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Born on April 23, 1907 in Lonuvla, India and raised in Scotland.
Also known as James Hoyter
Height: 5' 5"
Died on March 27, 1983 in Spain.


TV Appearances

(2002)Heroes of Comedy
(1978)The Light Princess (Voice)
(1978-1980)Under the Same Sun (Narrator/Voice)
(1976)The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones (Briggs)
(1974)Charles Dickens' World of Christmas

(1974)"Father Brown" - The Three Tools of Death (Sir Aaron Armstrong)
(Playing alongside Kenneth More)
All 8 images ©Associated Television (ATV)

(1973)Stars on Sunday-Glories of Christmas
(1973)"Hunter's Walk" - Discretion (Davenport)

(1972)Burke and Hare (Dr. Selby)

(1971)Not Tonight, Darling (Mr. Finlay)

(1971-1974)"The Onedin Line" (Capt. Webster)

The Wind Blows Free

All 13 images ©BBC

(1971)"Doctor at Large" - You've Really Landed Me in It This Time (Dr. Neilson)
© London Weekend Television (LWT)

(1971)Blood on Satan's Claw (Squire Middleton)
Both images ©Tigon British Film Productions

(1971)The Firechasers (Inspector Herman)
(1970)"The Adventures of Don Quick" - The Higher the Fewer (Hendenno)

(1970)The Horror of Frankenstein (Bailiff)
Both images ©EMI Films

(1970)Song of Norway (Butler to Berg)

(With Elizabeth Larner)
Both images © American Broadcasting Company (ABC) /ABC Pictures

(1970)"Dr. Finlay's Casebook" - Comin' Thro' the Rye (Robsart)
(1970)For the Love of Ada-Another Man (Herbert Jackson)
(1970)"Wicked Women" - Florence Maybrick (Dr. Macrae)
(1970)The Worker-The Seige of Kidney Street (Belltower)

(1969)David Copperfield (Porter)
©20th Century Fox Television

(1969)"The Flaxton Boys" (Nathan) 
---- 1854: The Patient
---- 1854: The Seafarer
---- 1854: The Smugglers
---- 1854: The Tutor
---- 1854: The Watcher
---- 1854: The Deserter  
---- 1854: The Dog
(1969)"Rogues' Gallery" - A Bed-Full of Miracles (Dr. Howard)
(1968)"Tickertape" Ep 1.11

(1968)Oliver! (Mr. Jessop)

All 4 images ©Romulus Films

(1967)A Challenge for Robin Hood (Friar Tuck)
©Seven Arts Pictures/Hammer Films

(1967)Stranger in the House/Cop-Out (Harry Hawkins)

(1967)"The Avengers" - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station (Ticket Collector)

(with Patrick Mcnee)
(with Tim Barret)
All 12 images ©Associated British Corporation/ABC Weekend Television

(1967)Cop-Out (Harley Hawkins)
(1967)World of Wodehouse Blandings Castle: Pig Hoo-oo-ey! (Smithers)
(1963)The Dickie Henderson Show-The Country Cottage
(1962)The Dickie Henderson Show-The Protest
(1962)Out of the Fog/Fog for a Killer (Daniels)

(1962)Go to Blazes (Pipe Smoker)
© Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC)

(1960)"Man from Interpol" - Escape Route (Henry Roper)
(1959)The Captain's Table (Earnshaw)
(1959)"The Moonstone" (Gabriel Betteredge)
(1959)Fly Away Peter (Mr. Hapgood)

(1959)The 39 Steps (Mr. Memory)

All 4 images ©The Rank Organisation

(1959)The Boy and the Bridge (Tugboat Skipper)
(1959)The Last Chronicle of Barset (Mr Toogood)
(1958)The Key (Locksmith)
(1958)Sailor of Fortune-Hearse at High Noon (Priest)

(1958)I Was Monty's Double/Hell, Heaven or Hoboken (Sgt. Adams)
©Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC)

(1958)Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Presents, "Fair Game" - The Carleon Country Club (Mr. Shaw)

(1958)Gideon's Day/Gideon of Scotland Yard (Robert Mason)
Both images © Columbia British Productions/Columbia Pictures Corporation

(1958)"O.S.S." - Operation Eel (Jones)
(1957)Sail Into Danger
(1957)El Aventurero (Monty)
(1957)The Heart Within (Grandfather Willard)
(1957)"The Adventures of Robin Hood" - The Road in the Air (Tom the Miller)
(1957)"Huntingtower" (Dickson McCunn)

