Geoffrey Palmer

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Geoffrey Palmer
Geoffrey Palmer.jpg
Birth name Geoffrey Dyson Palmer
Born June 4, 1927 in London, England, UK
Notable Roles The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin: Jimmy Anderson
As Time Goes By: Lionel Hardcastle
Notable Episodes Fawlty Towers: 2x04 - The Kipper and the Corpse
Awards Other: Officer of the Order of the British Empire

Geoffrey Palmer is a British actor best known for his work opposite Judi Dench in the British sitcom As Time Goes By, as well as his appearances in dozens of TV shows and movies, including A Fish Called Wanda, The Madness of King George and the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.



As a young man, he served as a corporal in the Royal Marines. After his discharge, he worked for a while at an imports office and as an accountant, until a girlfriend convinced him to work with her at an amateur dramatics society.

He soon found plenty of stage work, eventually serving as assistant stage manager, first at the Q Theatre, then at Croydon's Grand Theatre. He was especially sought after in comedies, where his deadpan delivery served him well. TV and film work soon followed, and he was constantly working throughout the 1960s and '70s. In 1976, he began the role which would make him a celebrity in Britain when he played Jimmy Anderson in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

In 1992, he found his greatest international success opposite Dame Judi Dench in the British sitcom As Time Goes By. In 2005, he was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his work in British theater. He lives with his wife, Sally Palmer, with whom he has had two children.


Starring Roles

Series Role Year(s) Season(s)
The Army Game Soldier 1958–1959 3
Best of Enemies Johnson 1968 1
Edward the King Sir Edward Clarke 1975 1
Bill Brand Malcolm Frear 1976 1
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin Jimmy Anderson 1976–1982 1 2 3
Butterflies Ben Parkinson 1978–2000 1 2 3 4
The Last Song Leo Bannister 1981–1983 1 2
Whoops Apocalypse Foreign Secretary 1982 1
Death of an Expert Witness Dr. Edwin Lorimer 1983 1
Fairly Secret Army Major Harry Kitchener Wellington Truscott 1984–1986 1 2
Hot Metal Harry Stringer 1986 1
Executive Stress Donald Fairchild 1986 1
After the War Major General Sir Robert Godolphin 1989 1
As Time Goes By Lionel Hardcastle 1992–2005 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
The Legacy of Reginald Perrin Jimmy Anderson 1996 1
Tales from the River Bank Narrator 1997 1
Middle Classes: Their Rise and Sprawl Narrator 2001 1
The Savages Donald 2001 1
Stig of the Dump Robert Tollworth 2002 1
Grumpy Old Men Narrator 2003–2005 1 2 3
He Knew He Was Right Sir Marmaduke Rowley 2004 1

