Terence Brady was born in London in 1939 to his Irish mother and father, Noel and Mary Brady. During the early part of the war years while his father was fighting in Burma he was returned variously to Cork and Belfast to the homes of his two grandmothers. This was the beginning of a long love-hate affair with the Irish Sea which Terence was to cross over thirty times in the next twenty two years of his life.
Seascape in blue.
Oil painting by Terence Brady
He endured a miserable public schooling in England before returning to Dublin where he attended Trinity College intending to read English only to find he had to settle instead for History and Political Science since reading English then required students ~ in a particularly Irish way ~ to read another foreign language in tandem and Terence's French had failed at O Level. The four year course at Trinity made up for all the unhappy years at school, for besides gaining a Moderatorship in History and Politics, Terence learned and refined all the skills that were to serve him so well in his professional life. Besides editing TCD the college weekly journal as well as Icarus the literary magazine, he joined and was later the Chairman of Players, Trinity's famous undergraduate theatre company.
Players Theatre, Dublin.
His acting contemporaries included Ralph Bates, Joanna Van Gyseghem ~ later to marry and divorce Ralph ~ and the renowned theatre director Michael Bogdanov, then just plain Mike Bogdin. Terence and Mike collaborated in the writing of over half a dozen stage revues, one of which transferred to England to the Theatre Royal Stratford East, a show that was instrumental in launching Terence's career. Would Anyone Who Saw the Accident? as the show was called, attracted considerable critical attention and Terence's performance inspired Felix Barker, then the theatre critic of the London Evening News, to headline his review A Star is Born. On the strength of this and similar notices Terence was invited to take over from Peter Cook in the smash hit revue Beyond The Fringe as the original cast prepared to leave for Broadway. Four years later Bogdin and Brady successfully collaborated again on the musical A Quick one 'Ere for the Dublin Theatre Festival in which Terence starred with Rosaleen Linehan and Cecil Sheridan. Perhaps their most singular collaboration was writing and performing a late night revue show for ITV called Broad and Narrow that some say was a precursor of Monty Python.
Theatre Royal Stratford East 1961
Married and having made his home in London Terence established himself as a leading young actor, not only from his two year run in Beyond The Fringe but also as one of the leading players in the very successful Sunday night BBCtv series Dig This Rhubarb, a literary satirical revue created and produced by Anthony Jay. Terence continued to work non stop both on television and the stage, performing the works of writers as varied as N.F.Simpson, Alun Owen, Robert Pinget, John Finch, Samuel Becket, and Harold Pinter. Samuel Becket had already taken note of Terence as an actor in Dublin and arranged an introduction to the great French mime artist Marcel Marceau in the hope that Terence might go and study in Paris, but although the young actor's theatre loving Professor of History readily agreed to his student taking a year out, he was forbidden by his father to take this once in a lifetime chance. Similarly when Terence was offered the role of Lucky later the same year in a forthcoming production of Waiting for Godot by the Irish director Alan Simpson ~ the man who had directed the very first production of Godot at the famous Pike theatre in Dublin (a theatre run from Alan Simpson's wife's garage) and a close friend of the great playwright ~ he was also denied the chance for the same reason as before, that first he must complete his studies at university before venturing into the uncertain world of the professional theatre.
Fortunately when he turned twenty one although still at Trinity he no longer legally had to seek parental permission to follow his bliss so when Terence was offered the chance of joining the cast of the hit Irish musical Glory Be! he did so and for three months played the show in Dublin, Belfast and London, relishing the chance of acting with the great Irish actor Milo O'Shea.
After finishing his run in The Fringe Terence was soon back in the West End starring in the limited run of a musical called A Present From the Corporation and then in what was mercifully to prove to be the last of the traditional stage revues, headlining with Sally Smith in the Peter Myers' extra-vaganza In the Picture. Having by now gained a good foothold in television and on the strength of his growing theatrical reputation Terence then began a long sequence of work for the small screen, playing leading roles in series
such as Boy Meets Girl, Love Story, three Thirty Minute Theatres, two series of plays by N.F.Simpson called Three Rousing Tinkles and Four Tall Tinkles, Mrs Thursday and a drama documentary series called Law and Life as well as many guest appearances in shows such as Father Dear Father, Marriage Lines, On Tne Braden Beat, Tonight,Late Night Line Up, Take Three Girls, Nanny and The Wednesday Play, as well as being part of the regular small supporting casts of light comedy shows such as My Name is Dora and Cribbins. Terence was also one of the regular voices in a cast led by Sir Michael Redgrave for the epic 26 part series The Great War, now considered to be one of the finest achievements of BBC documentary, as well as the chairman of a very popular BBCtv panel game called First Impressions, and one of the UK hosts for the first joint Anglo-US colour transmission on the American produced programme, The Huntley Brinkley Show.
During this busy period of his acting life Terence also did a lot of radio work, both for Reggie Smith in BBC Drama as well as for their Light Entertainment department, hosting and writing two weekly series, Hear Hear! and Thank Goodness It's Saturday. Most of all radio also provided the chance for him to act
and write alongside the legendary Ronnie Barker on the series Lines From My Grandfather's Forehead, a three handed show starring Ronnie Barker, Pauline Yates and Terence. The show proved immensely popular and won the Writers Guild Award for the Best Radio Series. Ronnie Barker
With his writing now taking up as much if not more of his time that his acting, Terence found his efforts more concentrated in that direction, particularly now that his partnership with Charlotte had become so productive, so much so that apart from a handful of guest roles he gave up acting more or less altogether for the best part of a decade, until a crisis on one of Terence and Charlotte's shows brought him back in the limelight. The show in question was Pig In The Middle, a comedy series for LWT that had begun with great initial promise only to slip dramatically from its early high ratings after the first few episodes. The problem was two fold and both concerned the leading man, a skilled and popular
with Liza Goddard in LWT''s Pig In The Middle
actor called Dinsdale Landen. Because he was starring in a play in the West End at the same time as making the television series this meant that the usual schedule could not be observed, which was recording the shows in the evening in front of a live audience. A compromise was reached whereby the shows were filmed early in the afternoon in front of a very small invited audience, with laughs dubbed on later, which was not a happy situation and one at which the writers expressed their concern. In hindsight it would have been far better to have recorded it without an audience at all, but the producers were against this as they considered such an idea as near heretical. So the show suffered and finally the leading man left the show at the end of the first season.
With no other leading actor keen to take over in what was then considered to be a failing show it seemed that Terence was the most obvious choice to step into the breach, but the authors found themselves at odds with their producer who nursed serious misgivings about working with an actor-writer. However, the producer was finally overruled by Michael Grade, LWT's Head of Entertainment. Grade sanctioned the take over and the show ran for another full two seasons, warmly received by both audiences and critics alike, with regular ratings of between 12 and 13 million viewers. The show was then bought by ABCtv America, the writers were invited to Hollywood and Terence found himself offered the chance of starring in the U.S. version of the show. The rest of that story can be found on the next page.
Down by the riverside
photograph by Charlotte Bingham
STOP PRESS! Terence also performs in cabaret, usually in conjunction with that wonderful singer-songwriter and musician, his great friend PETER SKELLERN. Generally they now prefer to do charitable work and over the last couple of years have raised a lot of money for good causes. They much prefer to work private houses to corporate functions and if you would like them to play for you and your cause information can be gained if you e-mail Terence using one of the addresses found on the contacts page. Terence also performs Cole Porter in cabaret and at the moment is preparing an Irish Night for next year's St Patrick's Day. Again, if interested, please contact him directly. Thank you.
And don't forget ~ real truth is only found in fiction.