One of the great British character players, with over 100 films to his credit, as many TV roles (most famously as Judi Dench's father in Talking to a Stranger, BBC, 1966) and a great deal of theatre, where he began in 1934, giving up a career as an engineer. He became famous on radio for ITMA, before WW2 army service, and postwar for Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh.
His bald head and invincibly intelligent look became a fixture in British films for 50 years, often as officials, chilly (the force-feeding doctor in Fame Is the Spur (d. Roy Boulting, 1947) or benign (Major Fraser in Blanche Fury, d. Marc Allégret, 1947), and military men of every rank, but he could also be shifty as in Street Corner (d. Muriel Box, 1953), seriously sinister as the child molester in Eight O'Clock Walk (d. Lance Comfort, 1954), despairing as Blore in The Purple Plain (d. Robert Parrish, 1954, BAFTA nomination) and defeated as Peggy Ashcroft's husband in Sunday Bloody Sunday (d. John Schlesinger, 1971), and marvellously funny, as, say, the craven vicar in Once Upon a Dream (d. Ralph Thomas, 1949), the yokel policeman in Poet's Pub (d. Frederick Wilson, 1949), or, above all, as the mad Nazi spy at large in rural England in It's Not Cricket (d. Alfred Roome, 1949). His is a gallery with few equals. He was awarded an OBE in 1992.
Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film