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Kenneth Waller obituary

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He only achieved national fame comparatively late in life, but Kenneth Waller, who has died at the age of 72, enjoyed a long and busy career on both stage and television.

Born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, on November 5, 1927, after National Service in the RAF, Waller worked for a firm of auctioneers. Experience in local rep at the Oxford Playhouse encouraged him to move to London, where he made his West End debut in Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds' 1957 musical Free as Air.

He was later in the original cast of Give a Dog a Bone (1964), and took over roles in various other London productions such as Salad Days and Anne of Green Gables.

Waller was also associated with the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, but always looked forward to the times when his work took him on location further afield, including Rome, India and Scandinavia.

An excellent pianist and an ardent lover of classical and choral music, he was extremely knowledgeable on the subject of oratorio and sang with Anthony Bowles' Actors Choir and, more recently, the BBC Choir. He also appeared as the Narrator in Peter and the Wolf, and Carl Davis composed a special concert piece, Duck's Diary, for him.

From the fifties through to the seventies, he had several modest roles in films, but it was on television that he eventually made his mark. His unusual character face became increasingly familiar in Coronation Street (as Curly Watts' dad), Terry and June. Juliet Bravo, Dr Who, All Creatures Great and Small and Big Deal, and in 1981 he joined the cast of the hit comedy series Are You Being Served? as Old Mr Grace.

Five years later, he became a household name as Grandad in Carla Lane's Liverpool sitcom Bread, and his catchphrase, "Where's me tea?". quickly caught on with the viewing public. Ironically, he was then only 53, but as soon as he became a pensioner himself he delighted in discovering every concession available and passing the information on to his large circle of friends.

Despite his television fame, Waller never lost his affection for Yorkshire, taking great pride in retaining both his accent and his many friends within the Huddersfield Choral Society. He also stayed in touch with the theatre, touring successfully with Barbara Windsor in Joe Orton's classic black comedy Entertaining Mr Sloane and appearing in a musical version of Beauty and the Beast at the Opera House, Manchester, in 1998.

His death came after a brief illness. He was unmarried.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Burford, Ian (2000-02-17). Kenneth Waller obituary. The Stage p. 35.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Burford, Ian. "Kenneth Waller obituary." The Stage [add city] 2000-02-17, 35. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Burford, Ian. "Kenneth Waller obituary." The Stage, edition, sec., 2000-02-17
  • Turabian: Burford, Ian. "Kenneth Waller obituary." The Stage, 2000-02-17, section, 35 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Kenneth Waller obituary | url= | work=The Stage | pages=35 | date=2000-02-17 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=29 February 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Kenneth Waller obituary | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=29 February 2024}}</ref>