Bernard Kay
Publicity shot, c. 1955
Bernard Frederic Bemrose Kay

(1928-02-23)23 February 1928
Bolton, Lancashire, England
Died25 December 2014(2014-12-25) (aged 86)
London, England
Years active1950–2010
(m. 1963; died 1977)

Bernard Frederic Bemrose Kay (23 February 1928 – 25 December 2014) was an English actor with an extensive theatre, television, and film repertoire.[1]


Kay began his working life as a reporter for the Bolton Evening News, and a stringer for the Manchester Guardian.[2] He was conscripted in 1946 and started acting in the army. Kay gained a scholarship to study at the Old Vic Theatre School and became a professional in 1950, as a member of the company which reopened the Old Vic after World War II.

He appeared in hundreds of TV productions including Emmerdale Farm, The Champions, The Cellar and the Almond Tree, Clayhanger, A Very British Coup, Casualty, Casualty 1909, Doctors, Z-Cars, Coronation Street, Jonathan Creek, Foyle's War and London's Burning in 1989. He also portrayed a mutant in the Space: 1999 episode "A Matter of Balance".

He portrayed Captain Stanley Lord of the SS Californian in the BBC dramatisation Trial by Inquiry: Titanic in 1967.

The 1970s saw Kay play the role of Philip Bentley in The Protectors episode A Pocketful of Posies (1973) and appear as the underworld crime boss Harry Scott in an episode of the hard-hitting British police drama The Professionals, the episode entitled When the Heat Cools Off (1978).

Later television credits include as bandit leader Cordova in the Zorro television episode "Alejandro Rides Again" in 1991 which was filmed in Madrid, Spain. Kay also gave a sympathetic performance as Korporal Hartwig in an early episode of Colditz.[citation needed]

Kay appeared four times in the Doctor Who series in various roles, most notably as Saladin in the classic Doctor Who story The Crusade in 1965. He also appeared in the serials The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964), The Faceless Ones (1967) and Colony in Space (1971).[3] In 2006, he guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio adventure Night Thoughts.[2]

His best-known film appearance was his role as a Bolshevik leader in Doctor Zhivago (1965).[2]


He also acted extensively on the stage. In 1952, for the Nottingham Rep, he learned, rehearsed, and played Macbeth in less than 24 hours. In 1984, he played Shylock in a British Council tour of Asia, ending in Baghdad, in the middle of the Iraq/Iran war. Other theatre includes An Inspector Calls (Garrick Theatre), Macbeth (Nottingham Playhouse), Titus Andronicus (European Tour), A Man for All Seasons (International Tour), The Merchant of Venice (International Tour), Galileo (Young Vic), Death of a Salesman (Lyric Theatre, Belfast)—for which he was nominated as best actor in the RITA awards in 1998—and Halpern and Johnson (New End Theatre). He twice appeared at the Finborough Theatre in London: in 2006 in After Haggerty and in 2010 in Dream of the Dog.[4]

Personal life

Bernard Kay was married to the actress Patricia Haines from 1963 until her death from cancer in 1977; he never remarried, and was said to have been grief-stricken for the rest of his life. Kay had no children of his own, but was stepfather to Haines’s daughter from her first marriage to the actor Michael Caine. He died in London on Christmas Day in 2014, at the age of 86.[5]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ "Bernard Kay". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Ezard, John (26 September 2006). "Actor Bernard Kay wins new writing award". The Guardian. London, England, UK. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Remembering Bernard Kay". BBC. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Finborough Theatre Presents DREAM OF THE DOG, Opens April 27". Broadway World. New York City, New York, USA: Wisdom Digital Media. 24 March 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Bernard Kay obituary". The Guardian. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2015.