Posted in films & DVD, Humour, Television

Andrew Sachs (Fawlty Towers)

German born British actor Andreas Siegfried “Andrew” Sachs was Born in Berlin , 7 April 1930 and in 1938 he and his family immigrated to London to escape persecution under the Nazis. whilst still studying shipping management at college in the 1950’s, Sachs worked on radio productions, including Private Dreams and Public Nightmares by Frederick Bradnum, an early experimental programme made by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Sachs began in acting with repertory theatre, and made his West End as Grobchick in the 1958 production of the Whitehall farce Simple Spymen. He made his screen debut in 1959 in the film The Night We Dropped a Clanger.He then appeared in numerous TV series throughout the 1960s, including some appearances in ITC productions such as The Saint (1962) and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969).

Sachs is best known for his role as Manuel, the Spanish waiter in the sitcom Fawlty Towers (1975 and 1979). During the shooting of the Fawlty Towers episode “The Germans”, Sachs was left with second degree acid burns due to a fire stunt. He was hit with a faulty prop on the set of the show by John Cleese and suffered a massive headache. Sachs also recorded four singles in character as Manuel; the first was “Manuel’s Good Food Guide” in 1977, which came in a picture sleeve with Manuel on the cover. Sachs also had a hand in writing (or adapting) the lyrics. This was followed in 1979 by “O Cheryl” with “Ode to England” on the B side. This was recorded under the name “Manuel and Los Por Favors”. In 1981, “Manuel” released a cover version of Joe Dolce’s UK number one “Shaddap You Face”, with “Waiter, there’s a Flea in my Soup” on the B side. Sachs also adapted “Shaddap You Face” into Spanish, but was prevented from releasing it before Dolce’s version by a court injunction.

Sachs also narrated a number of television and radio programs, including all five series of BBC’s BAFTA-award-winning business television series Troubleshooter presented by Sir John Harvey-Jones MBE and ITV’s …from Hell series. He also narrated several audio books, including C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series and Alexander McCall Smith’s first online book, Corduroy Mansions as well as two audiobooks for Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends “Thomas and the Tiger” and “Thomas and the Dinosaur”.In 2000, Sachs narrated the spoof documentary series That Peter Kay Thing. Sachs performed all the voices in the English-language version of Jan Švankmajer’s 1994 film Faust.He also did voices for children’s animation, including William’s Wish Wellingtons, Starhill Ponies, The Gingerbread Man, Little Grey Rabbit, The Forgotten Toys and Asterix and the Big Fight. In 1978, BBC Radio 4 broadcast The Revenge, a ground-breaking 30-minute play totally without dialogue (an experiment in binaural stereo recording), written and performed by Sachs.

Other roles for radio have included G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown, Dr. John Watson in four series of original Sherlock Holmes stories for BBC Radio 4, Jeeves in The Code of the Woosters as Jeeves, Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo on BBC Radio 7’s “Young Classics” series,and Tooley in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. In a role reversal to his Fawlty Towers work, Sachs was the hotel manager in the 1977 Are You Being Served? movie, and starred in the title role of a four-part BBC adaptation of the H. G. Wells’ The History of Mr Polly. In 1996, Sachs portrayed Albert Einstein in an episode of the American PBS series NOVA entitled “Einstein Revealed”. Sachs also played opposite Shane Richie in Chris Barfoot’s Dead Clean, Which won a Gold Remi at the Houston Worldfest in 2001.

Sachs has also had several roles in Doctor Who productions. He played “Skagra” in the webcast/audio version of the Doctor Who story Shada, and in 2008 he played the elderly version of former companion Adric, in another Doctor Who story, The Boy That Time Forgot. Sachs also portrayed Reg (Professor Urban Chronotis, the Regius Professor of Chronology) of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and appeared in the live tour of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He also appeared in the ITV soap Coronation Street as Norris’ brother, Ramsay Clegg and toured With the Australian pianist Victor Sangiorgio in a two-man show called “Life after Fawlty”, which included Richard Strauss’s voice and piano setting of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “Enoch Arden”. In 2012 he portrayed Bobby Swanson in the movie Quartet.

Sadly Sachs was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012, which eventually left him unable to speak and forced him to use a wheelchair. He died on 23 November 2016 at the Denville Hall nursing home in Northwood, London. He was buried on 1 December, the same day his death was publicly announced and he will be sadly missed, however Fawlty Towers remains popular.

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