Michael John Pratt
7 June 1931
|Died||10 July 1976 (aged 45)|
|Occupation(s)||Actor, songwriter and screenwriter|
|Known for||Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)|
|Children||2, including Guy Pratt|
Michael John Pratt (7 June 1931 – 10 July 1976) was an English actor, musician, songwriter and screenwriter, known for his work on British television in the 1960s and 1970s.
Early life and musical career
Early in his career, Mike Pratt worked in advertising, while also taking some part-time acting roles. He left his office job in the mid-1950s. With three friends (including Lionel Bart), he then drove around Europe in an old-style London taxi.
Upon returning to England, he earned a living as a jazz and skiffle musician in London clubs. An accomplished guitarist and pianist, in the 1950s, he jammed with the Vipers Skiffle Group at the 2 I's club in London with his friend Tommy Steele.
A successful songwriter, Pratt collaborated with Bart and Steele on many of Steele's early hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s. To enable Steele to start to film his life story, co-writers Steele, Bart and Pratt, wrote twelve songs in seven days. A Steele-Pratt collaboration, "A Handful of Songs", originally a hit for Tommy Steele in 1957, became the theme tune to a long-running Granada Television children's programme of the same name in the late 1970s. They also contributed to the writing of the song "Rock with the Caveman".
Bart and Pratt received the 1957 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for "Little White Bull". Pratt won a further Ivor Novello award for "A Handful of Songs". In 1961, he wrote the music and lyrics for The Big Client, a play which was produced at the Bristol Old Vic from 28 November 1961. Pratt also co wrote the title song to the 1961 film comedy Double Bunk.
Pratt appeared in numerous plays between 1965 and 1967. From 25 May 1966, he appeared at the Aldwych Theatre in Tango, a play by Slawomir Mrozek, alongside Patience Collier, Peter Jeffrey, Ursula Mohan and Dudley Sutton, under director Trevor Nunn.
He is best known for his role as Jeff Randall in the late 1960s ITC detective series Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) alongside Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre. Pratt also wrote episode two of the series, titled "A Disturbing Case".
He also appeared in TV series such as No Hiding Place, The Saint, Gideon's Way, Z-Cars, Danger Man, Out of the Unknown, Redcap, The Baron, Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, Callan, UFO (episode "The Psychobombs"), The Expert, Hadleigh, Jason King, Arthur of the Britons, Softly, Softly: Taskforce, Crown Court, Father Brown, Oil Strike North and The Adventures of Black Beauty, in which he had a semi-regular role. His last television role was in the BBC drama series The Brothers as airline pilot Don Stacy.
His film career included roles in This Is My Street (1964), The Party's Over (1965), Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965), Robbery (1967), A Dandy in Aspic (1968), The Fixer (1968), Goodbye Gemini (1970), Sitting Target (1972), Assassin (1973), the horror anthology The Vault of Horror (1973), and Swallows and Amazons (1974).
He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966, appearing on stage throughout the rest of the 1960s and the early 1970s.
Personal life and death
Mike Pratt died from lung cancer in July 1976, aged 45. The following month, a show was staged at the Aldwych Theatre in London in his memory. The cast included Glenda Jackson, Kenneth Haigh and John Le Mesurier. Of his co-star in Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Kenneth Cope said:
"Michael was a great loss, both to the industry and as a friend."
|1964||This Is My Street||Sid Graham|
|1964||Edgar Wallace Mysteries||Harry||Face of a Stranger episode|
|1965||The Party's Over||Geronimo|
|1965||Out of the Unknown||Otto Henck||'Time in Advance', episode|
|1968||A Dandy in Aspic||Greff|
|1968||The Fixer||Father Anastasy|
|1970||Goodbye Gemini||Rod Barstowe|
|1972||Sitting Target||Prison Warder Accomplice|
|1973||The Vault of Horror||Clive||(segment "Midnight Mess")|
|1974||Swallows and Amazons||Mr. Dixon|
- Tobler, John; Frame, Pete (1980). Rock 'n' roll: the first 25 years. Exeter Books. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-89673-064-9.
- Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 38. CN 5585.
- "A Handful of Songs – Many thanks to Kathy Jones and Keith Field for providing information on this wonderful little show". Thechestnut.com. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- Weindling, Dick; Colloms, Marianne (1 November 2013). Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek: West Hampstead's Musical Heritage Remembered. History Press Limited. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-7509-5310-8.
- Lister, David, Pop ballads bite back in lyrical fashion, The Independent, 28 May 1994
- "Historical Comedy For Bristol." The Times (London, England) 12 September 1961. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "Lively Choice of Plays for Aldwych." The Times (London, England) 22 April 1966: p.17. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- Tibballs, Geoff (1994) Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Boxtree