big Finish listeners, as the sinister Bilis Manger in Torchwood. The latter role was recreated by Murray in a number of audio dramas, including the forthcoming Among Us series, due to begin in May 2023.  

Lisa Bowerman, who directed Murray in Torchwood: Dead Plates, paid the following tribute:  

“Where can you start? How can you possibly compress how you feel about an actor you’ve admired your whole life into a paragraph? As I’ve said on social media, I don’t use the word ‘legend’ lightly – but he really was the genuine article. From first being aware of him with his beautiful performance in A Taste of Honey, through his charismatic performances in all his other films not to mention his work with the legendary Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal Stratford East – and that face; like a striking Modigliani portrait. You simply couldn’t take your eyes off him. 

“My sadness is that I had only just started to get to know Murray in the last year. I’d begged producer James Goss to give me an opportunity to work with him at some point and the experience of directing him on a couple of occasions did not disappoint. They say never meet your heroes – but I was delighted that, that particular truism didn’t meet its usual disappointing promise. 

“Murray was everything you could have wished for. Kind, entertaining, immaculate – and of course a wonderful actor. We had the opportunity to celebrate his 90th birthday in studio with cake, flowers and champagne – supplied by James and I’d heard on the grapevine that he was due to be joining the Bernice Summerfield range, which was something I’d been looking forward to immensely. Alas, fate had other plans. Others knew him better than I – but we all mourn his loss desperately. RIP Murray… even for 90… too soon.” 

On Twitter, Big Finish producer James Goss contributed his own memories:  

“Kind, energetic, commander of any restaurant he sat in. Happily recorded during lockdown perched on bongos. I'll miss his gossipy emails containing the summons to lunch with menaces. An absolute privilege to have known him.” 

And director Scott Handcock, who worked with Murray on many occasions, added the following on Facebook:  

“Heartbroken to hear about Murray Melvin’s passing. It’s preoccupied me a lot today. But so it should. He was a marvel. 'We did have such fun,' he said the other week. And we did. He was a gentleman, and such fierce talent. Effortlessly delightful. I’ll miss him hugely.” 

There is a celebration of Murray Melvin in this week’s Big Finish podcast, including a recent interview, which can be downloaded here

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