Ballard Berkeley

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Ballard Berkeley
Birth name Ballard Blascheck
Born August 6, 1904 in Margate, Kent, England
Died January 16, 1988 in London, England
Notable Roles Fawlty Towers: Major Gowen
Notable Episodes Fawlty Towers: 1x06 - The Germans
Fawlty Towers: 2x01 - Communication Problems
Awards None

Ballard Berkeley was a British actor best known for his role as Major Gowen in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers.



Ballard Berkeley was born Ballard Blascheck on August 6, 1904 in Margate, Kent, England. He was best known as a stage actor after he made his stage debut in 1928, and he continued to perform for the rest of his life in both London and New York. Among his many film and TV appearances, he played Major Gowen, the senile, drunken ex-British Army officer who was a permanent resident at the hotel Fawlty Towers in the series of the same name. Just as Major Gowen did for Basil Fawlty, Berkeley often kept co-star John Cleese apprised of cricket scores during filming, and Cleese recalls Berkeley standing off-camera, holding up his fingers to tell Cleese the scores as Cleese spoke his lines. Berkeley died at the age of 83 on January 16, 1988 in London.


Starring Roles

Series Role Year(s) Season(s)
Leave It to Todhunter Det. Chief Insp. Morseby 1958 1
Swizzlewick Maj. Lamb 1964 1
United! Dr. Newkes 1965–1967
Fawlty Towers Major Gowen 1975–1979 1 2

Guest Starring Roles

Series Role Episode Airdate
The Adventures of Robin Hood Count De Waldern 1x08 - Queen Eleanor November 14, 1955
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents Edward Preston 4x05 - The Immigrant December 12, 1955
Dixon of Dock Green Mac 2x03 - Didey's Dollar June 23, 1956
The Adventures of Sir Lancelot Sir Urgan 1x02 - The Ferocious Fathers September 22, 1956
Dixon of Dock Green Harry Bates 4x01 - Presented in Court September 7, 1957
Dixon of Dock Green Joe Magnus 4x20 - A Little Bit of French January 25, 1958
The Adventures of Robin Hood Tybalt 3x24 - Roman Gold March 10, 1958
Dixon of Dock Green Mr. Noakes 5x11 - The Pyromaniac January 25, 1958
Ivanhoe Rand the Goldsmith 1x35 - The Swindler December 7, 1958
Invisible Man Manton 1x06 - Play to Kill July 18, 1959
Dixon of Dock Green Charles Devenish 6x09 - George Drops the Book November 7, 1959
Dixon of Dock Green Mr. Briggs 7x14 - A Spot of Overtime December 31, 1960
The Cheaters Tyler 1x09 - Libel February 11, 1961
Dixon of Dock Green Victor Dowson 8x03 - A Quiet, Ordinary Woman September 23, 1961
The Cheaters Jefford 2x06 - The Mighty Warrior January 27, 1962
The Cheaters Mansion 2x23 - The Back of Beyond May 26, 1962
Maigret unknown 4x05 - A Man Condemned October 29, 1963
Sherlock Holmes (1965) Sir James Damery 1x01 - The Illustrious Client February 20, 1965
The Wednesday Play First Committee Member 05/03/67 - Message for Posterity May 3, 1967
Detective (1964) Assistant Commissioner 2x02 - Dover and the Deadly Poison Pen Letters May 24, 1968
Sherlock Holmes (1965) Sir Charles Baskerville 2x04 - The Hound of the Baskervilles (1) September 30, 1968
Dixon of Dock Green Colonel 16x01 - The Paperhangers September 6, 1969
Father Dear Father The Colonel 3x02 - One Dog and His Man May 19, 1970
Bless This House Group Captain 2x06 - Strangers in the Night March 27, 1972
Wodehouse Playhouse Sir Alexander 1x04 - Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court May 14, 1975
Just William Major Franklin 3x01 - William and the Sleeping Major April 24, 1977
The Goodies unknown 8x02 - Saturday Night Grease January 21, 1980
The Goodies Chairman of the British Olympic Committee 8x03 - A Kick in the Arts November 28, 1980
To the Manor Born Greville Hartley 3x06 - Connections in High Places November 22, 1981
Terry and June Colonel Culpepper 5x02 - Swingtime October 26, 1982
Are You Being Served? Fishing Customer 9x03 - Memories Are Made of This May 6, 1983
Hi-De-Hi! Gentleman 5x03 - Empty Saddles December 11, 1983
That's My Boy Commander Buckley 3x05 - Unfair Dismissal May 25, 1984
Fresh Fields Guy 4x08 - Happy Returns October 23, 1986
Terry and June Sir Arthur Forster-Carter 9x03 - Episode Three (Season Nine) August 3, 1987

Specials and Made-for-TV Movies

Talk, News and Game Show Appearances

Memorable Moments

Awards and Accolades