This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Howard Lang" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (March 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Howard Lang
Howard Lang (1975)
Donald Yarranton

Marylebone, London, England
Died11 December 1989
Years active1946–1986

Howard Lang (born Donald Yarranton; died 11 December 1989) was an English actor known for playing Captain William Baines in the BBC nautical drama The Onedin Line.

Early life

Lang was born in Marylebone, London, the son of Edward John Yarranton (1884–1954) and Clara Ann (née Malkin) (1888–1921).[1] His father had left the family's bookbinding business to become a senior commercial traveller for Winsor & Newton, the manufacturer of artists' materials.

Lang served for seven years in the Royal Navy including during World War II. In January 1941 he was appointed Temporary Sub-Lieutenant,[2] and in January 1942 Temporary Lieutenant,[3] a position he held until the end of the war.[4]

His younger brother from his father's second marriage was Sir Peter Yarranton (1924–2003), chairman of the United Kingdom Sports Council from 1989 to 1994, and a notable figure in the world of rugby union, both as a player and as an administrator, for more than 40 years.

Acting career

For his role as seafaring Captain Baines in The Onedin Line (1971–1980) he gained international attention. In a 1977 interview in Radio Times Lang recalled a personal appearance in Norway:

When the series was first shown in Norway I was asked to make a personal appearance in a small shipbuilding town. As I was brought into Grimstad by sea I caught sight of huge crowds – all of 3,000 townsfolk out on the quay to greet me. I learned afterwards that I had been received as family because almost every home had an ancient photograph of an uncle, cousin or grandfather dressed and sideburned precisely as I appear on The Onedin Line.[5]

Lang's other parts included roles in The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970), Z-Cars, Softly, Softly, The Vise, and an appearance as caveman Horg in three of the four episodes of the first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child. He also played Winston Churchill in the 1983 TV miniseries The Winds of War.

He also played the role of Bert Hudd in the first production of Harold Pinter's first play,The Room.

In an early seafaring role, he had a cameo in Ben-Hur as the hortator aboard a Roman galley leading up to the epic battle with an enemy fleet.

Howard Lang died in West Hampstead, London in 1989.



Year Title Role Notes
1946 Great Expectations Man at Magwitch's Trial Uncredited
1947 Jassy Juryman Uncredited
1950 The Mudlark Footman Uncredited
1951 Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. Officer aboard Cassandra Uncredited
1952 The Floating Dutchman Gaoler Uncredited
1953 The Missing Man Inspector Haslett Uncredited
Counterspy Policeman Uncredited
1954 The Blazing Caravan Publican Uncredited
The House Across the Lake Inspector Edgar Uncredited
Beau Brummell Heckler Uncredited
The Men of Sherwood Forest Town Crier
Devil's Point Marne, company executive Uncredited
1955 The Mysterious Bullet Davy Charlesworth
Stolen Time Scotland Yard detective
1956 Keep It Clean Police Sergeant
Eyewitness Cinema Commissionaire Uncredited
Destination Death Police Sgt Uncredited
The Battle of the River Plate Guns – HMS Exeter Uncredited
The Hideout Greeko
1957 The Crooked Sky Commissioner
The Big Chance Saw Mill Man
The Birthday Present Cellblock Officer Uncredited
1958 Dunkirk Chief, Sheerness Dockyard Uncredited
A Night to Remember Chief Officer Henry Wilde – Titanic Uncredited
Corridors of Blood Chief Inspector Uncredited
1959 Behemoth the Sea Monster Naval Commander Uncredited
Innocent Meeting Macey
A Woman's Temptation Uncredited
Man Accused Uncredited
Ben-Hur Hortator Uncredited
Date at Midnight Inspector
1960 Night Train for Inverness Sergeant
Jackpot George
The Trials of Oscar Wilde Court Usher
1961 Gorgo First Colonel
Feet of Clay Warder
The Curse of the Werewolf Irate Farmer Uncredited
1963 The Haunting Hugh Crain Uncredited
The Runaway Norring
1964 Nothing but the Best Jutson
1965 He Who Rides a Tiger Prison Governor
1966 A Woman's Temptation Uncredited
1967 Frankenstein Created Woman Guard Uncredited
1970 Perfect Friday Bank Commissionaire
1971 10 Rillington Place Man in Pub Uncredited
Macbeth Old Soldier Uncredited


Year Title Role Episodes
1952–1955 BBC Sunday-Night Theatre Courier Pilot

Party Guest

Season 3, episode 29: ''Arrow to the Heart''

Season 6, episode 44: ''The Makepeace Story #3: Family Business''

1954 Fabian of the Yard Harry Season 1, episode 4: ''Bombs in Piccadilly''
1955 The Hole in the Wall 2nd Policeman TV movie
1955–1961 The Vise Police Sergeant

Policeman Marshall Warehouseman Mansfield Mr. Peters First Detective P.C. Price Jim

Season 2, episode 8: ''The Broken Link''

Season 5: (2 episodes)

