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Terrence Hardiman
Terrence Hardiman.jpg
Hardiman in 2009
Born (1937-04-06) 6 April 1937 (age 85)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Years active1965–present
Known forSecret Army
Spouse(s)Rowena Cooper

Terrence Hardiman (born 6 April 1937) is an English actor. He is best known for playing The Demon Headmaster in the children's television series of the same name.

Hardiman often plays authority figures, and has portrayed Nazi-era personnel (Secret Army, Colditz, Wish Me Luck and Enemy at the Door) and British officers (When the Boat Comes In). He has also played police inspectors (Prime Suspect, Juliet Bravo and Softly, Softly), doctors (Home to Roost, The Royal), barristers (Crown Court and The Brittas Empire), judges (The Bill and The Courtroom), a twelfth-century abbot, (Cadfael), and an evil headmaster (The Demon Headmaster). He also played Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi.

Hardiman has also lent his voice as a narrator for hundreds of audiobooks, including series by Colin Dexter, Anne Perry, and Ruth Rendell.[2] Hardiman's volunteer narration work for the non-profit Calibre Audio Library earned him a Silver Centurion service award in 2013.[3]

Early life and education

Terrence Hardiman was born in 1937 in Forest Gate, Newham, London. His father was a policeman.[4] Hardiman was educated at Buckhurst Hill County High School, Essex and later studied at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (then known as Fitzwilliam House), where he read English.[5]

Stage career

At Cambridge, Hardiman acted extensively for The Marlowe Society and the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club,[6] in both dramatic and comedic roles, alongside many of his future screen co-stars such as Derek Jacobi.

Hardiman then toured with the Royal Shakespeare Company[7] in several principal roles, including as Starveling in Peter Brook's landmark 1970 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.[8]

Film and television career

1970s and 1980s

Hardiman's television work has included him playing barrister Stephen Harvesty in Granada Television's Crown Court from 1972 to 1983.[9]

He also had a starring role as Charles Pooter in the 1979 television adaptation of George and Weedon Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody, a role which shows his versatility more than the succession of officers he usually portrays.

Hardiman's portrayal of Major Reinhardt, in Secret Army, the (fictional) head of the Luftwaffe (German Air force) police, often provided a foil to Clifford Rose's more brutal S.S. Chief, Kessler. As with many of the characters in Secret Army, Reinhardt was not a one dimensional villain, but a rounded character who often questioned his own motives and methods. The actor's portrayal allowed the viewer to sympathise with this character. In 1990, he played a two dimensional German officer, General Stuckler, in the final series of London Weekend Television's Wish Me Luck.

1990s: Cadfael and The Demon Headmaster

A notable small role Hardiman played was a version of the Sergeant Wilson character from Dad's Army, in a 1995 episode of time travel comedy Goodnight Sweetheart, called "Don't Get Around Much Any More." Nicholas Lyndhurst's character Gary Sparrow goes back in time to a bank in the 1940s, and encounters characters called Mainwaring and Wilson. Hardiman's portrayal was a keenly observed impersonation of John Le Mesurier's own performance, incorporating many of the tics and mannerisms of the original.

From 1996 to 1998, Hardiman starred as the eponymous Demon Headmaster in the children's television drama series, which ran to three series and proved popular with adults as well as children. He reprised his role as a cameo in the 2019 reboot.

He also appeared as Grand Wizard Egbert Hellibore in four episodes of The Worst Witch. Hardiman appeared in the second series of The Worst Week of My Life. Another notable recent role was as a devious Swiss murder victim in an episode of crime mystery series Jonathan Creek.

Hardiman's other major recurring role was as Brother Cadfael's ecclesiastical superior, Father Abbot Radulfus, in the television series. Joining him throughout the series as Prior Robert was Michael Culver, who had played his predecessor Major Brandt in Secret Army.


Hardiman made an appearance on the daily soap on BBC One, Doctors, on 3 April 2009, as well as from 14 to 15 January 2015, and in the drama from Yorkshire, Heartbeat, as John Upton in one episode.

In 2009, he appeared in a film for the BFI, Radio Mania: An Abandoned Work, directed by British artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard.[10] The film was based on The Man from M.A.R.S. (1922).

Hardiman appeared as Hawthorne in the episode of Doctor Who, "The Beast Below", on 10 April 2010.[11]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ Biographical detail: website. Retrieved on 16 March 2008.
  2. ^ "Search results for "terrence hardiman" (Showing 1-20 of 47 books)".
  3. ^ Alistair, Kleebauer (7 July 2013). "Kensal Rise's Demon Headmaster, actor Terrence Hardiman, is recognised for thousands of hours voluntary work". Kilburn Times.
  4. ^ "'Another terrifyingly good performance,' 2 November 2007, Liverpool Daily Post".
  5. ^ 'Cambridge University Tripos Results: English', Times, 25 June 1959, p. 15.
  6. ^ "Terrence Hardiman theatre profile". AboutTheArtists.
  7. ^ "Credits: Hardiman, Terrence, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust".
  8. ^ "Peter Brook 1970 production | A Midsummer Night's Dream | Royal Shakespeare Company". Royal Shakespeare Company.
  9. ^ "Terrence Hardiman". IMDb.
  10. ^ [1] Archived 9 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Blogs - Doctor Who". BBC. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2013.