I was saddened to hear of the death of the actor Robert Hardy.
Robert Hardy was, of course, not only a considerable actor but a leading authority on the longbow – he penned an excellent book on the subject, which I referred to a great deal when writing my Robin Hood novels. His writings on the subject were both erudite and very readable.
I owe him a great deal. His performance as Prince Hal and then Henry V, reinforced in me the great love of Shakespeare that I’d inherited from my father. Even as a very small boy I fell under the spell of Mr Hardy’s portrayal. I’ve never forgotten it.
Robert Hardy became a very great character actor, though mostly on television. There are a lot of memorable performances. If I had to pick one I’d go for his role as the Master Blackmailer Charles Augustus Milverton in the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes. Try and seek out that episode – watch how Hardy brings a mixture of malevolence and cunning to the role, glaring hatefully through a pair of spectacles out at the world.
Robert Hardy treated every role as an acting challenge, never selling a writer or producer short. Utterly professional in every way. His performances on stage became the stuff of theatrical legend. We are fortunate that we have a record of at least some of his work in film and television.