(1957)Carry on Admiral/The Ship Was Loaded (Member of Parliament)
©George Minter Productions

(1957)Seven Waves Away/Abandon Ship ('Cookie' Morrow)
Both images ©Copa Productions

(1957)Mañana (Silvestre-el Sereno)

(1958)The Big Money (Mr. Frith)

All 5 images ©The Rank Organisation

(1956)Great Game
(1956)"The Adventures of Robin Hood" - The Haunted Mill (Tom the Miller)
(1956)It's a Wonderful World (Bert Fielding)

(1956)Port Afrique (Nino)
©Coronado Productions

(1956)Keep It Clean (Mr. Bouncenboy)
(1955)Touch and Go (Kimball)

(1955)"The Vise" -The Benevolent Burglar
(1955)See How They Run (Bishop of Lax)

(1955)Land of the Pharaohs (Mikka/Vashtar's Servat)

(with James Robinson Justice)
All 7 images©Continental Company

(1955)The Adventures of Robin Hood (Tom the Miller)
(1955)Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
(1954)"Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents"/Rheingold Theatre - The Awakening (The Chief)

(1954)Beau Brummell (Mortimer)
©Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

(1954)For Better, for Worse/Cocktails in the Kitchen (The Plumber)
(1954)Always a Bride (Dutton)
(1953)Always a Bride (Dutton)
(1953)A Day to Remember (Fred Collins)
(1953)Will Any Gentleman...? (Dr. Smith)

(1953)Four Sided Triangle (Dr. Harvey)

All 11 images ©Hammer Film Productions

(1953)The Triangle (Henry Popple)
(1953)The Great Game (Joe Lawson)

(1952)The Pickwick Papers (Samuel Pickwick) BAFTA nomination+ Best British actor in 1953

Both images © George Minter Productions

(1952)The Crimson Pirate (Professor Prudence)

(with Burt Lancaster)

(Can you imagine how many rehearsals this took to get right?! Lol)

©Hecht-Lancaster Productions

(1952)Walt Disney's The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (Friar Tuck)
(See Gallery below for more images/stills from this movie).
©RKO Radio Pictures, Walt Disney Productions

(1952)I'm a Stranger (Horatio Flowerdew)

(1951)Calling Bulldog Drummond (Bill)
©Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios

(1951)Flesh & Blood (Sir Douglas Manley)
(1951)Tom Brown's School Days (Old Thomas)
(1951)Maniacs on Wheels (Pa Fox)
(1950)The Woman with No Name/Her Panelled Door (Capt. Bradshawe)
(1950)Eye Witness/Your Witness(Prouty, Trial Witness)
(1950)Trio (Albert Foreman)
(1950)Morning Departure
(1950)The Verger (Trio)
(1950)Waterfront Women (Ship's captain)

(1950)Night and the City (Figler, King of the Beggars)

All 6 images ©Twentieth Century-Fox Productions

(1950)Operation Disaster/Morning Departure (Able Seaman Higgins)

All 9 images ©Jay Lewis Productions

(1949)Dear Mr. Prohack (Carrell Quire)

Both images ©Wessex Film Productions

(1949)Don't Ever Leave Me (Man with Summons)
(1949)For Them That Trespass (John Craigie 'Jocko' Glenn)

(1949)The Spider and the Fly (Mayor)
All 3 images ©Pinewood Films/Mayflower Productions

(1949)Passport to Pimlico (Commissionaire)
© Ealing Studios/J. Arthur Rank Organisation

(1949)All Over the Town (Baines)
©Wessex Film Productions

(1949)Bonnie Prince Charlie (Kingsburgh)
© London Film Productions

(1949)The Blue Lagoon (Doctor Murdoch)
(1949)Once a Jolly Swagman/Maniac on Wheels (Pa Fox)
(1949)The Spider and the Fly (Mayor)

(1948)The Fallen Idol

All 3 images ©London Film Productions

(1948)Woman Hater (Mr. Burrell)
(1948)Quartet (Sprecher der Schoffen)
(1948)The Fallen Idol (Perry)
(1948)A Song for Tomorrow (Nicholas Klausmann)
(1948)My Brother Jonathan (Tom Morse)
(1948)Silent Dust (Pringle)
(1948)Vice Versa (Bandmaster)
(1948)No Room at the Inn (Councilor Trouncer)
(1947)The End of the River (Chico)

