Biography of James Beattie

James Beattie

Photo courtesy of James Beattie

English actor and voice actor born 1927. 

James Beattie did the voice of Albert Weatherspoon in Gordon Murray's "A Rubovian Legend" series of television marionette plays for children.

After attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, James Beattie's first professional part was as Onion in Desire Caught by the Tail (Watergate Theatre) and he played seasons at the Fortune Theatre in Macbeth and Lady with a Lamp. He played in repertory seasons in Dundee, Swansea, York, Harrogate, Blackpool, Pitlochry and Wolverhampton. Other theatre credits include The Petition (Octagon Theatre, Bolton), A Christmas Carol (Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon) and Much Ado About Nothing (Thorndike, Leatherhead), Harvey (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford), City Sugar (Bush Theatre, London), Paddington Bear (Duke of York's Theatre, London), The Tempest (Century Theatre), Deathtrap (Redgrave Theatre, Bristol), No Sugar (Riverside Studios, Hammersmith), '27 Episodes of Pornography (Young Vic, London) and two years at the National Theatre where he appeared as Willie in Happy Days, directed by Peter Hall. 

James spent three years as Associate Director for the National Theatre of Western Australia, directing the The Caretaker, Flint, Butley, In Duty Bound, Private Lives, Water of the Moon, and Billy Liar

Acting credits in Australia include Iago in Othello, Pizarro in Royal Hunt of the Sun, opposite Pamela Stephenson in Assault With a Deadly Weapon, with Timothy West in Uncle Vanya directed by Prunella Scales, with Honor Blackman in Night and Day, On the Razzle, with Judy Davis in Piaf, and with Arthur Lowe (of "Dad's Army" television fame) in Beyond a Joke

Several years after returning to the UK, James made an enjoyable trip back to Australia in 2001, to the stage of the Effie Crump Theatre in Perth. There in the nostalgic play, The Kingfisher by William Douglas Home, James Beattie played the part of Sir Cecil's faithful valet, Hawkins, opposite Edgar Metcalf and Rosemary Barr. The Perth Post's drama reviewer, Sarah McNeill, said this of the play: "Kingfisher evokes a gentler era so long gone it can hardly even claim to be fondly remembered...reminiscent of a British Empire decades earlier - one of long-serving faithful butlers, of formal afternoon teas, dressing for dinner, before and after dinner aperitifs, and 'wiring' friends...also an era of charm, grace, elegance and witty repartee. ...The trio of veteran performers are perfectly cast...Sir cared for and fussed over by his faithful valet Hawkins, deliciously played by James Beattie. ...Beattie conveys a myriad of delightfully wicked yet subtle facial expressions to convey his distaste for the possible turn in his fortunes. ...It may be old fashioned, but The Kingfisher is a delightful and well-crafted play that entertains rather than challenges." (Click here for the full text of the review.) 

Television credits include Last of the Summer Wine, Billy Liar, Coronation Street, and most recently, Westbeach.

On radio, James played Charlie in the "Paul Temple" series for ten years. 

The house of the sleeping beauties (A play by Yasunari Kawabata. Leicester Haymarket, dir. David Tsé) ...(no further details known)
The Sum of Us (1993) (A play by David Stevens. Warehouse Theatre, Croydon, London, UK, dir. Ted Craig) ...Harry
Happy Days (1970s) (National Theatre, dir. Peter Hall) ...Willie
City Sugar (1980s?) (A play by Stephen Poliakoff, Bush Theatre, London, UK, dir. Hugh Thomas) ...Big John 
Paddington Bear ( ) (Duke of York's Theatre, London, UK, dir. Christopher Denys) ...Mr. Brown
Much Ado About Nothing ( ) (Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead, Surrey, UK, dir. Jonathan Lynn) ...Friar Francis
26 Episodes of Pornography ( ) (Young Vic, London, UK, dir. Hugh Thomas) ...Sullivan
Deathtrap ( ) (Redgrave Theatre, Bristol, UK, dir. Stephen Barrie) ...Porter Milgrim
No Sugar (1985) (Riverside Studios, Perth, Australia, dir. Andrew Ross) ...O’Neville
Harvey ( ) (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, UK, dir. Murray McDonald) ...Judge Gafney

Royal National Theatre – two years

Repertory seasons at Dundee, York, Swansea, Bolton, Harrogate, Pitlochry, Century Theatre

Theatre work in Australia includes:
Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Sydney, opposite Pamela Stephenson
Uncle Vanya, with Timothy West, directed by Prunella Scales
Night and Day, with Honor Blackman
On the Razzle, directed by Joan Kemp-Welch
Piaf, with Judy Davis
Beyond a Joke, with Arthur Lowe

