Patrick Allen

A profile of the actor Patrick Allen

John Keith Patrick Allen was born in Nyasaland (now Malawi) in Central Southern Africa in 1927 and was brought-up in Canada. Patrick was married to actress Sarah Lawson; they met at Stratford-on-Avon where Patrick was appearing with the Royal Shakespeare Memorial Company. Patrick and Sarah acted in a feature film together, where their characters are also husband and wife; they play Jeff and Frankie Callum in the 1967 Planet Film Productions horror-feature Night of the Big Heat. Patrick and Sarah also star as a married couple in the BBC radio series Inspector West, based on the stories and characters created by John Creasey. The Inspector West series ran from 1967 until 1971 and in the series, Patrick plays Inspector Roger West and Sarah plays his wife Janet West.

Patrick Allen was offered the leading role in the Associated-Rediffusion Television series Crane whilst at Stratford-on-Avon, where he was playing Achilles in Troilus and Cressida. Soon after the play had finished, Patrick left England, bound for Casablanca, a city in western Morocco, to begin location filming for the new TV series. Patrick stars as Richard Crane in the series which ran for 39 episodes from 1963 until 1965. Richard Crane is a successful businessman, but he is tired of his hectic life in England and decides to move to Morocco. Once there, he soon establishes himself (ostensibly) as an import/export agent. He also purchases a small beach-side cafe/bar and a boat. Crane also becomes involved in some minor smuggling activities.

In an interview published in the Television Star Book from 1964 by Purnell and Sons Ltd, Patrick Allen talks about the Crane series "I don't think I've ever enjoyed myself quite as much before I started making the series". He goes on to say "It is an exciting series, tough to make, and there have been times when I've suffered. One location was particularly tough. I'd come through all the scenes without a scratch...that was until the night before we were due to return home to England. Somebody got off a stool in the hotel bar and toppled it over on my foot. The result - a broken toe."

Patrick Allen appeared in many films, plays, television and radio programmes during his career and was a prolific voice-over artist, heard regularly in numerous television and radio commercials and promotions. In the early 1970s, Patrick Allen made a series of commercials for Barratt Homes, in the commercials, he is flown to a new housing development by helicopter; one of these commercials was filmed at a new development near the University of Essex, in the village of Wivenhoe, England.

Click on the images above to view films (courtesy National Archives Website)

Patrick Allen also performs the voice-over in the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song Two Tribes. Patrick had originally narrated two Public Information Films in the Protect and Survive series produced in 1975 entitled, Action After Warnings and Action After Warnings - Casualties, informing the public what they should do in the event of Nuclear Fallout in the UK and what health surveillance systems are in place to detect radiation. The Two Tribes voice-over was a parody of Patrick's Protect and Survive narration. When Patrick was not working, his leisure time pursuits included photography, sailing and fishing. Sadly, Patrick died on July 28 2006, he is survived by his wife, Sarah and their two sons.

BBC Radio 4, P.M. Programme interview with Jonathan Kydd

In an interview on the BBC Radio 4 news and current affairs programme P.M., broadcast on August 8 2006, its presenter, Eddie Mair asked the actor Jonathan Kydd to talk about his knowledge of Patrick Allen. Jonathan Kydd talked about the friendship forged between his late father, the actor Sam Kydd and Patrick Allen during and after working together on the 1963-1965 television series Crane. Jonathan Kydd was also asked about Patrick Allen's work as a Voice-Over Artist, affectionately known as 'King of the Voice-Overs'.

Eddie Mair: "...he [Patrick Allen] was best known for being 'King of the Voice-Overs', what made him so good?" Jonathan Kydd: "I think one of the main things was the ability to read a script instantly and thus save people money..." "...he had that ability, that excellent ability..."

Eddie Mair: "And was he proud of it, proud of the voice-over work, or did he see it as secondary to acting?" Jonathan Kydd: "My knowledge of him was that he was so terribly good at it, that it was just part of acting..." Jonathan Kydd continues "I never got the impression that he thought of it as secondary to being on stage or on television, I have to say he was excellent at everything...he was a legend" Jonathan Kydd concludes "He was ever-present in the business that has its fads, he re-invented himself as he got older by getting on to things where he was almost a, he wasn't a caricature of himself, but you knew you were getting Patrick Allen because he was so well recognised." See Patrick's obituary in The Guardian