(1947)The October Man (Garage man)
©Two Cities Films

(1947)Captain Boycott (Music Hall Comic)
(1947)The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Ned Cheeryble/Charles Cheeryble)

(1947)The Ghosts of Berkeley Square (Captain Dodds)
©British National Films

(1947)The Mark of Cain (Dr. White)

All 3 images ©Two Cities Films

(1947)Nicholas Nickleby (twins Ned and Charles Cheeryble)
(1946)School for Secrets/Secret Flight (Warrant Officer)
(1946)"Pinwright's Progress" (Mr. J. Pinwright) NOTE: World's first 1/2 hour comedy sitcom. See under Real Life Facts/Trivia for more info and image from the series.
(1946)The Laughing Lady (Ostler, Turk's Head)
(1940)Three Cockeyed Sailors (Hans Muller)
(1940)Band Waggon
(1940)Murder in the Night (Nick Green)
(1940)Sailors Three (Actor)
(1939)Come on George! (Barker)
(1939)Behind the Schemes (Lord Fosdyke)
(1939)A Night at the Hardcastles/She Stoops to Conquer (Tony Lumpkin)
(1939)Murder in Soho (Nick Green)
(1938)The Moon in the Yellow River (Captain Potts)
(1938)Marigold (Peter Cloag)
(1938)Red Peppers (Bert Bentley)
(1937)Ad Lib
(1937)Big Fella (Chuck)
(1937)Aren't Men Beasts
(1936)Sensation (Jock)

(????)The Forsyte Saga
(????)The Moonstone
(????)The Avengers

Images in this section used with permission from:
Julian Knott

anonymous contributers

AYBS Stats

AYBS timeframe: 1978


"By Appointment"
"The Club"
"Do You Take This Man"?
"Shedding the Load"
"A Bliss Girl"
"Happy Returns"


(1992)The Best of 'Are You Being Served?'

(Used with permission from Tony who runs a blog at:

Magazine/Newspaper Covers/Articles

James Hayter

In his early seventies, James Hayter was travelling by coach to London when the driver said "I know you - you're Mr Kipling, aren't you?", and heads craned round to see the owner of that famously fruity voice. Hayter wryly replied, "Yes, but I have done a few other things in my fifty-two years in the business!" He was then in Robin Midgley's company at the Leicester Haymarket, reviewed by Bernard Levin for his cameo role in Crime and Punishment - "James Hayter as the drunken, tragic Marmeladov is the triumph of the evening, and I cannot imagine many evenings of which such acting would not be the triumph. Indeed, he is not acting at all; he has stepped, living and entire, from those terrible pages, and for his single, overwhelming scene the whole book comes on to the stage with him".

Hayter was born near Lahore, India in 1907, the son of a police commissioner stationed at Simla, and was sent 'home' to school at Dollar Academy at the age of seven. He went to RADA in 1924 and then trod the road taken by so many actors of his era- doing his apprenticeship years in repertory theatre, graduating to the West End, and thence to films and finally to television. After seasons with Northampton Rep, Dundee and Sir Barry Jackson's Repertory Company in Birmingham he went to Perth with his own company; he was Manager, Producer and Actor twice nightly with a different play each week, and in 1935 returned to the Birmingham Rep. He progressed to the West End in 1936, playing Andrew Young, a young Scots composer, in The Composite Man at Day's Theatre, and this led to his first film part, as a Scots reporter in Sensation.

He served with the Royal Armoured Corps throughout the war, and after demob appeared in The Dove and the Carpenter, directed by Alec Clunes. Many theatre appearances were to follow, and in 1951 Jimmy made his debut on the New York stage as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet at the Broadhurst Theatre, Broadway, opposite Olivia de Havilland's Juliet. 

His longest-running stage role (8 times a week, 2,415 appearances in total) was Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady, taking over from Stanley Holloway in the original Drury Lane production of 1959 and playing for 5 years in the West End and on tour. The London News Chronicle wrote: "Hayter is a chubbier, kindlier old rascal of a dustman, with a lovely bronchial wheeze and a tragic look of glassy misery when in the thralls of middle-class morality".

