Michael Sheard (1938-2005)

Actor Michael Sheard, who died of cancer on 31st August aged 67, was known to a generation of British children as the fearsome toupee-clad headmaster Maurice ‘Bronco’ Bronson in the long-running BBC children’s series Grange Hill. Prior to his first appearance in the series in 1985, he was already a familiar face on British television from his regular role as Herr Grunwald in Auf Weidersehen, Pet and numerous appearances in series such as Dixon Of Dock Green, Z Cars and Doctor Who (six times). He also made two forays into the world of Gerry Anderson – as Inspector Luhrs in The Protectorsepisode WAM Part Two, and as Dr Darwin King, one of Tony Cellini’s colleagues aboard the Ultra Probe in the Space:1999episode Dragon’s Domain.

First seen in an episode of Suspense in 1962, Sheard had an extensive television career. Regular appearances as Albert Ede in Crossroads were followed by roles in practically every major British series of the next two decades: The Troubleshooters, Adam Adamant Lives!, Strange Report, Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased), Jason King, The Persuaders!,The Onedin Line, Van Der Valk, Colditz, Special Branch, The Sweeney, The New Avengers, The Professionals, All Creatures Great And Small, Danger UXB, Minder, Blakes 7, Enemy At The Door, Tales Of The Unexpected and The Sandbaggers. His film roles were less prolific but nonetheless included Force 10 From Navarone (1978), Escape To Athena (1979), Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981), High Road To China (1983), and a brief but memorable appearance in The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Although Scottish by birth, Sheard specialised in German characters: he appeared on screen three times as Heinrich Himmler, and six times as Adolf Hitler, notably in episodes of The Tomorrow People and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989).

Originally published in FAB 53.