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Sam Kydd
Sam Kydd.jpg
Samuel John Kydd

(1915-02-15)15 February 1915
Belfast, Ireland
Died26 March 1982(1982-03-26) (aged 67)
London, England
Years active1945–1982
(m. 1952)
ChildrenJonathan Kydd

Samuel John Kydd (15 February 1915 – 26 March 1982) was a British-Irish actor.[1] His best-known roles were in two major British television series of the 1960s, as the smuggler Orlando O'Connor in Crane and its sequel Orlando. He also played a recurring character in Coronation Street.[2][3] Kydd's first film was The Captive Heart (1946), in which he played a POW.[4] He made over 290 films, more than any other British actor, including 119 between 1946 and 1952.

Early life and career

An army officer's son, Kydd was born on 15 February 1915 in Belfast, Ireland,[5] and moved to London as a child. He was educated at Dunstable School in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.[6] During the mid-1930s Kydd was an MC for the Oscar Rabin Band and one of his "Hot Shots". He would warm up audiences with jokes and impressions (Maurice Chevalier was a favourite) and even some tap dance routines then introduce the other singers and attractions on the bill. During the late 1930s he had joined the Territorial Army serving with the Queen Victoria's Rifles and when war broke out he was called up for active service.

Early in the Second World War, he went to France with the British Expeditionary Force but was quickly captured, spending the rest of the war in Stalag XX-A, a camp near Thorn in German-occupied western Poland.[7] Kydd later wrote of his experiences as a POW in his autobiographical book For You the War Is Over.[8]

During his internment in the German prisoner-of-war camp, where he remained for the next five years, he took command of the camp's theatrical activities - devising and staging plays.[3] He felt so strongly about his work there that, when he was offered repatriation after three years, he turned it down to continue with his theatrical work. In recognition of his valuable services during these years he was awarded a pair of drama masks, made by the Red Cross from barbed wire.


Returning to Britain after the war, Kydd applied for the film The Captive Heart, which was about life in a prison camp, and as this was an area where he had much experience, he got a part as an advisor cum actor. He went on to appear in more than 290 films and 1,000 TV plays and series, including such films as The Blue Lamp, Father Brown, The 39 Steps and I'm All Right Jack.[1] He often played the part of a strong and resilient cockney. He is best remembered as a character actor in films such as Chance of a Lifetime, The Cruel Sea, Sink the Bismarck!, The Yangtse Incident, Reach for the Sky, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Too Many Crooks, Smokescreen, Island of Terror, Too Late the Hero, Eye of the Needle and Steptoe and Son Ride Again.[9] He also appeared in the big-screen versions of Dad's Army and Till Death Us Do Part.

In 1963, Kydd appeared as the lovable smuggler Orlando O'Connor in Crane starring Patrick Allen as a Briton who moved to Morocco to run a cafe and had an aversion to smuggling.[10][11] The programme ran for 39 episodes and was watched each week by over 16 million viewers. Sam's character was so popular that when Crane finished he was given his own programme, Orlando, a children's adventure series which ran for 126 episodes.[2]

He also appeared on TV in The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Pickwick Papers, Mess Mates, Arthur Askey, Benny Hill, Charlie Drake, Harry Worth, The Expert, Dixon of Dock Green,[12] Fossett Saga, Curry and Chips,[1] The Tony Hancock Show, Minder, Crossroads, Coronation Street (playing the part of Mike Baldwin's father, Frankie), The Eric Sykes Show, and Follyfoot.[13]

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1974 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.[citation needed]

Personal life and death

He married Pinkie Barnes, an ex-international table tennis champion (she was World Doubles Finalist in 1948) and one of Britain's first women advertising copywriters.[14] Their son, Jonathan Kydd, followed his father into the acting profession. [15]

Sam Kydd died of emphysema on 26 March 1982, aged 67. His son Jonathan Kydd has edited 4 volumes of his memoirs the first of which is 'Be a Good Boy Sam' 1945-52

Selected filmography


  1. ^ a b c "Sam Kydd".
  2. ^ a b "BFI Screenonline: Orlando (1965-68)".
  3. ^ a b "Day of movies devoted to Sam Kydd - Northern Ireland veteran of 240 films" – via
  4. ^ McFarlane, Brian; Slide, Anthony (29 August 2018). The Encyclopedia of British Film: Fourth Edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780719091391.
  5. ^ Northern Ireland was only created in 1921
  6. ^ "Sam Kydd - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  7. ^ Letter and photo in camp magazine 1942 Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ For You The War Is Over by Sam Kydd - Futura, London, 1974. ISBN 0-85974-005-6
  9. ^ "Sam Kydd - Movies and Filmography - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  10. ^ "Patrick Allen". 7 August 2006 – via
  11. ^ "The Price of Friendship (1963)".
  12. ^ "Sam Kydd".
  13. ^ "Sam Kydd".
  14. ^ "Pinkie Barnes". 4 October 2012 – via
  15. ^ "Jonathan Kydd".