Television Filmography
"Mud" (1994-1995) (TV Series) (BBC, dir. Claire Winyard (6 episodes, 1994); Tom Poole (1 episode, 1995). 20 min x 14 episodes) ...James (episodes 1-6, 1994)
                                                      See "Mud" 1st season end credits here:
"Westbeach" (1993) (TV Series) (BBC, dir. Terry Green. 50 min x 10 episodes) ...Colonel Brown
"A Fortunate Life"
(1985) (TV Series) (Australian mini series, part IV: Providence (1914-1916)) ...manager
Fran (1985) (Australian film, dir. Glenda Hambly) ...down and outer
The Skin Game (1974) (TV) (BBC Play of the Month #76, colour, by John Galsworthy, dir. Cedric Messina) ...Fellows 
"Last of the Summer Wine" (1973) (TV series) (BBC, dir. Alan Bell) ...the vicar
"Billy Liar" (1973) (TV Series) (LWT, dir. Stewart Allan) ...magistrate
"Coronation Street" (1960) (TV series) (Granada) ...Charley
The Magic Tree
(1960) (TV) (B&W, marionette play) ...(voice) (alongside Noel Coleman, Roy Skelton and Derek Nimmo  
The Crumpot Candles (1960) (TV) (B&W, marionette play) ...puppet player (alongside Audrey Atterbury, John Hardwick, Bob Bura, Dorothy Gordon, Roy Skelton and Noel Coleman)
The King of the Golden River (1959) (TV) (B&W, marionette play) ...puppet player (alongside Audrey Atterbury, John Hardwick, Bob Bura, Violet Lamb, Roy Skelton and Noel Coleman)
The Petrified Princess
(1959) (TV) (B&W, marionette opera) ...singer and puppet player (alongside Dorothy Durow, Trevor Anthony, Raimund Herinex, Howard Davies, Barbara Howitt, Roy Skelton, Audrey Atterbury, John Hardwick and Bob Bura)
"A Rubovian Legend" (1955) (TV series) (27 episodes, starting in 1958 with the 2nd series, B&W, marionette plays) ...Albert Weatherspoon (voice)
The Winkleburg Armourer (1956) (TV) (B&W, marionette play) ...puppet player (alongside Audrey Atterbury, Pamela Binns, Violet Lamb, Noel Coleman, Derek Nimmo, Roy Skelton, David Sutton, Peter Sutton)
"The Teckman Biography" (1953-1954) (TV serial) (BBC, 6 episodes, dir. Alan Rackoff) ...Archie

"Paul Temple" (BBC radio series, for ten years) ...Charlie
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (ABC, Australia) ...Bruce Chatwin
On Black Hill (ABC, Australia) ...Bruce Chatwin

Nakaling, Inc., Audio Books (here) (Slow speed narration for adults & children who are developing English language and literacy skills, or who have learning disabilities. Non-profit organisation partially funded by the Australian Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services.)
(Nakaling speed ratings: Standard Audio Books are read at 175 - 200 words per minute.
LEVEL 0 = 40 wpm; LEVEL 1 = 50 wpm; LEVEL 2 = 60 wpm; LEVEL 3 = 70 wpm;
LEVEL 4 = 80 wpm; LEVEL 5 = 90 wpm; LEVEL 6 = 100-110 wpm;
LEVEL 7 = 120 - 130 wpm; LEVEL 8 = 140-150 wpm; LEVEL 9 = 160-170 wpm.)

Adult Titles:
"The Great Gatsby" (F. Scott Fitzgerald, 12 cassettes + book, pp.177, AU$125 [speed level 6], ISBN:0 86457 0740) ...narrator
Teenage Titles:
"The Wind in the Willows"
(Kenneth Grahame, 11 cassettes + book, pp. 262, AU$125 [speed level 6], ISBN: 0 86457 349 9) ...narrator
Children's Titles:
"Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present"
(John Burningham, 1 cassette + book, pp. 38, AU$39.00 [speed level 6], ISBN: 0 86457 260 3; AU$59 [speed level 4 & 6]  ISBN: 0 86457 261 1) ...narrator
"The Age of Acorns" (Robert Ingpen, 1 cassette + book, pp. 28, AU$50 [speed level 5], ISBN: 0 86457 229 8) ...narrator
"Watch Out for the Giant-Killers!" (Colin McNaughton, 1 cassette + book, pp. 32, AU$39 [speed level 5], ISBN: 0 86457 286 7; AU$39 [speed level 7], ISBN: 0 86457 287 5; AU$55 [speed level 5 & 7] 2 cassettes+ book, pp. 32, ISBN: 0 86457 288 3) ...narrator
"Bears (Wildlife at risk)" (Malcolm Penny, 2 cassettes + book, pp. 32, AU$52.00, [speed level 6], ISBN: 0 86457 164X) ...narrator
"The Kitten Book" (Camilla Jessel, 1 cassette + book, pp. 30, AU$48 [speed level 5], ISBN: 0 86457 319 7) ...narrator
"Help!" (Allan Ahlberg & Colin McNaughton, 1 cassette + picture book, pp. 29, AU$30, [speed level 0], ISBN: 0 86457 192 5, pp. 29) ...narrator
"Dear Greenpeace" (Simon James, 1 cassette + book, pp. 26, AU$47, [speed level 4], ISBN: 0 86457 241 7) ...narrator
"Find It!" (map reading) (Anne Davis & Alwyn Evans, 1 cassette + book, pp. 16, AU$35, [speed level 5], ISBN: 0 86457 336 7) ...narrator
"On the Way" (narrative) (Anne Davis & Alwyn Evans, 1 cassette + book, pp. 16, AU$35 [speed level 5], ISBN: 0 86457 340 5) ...narrator