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Mower, Patrick (1940-)


Main image of Mower, Patrick (1940-)

Patrick Mower's star image was entirely suited to the 1970s, right down, as Jonathan Meades observed, to "the heavy jewellery that Mower slings over his bare chest". Constantly in television starring roles during that decade, he was invariably assigned action parts emphasising his good looks rather more than his dramatic range.

Born in Oxford, on 12th September 1940, as Archibald Mower - a name he has understandably never used professionally - he trained at RADA alongside Anthony Hopkins and Mike Leigh. Following the serial Mary Barton (BBC, 1964), he was a regular in Swizzlewick (BBC, 1964), an unusual soap, with Malcolm Bradbury among its writers, which was terminated after complaints, including some from clean-up TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse; Mower played a menacing aide to one Felicity Smallgood, who was not unlike Whitehouse herself. He passed through The Avengers (ITV, 1966), Public Eye (ITV, 1966), and both Department S (ITV, 1969) and Jason King (ITV, 1971); like the latter pair's star Peter Wyngarde, he became a housewives' heart-throb as an extravagantly dressed detective, after years of playing villains in comparable shows.

After an early lead in supernatural drama Haunted (ITV, 1967-8), he provided regular support to Edward Woodward's titular agent in the colour series of Callan (ITV, 1967-72), as the cocksure, dislikeable Cross, replacing Anthony Valentine's Meres in 1970. He subsequently joined the cast of the popular Special Branch (ITV, 1973-74), which led the way for The Sweeney (ITV, 1975-78), in which Mower turned up twice as an Australian villain, before starring in the very Sweeney-ish, but rather less successful Target (BBC, 1977-78). As a change of pace, he played Edmund in a schools' production of King Lear (ITV, 1974).

He has claimed to have very nearly played James Bond; none of the official histories confirm this. Despite having declared himself (presumably in jest) "the fifth best actor in England, above Gielgud and Richardson", he was confined to regional theatre during the 1990s. In 2002, he reappeared as an absent father in Emmerdale (ITV, 1989-); apart from greying hair and less jewellery, he seems to have aged little since his heyday.

Gavin Gaughan

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Thumbnail image of Callan (1967-72)Callan (1967-72)

Tough spy drama which made a star of Edward Woodward

Thumbnail image of Special Branch (1969-74)Special Branch (1969-74)

Crime/espionage drama series, the forerunner of 'The Sweeney'

Thumbnail image of Sweeney, The (1975-78)Sweeney, The (1975-78)

Tough 1970s police drama with John Thaw and Dennis Waterman

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