Hayter appeared in over 100 films, among his more notable being Big Fella with Paul Robeson and Elisabeth Welch, The Crimson Pirate with Burt Lancaster, Land of the Pharaohs with Jack Hawkins and James Robertson Justice, Nicholas Nickleby in which he played both Cheeryble twins, The Verger- one of Somerset Maugham's Trio, Pickwick Papers (leading a marvellous cast including Nigel Patrick, James Donald, Kathleen Harrison, Joyce Grenfell, Athene Seyler and Donald Wolfit), Walt Disney's Robin Hood with Richard Todd, The Blue Lagoon with Donald Houston and Jean Simmons, and Morning Departure with John Mills and Richard Attenborough. Dilys Powell wrote of The Verger: "James Hayter ... does not rank in public estimation as a star. But Mr Hayter is much more than a star: he is an actor. And in The Verger he seems not to act, but to be the decent, circumscribed little man who so enjoyably turns the tables on his pompous vicar..."

His extensive television work over the decades included the lead in Pinwright's Progress, British television's first authentic half-hour situation comedy series; a mad train conductor hell-bent on the assassination of the Prime Minister in an episode of The Avengers (Diana Rigg vintage); and James Onedin’s doughty father-in-law in The Onedin Line. He was delighted to be brought in for the sixth series of BBC Television's Are You Being Served? as the cantankerous Mr Tebbs, but J Walter Thompson were soon in touch with his agent to communicate that their Kipling Cakes account was less thrilled with the shadow it might cast on the avuncular and long-established image of Mr Kipling, and he was consequently bought out of the programme for an agreed sum.

Having worked long and hard at his profession, Jimmy was tickled pink to be paid for not working! He was sustained in his later years by voice-over work. Older readers may recall his Persil years (“What is a mum? Persil makes the care a mother takes worthwhile. Persil washes whiter - and it shows”); the Heineken campaign in the 1960s where he appeared as a cardigan-clad publican behind the lager pump - ("There's a terrific draught in here!") and, most famously, "Mr Kipling does make exceedingly good cakes!".

Jimmy retired to Spain in the early 1970s, and flew back to the UK when work beckoned, but died in his sleep in 1983 at Villajoyosa at the age of 76. With eight children to support, life had not been without anxiety, but he had enjoyed his last years in the sun.

This article was first published in The Stage newspaper (UK), on their Heydays page.

Cinema Museum excerpt:

(Both articles, letter, and images above as well as the portrait image at top used with kind permission from Judith Johnson who has a blog about her Dad at:

(Used with permission from Tony who runs a blog at:


Real Life Facts/Trivia

-Son of a police superintendent.

-In Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

-Served in the Royal Armoured Corps.

(Michael (For letting me use this image of James Hayter and info from his Swalwelluk website)).

-Starred in the world's first 1/2 hour comedy sitcom created in 1946-1947 called "Pinwright's Progress". First aired live on the BBC on November 29th 1946 and was not recorded. There were 10 episodes made total.

James Hayter's image from the show can be seen here.

AYBS related trivia

Before coming to Gentleman's department at Grace Brothers he spent:

10 years in Bathroom Fittings
18 months in Soft Furnishings
3 in Footwear
Modernized Greeting Cards and Novelties for some time.
4 years in Bedding

Scrap Book

TV Plays

(1959)Armchair Theatre– You'll Never See Me Again (Joe Alden)
(1959)BBC Sunday Night Theatre-The Exiles #1: The Bird Laughed (Matthew Cayley)
(1958)Armchair Theatre
– The Sins of Simone
– Murder Story
(1956)Armchair Theatre– It's an Ill Wind (Bert Taylor)
(1956)"Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents" /Rheingold Theatre- Welcome My Wife (Brannigan)
(1955)BBC Sunday Night Theatre-The The Fifty Mark (John Meredith)
(1955)"Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents"/Rheingold Theatre - Enchanted Doll
(1955)Rheingold Theatre-Crime a la Carte (Al Hosmer)
(1954)Rheingold Theatre-Rain Forest (Heavy)
(1953)"Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents" - A Priceless Pocket (Henry Popple)


(Late 1920's)"1066 and All That"

(Late 1920's)"French Without Tears"

(1925)"My Fair Lady" Pygmalion at Drury Lane Theatre (Alfred Doolittle)

(1968)Oh Clarence! at the Lyric Theatre

(1978-1979-tour)"Dandy Dick" The Cambridge Theatre Company, UK

(Image courtesy of Janina Faye whose site can be seen here at:


(Used with permission from Tony who runs a blog at:


(Two images above used with permission from an anonymous contributer).

Thanks to Joe for permission to use the above image.

Thanks to Ian ( for permission to use the above images.