Season 6: (4 episodes)

Season 7: (2 episodes)

1956 ITV Play of the Week George Hutton Season 1, episode 37: ''Come Read Me a Riddle''
The Adventures of the Big Man Balford Season 1: (3 episodes)
The Crime of the Century Mr. Barton Season 1: (2 episodes)
1956–1957 The Adventures of Robin Hood Landlord

Inn Patron with Password

Season 2: (2 episodes)
1957 Sword of Freedom Major Domo Season 1, episode 4: ''Caterina''
ITV Television Playhouse Watchman Season 2, episode 44: ''And So to Bed''
Overseas Press Club - Exclusive! Polish bosun Season 1, episode 11: ''The Unknown Man''
White Hunter Burrows Season 1, episode 4: ''The No-Account''
1957–1958 aO.S.S. Bruehl

Jean First Farmer

Season 1: (3 episodes)
1958 African Patrol Brad


Season 1: (2 episodes)
The Adventures of William Tell Schmidt

Blacksmith Armour

Season 1: (3 episodes)
1959–1960 Interpol Calling Commander Siddons

Dutch Policeman

Season 1: (2 episodes)
1959–1962 Dixon of Dock Green 1st Carter

Paul Bennet

Season 5, episode 22: ''A Case for the Inland Revenue''

Season 9, episode 13: ''Cash and Carry''

1960 Man From Interpol Sergeant Season 1, episode 7: ''Love by Extortion''
The Strange World of Gurney Slade Season 1, episode 3
Knight Errant Limited Dr. O'Kelly Season 3, episode 10: ''The Conspirators''
1961 Rendezvous Goddard Season 1, episode 29: ''The Executioner''
1961–1962 Sir Francis Drake Richard Grenville Season 1: (15 episodes)
1962 The Cheaters Willie Season 2, episode 18: ''The Dashing Major''
1963 Richard the Lionheart First Shepard Season 1, episode 28: ''Capture''
Sergeant Cork Drayman Season 1, episode 1: ''Case of the Reluctant Window''
Doctor Who Horg Season 1: (3 episodes)
1964 Espionage Ted Newcombe Season 1, episode 19: ''Snow on Mount Kama''
HMS Paradise Commander Bell Season 1, episode 3: ''An Officer and a Gentleman''
Gideon's Way Sgt. Fowler Season 1, episode 6: ''The Lady Killer''
1964–1969 Z-Cars Brown

Inspector Jackson Tice

Season 4, episode 6: ''Somebody Said...''

Season 6: (3 episodes)

1965 The Scales of Justice Abbott Season 1, episode 6: ''Personal and Confidential''
Theatre 625 Grimmett Season 3, episode 10: '' The World of George Orwell: Coming Up for Air''
1966 The Wednesday Play Dart player Season 1, episode 54: ''A Walk in the Sea''
King of the River Captain Friar Season 1, episode 12: ''Flash Point''
1966–1969 Softly, Softly Dobson

Mr. Forbes Captain Donaldson

Season 1, episode 19: ''The Short Cut''

Season 3, episode 9: ''The Hunt'' Season 5, episode 5: ''Dead Aboard''

1968 Freewheelers Admiral Nash Season 1: (3 episodes)
Georgia Brown Sings Kurt Weill Narrator TV movie
1969 W. Somerset Maugham Clark Season 1, episode 4: ''The Letter''
Detective Packer Season 3, episode 7: ''Elimination Round''
1970 The Six Wives of Henry VIII Sir John Seymour Season 1, episode 3: ''Jane Seymour''
Macbeth Siward Season 1, episode 5
1971 The Persuaders! Coalition Club Member Season 1, episode 6: ''The Time and Place''
1971–1980 The Onedin Line Captain Baines Season 1: (15 episodes)

Season 2: (14 episodes)

Season 3: (13 episodes)

Season 4: (10 episodes)

Season 5: (10 episodes)

Season 6: (10 episodes)

Season 7: (10 episodes)

Season 8: (9 episodes)

1972 It's Murder But Is It Art Chief Constable Season 1 (3 episodes)
1974 King Thrushbeard and the Proud Princess King Geoffrey TV movie
1976 The Basil Brush Show Unknown
1983 The Winds of War Winston Churchill Season 1 (4 episodes)
1984 The Last Days of Pompeii Medon Season 2, episode 5
Jane Churchill Season 1; (3 episodes)
1985 The Pickwick Papers Tony Weller Season 1 (3 episodes)
1986 The Pyrates Captain Yardley TV movie, (final film role)


  1. ^ Donald Yarranton Family Entry on (subscription required)
  2. ^ UK Navy Lists, 1888–1970 (1941) for Donald (subscription required)
  3. ^ UK Navy Lists, 1888–1970 (1942) for Donald (subscription required)
  4. ^ UK Navy Lists, 1888–1970 (1945) for Donald (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Life On The Ocean Wave", Radio Times, 25 June – 1 July 1977 as reproduced on the Peter Gilmore-Anne Stallybrass website