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Valentine Dyall

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1985-06-26 Times.jpg


Distinctive voice in theatre and broadcasting

Valentine Dyall, actor of stage and screen ,and a notable broadcaster, died on June 24 aged 77. His distinctive voice became known to a wide audience when in the popular radio series, Appointment with Fear, he opened in a deep, deliberate boom with the words: "This is your story-teller - The Man in Black."

This was only one incident in his career. Son of the actor, Franklin Dyall, he had much of his father's commanding and saturnine quality. He brought his authoritative voice and tall, impressive presence to parts as different as Macbeth and Abanazar in the pantomime The Wonderful Lamp. In the film Henry V he was the Duke of Burgundy with a memorable speech at the last; and more recently he played the part of The Black Guardian in the television series Dr Who.

Born on May 7, 1908, he was educated at Harrow and Christ. Church, Oxford (taking a degree in law) and he played Macbeth in 1930 for the OUDS, of which he was secretary. It was obvious that he would become a professional actor, though he had only minor parts on joining the Old Vic and Sadlers Wells company in 1930.

He soon established himself elsewhere. In 1931 he took over Surtees Cook in The Barretts of Wimpole Street at the Queen's. The following year he was in the fullscale Julius Caesar at His Majesty's and later the same year played Hastings in She Stoops to Conquer at the Kingsway. For a time at the end of 1934 he succeeded Laurence Olivier as Anthony Cavendish in Theatre Royal.

Later he appeared in a variety of parts that moved between Joe Gascoyne in My Son's My Son at the Playhouse (1936) and Oliver in the Old Vic's As You Like It at the New Theatre in 1937. Already he had begun to show himself a ready radio actor; though his first part consisted only of one word, he

was said to have shown such promise that the single word was expanded to seven. Later he became known for his poetry readings, for many plays and features and for the cavernous-voiced "Man In Black".

Mainly in radio and films between 1941-54, he returned to his run of stage parts in October, 1954, when he was Brother Dominic in Joan of Arc at the Stake at the Stoll. In 1955 he played Morton in The Sun Of York (a play at the Royal Court designed to clear the name of Richard III) and in December, 1956 he was, full throatedly, Abanazar at the Palladium.

Thereafter, one may think first of his Lord Fortnum of Alamein (with Spike Milligan) in The Bed-Sitting Room (1963); Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers Rise Again (1969); and Dr Rance in Joe Orton's revived What The Butler Saw (1975).

He wrote three books, Unsolved Mysteries (1954), Famous Sea Tragedies (1955), and Flood of Mutiny (1957). His more recent appearances on television included The Secret Army and Agatha Christie's The Body in the Library.

He was married three times, latterly after the death of his second wife to Kay Woodman.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (1985-06-26). Valentine Dyall. The Times .
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Valentine Dyall." The Times [add city] 1985-06-26. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Valentine Dyall." The Times, edition, sec., 1985-06-26
  • Turabian: "Valentine Dyall." The Times, 1985-06-26, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Valentine Dyall | url= | work=The Times | pages= | date=1985-06-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Valentine Dyall | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024}}</ref>