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Ronald Allen (16 December 1930 [some sources say 1934] in Reading, Berkshire – 18 June 1991) was an established English character actor.
He studied at Leighton Park School in Reading and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, worked in repertory theatre, had a season at the Old Vic, London and made several films, including the Titanic classic A Night to Remember, as well as achieving fame as a soap opera star.
After roles in the BBC soaps United! and Compact during the 1960s came his most famous role, in the long-running Crossroads. Allen played David Hunter, who, together with Meg Mortimer, Tish Hope and Bernard Booth, was a shareholder of the Crossroads Motel. He appeared in the series from 1969 to 1985. He also twice appeared as a lead actor in the science fiction programme Doctor Who, in the stories The Dominators (1968) and The Ambassadors of Death (1970).
Ronald Allen also made a number of guest appearances in The Comic Strip Presents. In the first episode, Five Go Mad in Dorset (1982), which spoofed Enid Blyton's The Famous Five stories, he makes a surprise appearance as Uncle Quentin; deliberately sending up his staid image, he most memorably told The Famous Five, "Your Aunt Fanny is an unrelenting nymphomaniac – and I am a screaming homosexual." (The show's TV Times entry had listed him as "Surprise Guest"). Allen reprised the role in the sequel Five Go Mad on Mescalin (1983), and also appeared in South Atlantic Raiders Part 2 (1990), The Strike (1988) and Oxford (1990), in addition to the feature film The Supergrass (1985). There was much comic mileage to be gained from Allen sending up his ultra-conservative image. In a 1987 interview, he said that he was approached by a very intimidating-looking punk. He shook his hand and said, "I thought you were really cool in The Supergrass." Then, as he was about to walk away, he turned back and said, almost apologetically, "I loved you in Crossroads too!"
Other roles included television's The Adventures of Robin Hood (1957), Danger Man (1960, 1961), Bergerac (1990) and The Avengers (1964).
Ronald Allen lived for many years with the actor Brian Hankins, who also appeared in Crossroads. He was also very close friends with his co-star and on-screen wife, Sue Lloyd. When the British media started to intrude into their private lives, they made it known they were a couple. After Allen was told that his cancer was terminal, they married. He died three months later, aged 60.
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