Guest Starring Roles

Series Role Episode Airdate
Police Surgeon Peter Hughes 1x04 - Smash but No Grab October 1, 1960
The Avengers Philip Anthony 1x12 - Dance with Death April 15, 1961
Top Secret Captain Felipe 2x07 - The Eagle of San Gualo June 20, 1962
The Avengers Paul Manning 2x02 - Propellant 23 October 6, 1962
Suspense (1962) Newspaper Reporter 2x20 - The Edge of Discovery May 13, 1963
The Avengers Dr. Terence 3x03 - Man with Two Shadows October 12, 1963
The Saint Pete Ferguson 2x10 - The Rough Diamonds November 21, 1963
Gideon's Way Jeff Grant 1x15 - The Alibi Men June 24, 1965
Public Eye Donald Halston 1x08 - 'And a Very Fine Fiddle Has He' March 13, 1965
The Avengers Martin Smythe 4x08 - A Surfeit of H2O November 20, 1965
Public Eye Dr. Pringle 2x10 - No, No, Nothing Like That September 3, 1966
The Baron Anstruther 1x06 - Masquerade November 2, 1966
The Baron Anstruther 1x07 - The Killing November 9, 1966
The Wednesday Play Property Agent 11/16/66 - Cathy Come Home November 16, 1966
Mrs Thursday Headmaster Baxter 2x11 - The Old School Tie Up March 6, 1967
The Troubleshooters Jeremy Martin 4x07 - And the Walls Came Tumbling Down December 1, 1967
The Troubleshooters Jeremy Martin 4x26 - The Minister of the Crown... And the Very Compromising Photograph May 3, 1968
Thirty-Minute Theatre Professor WhybrowThe Chequers Manoeuvre September 30, 1968 - 09/30/68
George and the Dragon PC Footer 4x02 - Episode Two (Season Four) October 3, 1968
Z Cars Barney French 6x208 - Special Duty (2) March 11, 1969
The Expert Asst. Chief Con. Rogers 2x02 - The Visitors (2) April 11, 1969
Fraud Squad Arthur New 1x12 - Two Kinds of Crash August 5, 1969
Detective (1964) Chief Superintenden Smeed 3x06 - Hunt the Peacock October 12, 1969
Paul Temple Det. Insp. Dean 1x03 - There Must Be a Mr. X December 7, 1969
Softly Softly Professor Brett 6x16 - The Lie Direct December 30, 1970
Doctor Who Masters BBB - Doctor Who and the Silurians January 31, 1970—March 14, 1970
Play for Today Chief Superintendent 2x06 - Michael Regan November 18, 1971
Doomwatch Major Sims 2x02 - Invasion December 21, 1971
Doctor Who Administrator NNN - The Mutants April 8, 1972—May 13, 1972
Doomwatch Chief Supt. Mallor 3x03 - Say Knife, Fat Man June 19, 1972
Fly into Danger Air Traffic Controller 1x07 - Final Approach July 12, 1972
Colditz Doc 1x10 - Tweedledum December 21, 1972
Colditz Doc 1x14 - Gone Away (1) January 18, 1973
Colditz Doc 1x15 - Gone Away (2) January 25, 1973
Play for Today Richard Nicholls 3x16 - Only Make Believe February 12, 1973
Menace Major Ryder 2x01 - Judas Goat March 22, 1973
The Liver Birds Doctor 4x10 - Follow That Ring March 6, 1974
Angels Lawrence Rutherford 1x01 - Arrival September 1, 1975
Play for Today unknown 6x15 - A Story to Frighten the Children February 3, 1976
Angels Lawrence Rutherford 2x10 - Home Sweet Home June 8, 1976
Sutherland's Law Athol Fairfax QC 5x07 - The Hot Water Boat August 24, 1976
Angels Lawrence Rutherford 3x04 - Decision September 27, 1976
Van der Valk Head of Faculty 3x09 - The Professor October 31, 1977
The Professionals Simon Sinclair 1x06 - Where the Jungle Ends February 3, 1978
Scorpion Tales unknown 1x04 - The Ghost in the Pale Blue Dress May 20, 1978
The Sweeney Commander Watson 4x09 - Feet of Clay November 2, 1978
Fawlty Towers Dr. Price 2x04 - The Kipper and the Corpse March 12, 1979
Bless Me Father Freddie Williams 2x05 - All at Sea December 16, 1979
The Goodies School Headmaster 8x06 - War Babies February 18, 1980
The Professionals Avery 5x09 - The Ojuka Situation January 23, 1983
Hot Metal Harry Stringer 2x07 - The Satellite Years March 10, 1989
Blackadder Goes Forth Field Marshal Haig 1x06 - Goodbyeee November 2, 1989
Inspector Morse Matthew Copley-Barnes 4x01 - The Infernal Serpent January 3, 1990
Bergerac Nigel Carter 8x04 - Roots of Evil February 4, 1990
Alleyn Mysteries Harold Cartell 2x01 - Hand in Glove January 10, 1994
Look at the State We're In! The Ruler 1x05 - Nanny Knows Best June 3, 1995
Absolute Power Lord Harcourt 1x05 - Country Life December 8, 2003
Ashes to Ashes Lord Scarman 1x08 - Episode 8 March 27, 2008

Specials and Made-for-TV Movies

Title Role Airdate Series/Banner
Going, Going, Gone... Free? Ralph July 9, 1975
A Midsummer Night's Dream Quince December 13, 1981 The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare
The Insurance Man The Angry Doctor February 22, 1986
Season's Greetings Bernard December 24, 1986
Christabel Mr. Burton November 16, 1988
A Question of Attribution Donleavy October 4, 1992
Stalag Luft Commander October 27, 1993
Full Throttle Sir Stanley Birkin February 2, 1995 Heroes and Villains
Reckless: The Movie Robert Crane October 11, 1998
Butterflies Reunion Special Ben Parkinson November 17, 2000 Butterflies
Judi Dench: A BAFTA Tribute Himself January 12, 2002 A BAFTA Tribute
Dickens William Makepeace Thackeray May 11, 2002
Looking for Victoria Narrator October 27, 2003
The Young Visiters Minnit December 26, 2003
The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag Corbett's Ghost December 2, 2005

Memorable Moments

  • Fawlty Towers:
    • 2x04 - The Kipper and the Corpse: As Dr. Price, Palmer has been called away from his breakfast of sausages to declare a dead man's time of death. He has waited through constant delays for his sausages. At last, he catches Basil Fawlty trying to hide the body in the kitchen. He chews Basil out and demands that Basil makes "sure this area is scrubbed before any more food is prepared in here." When Basil promises to do so, Price adds, "Sausages excepted, you may cook them immediately. I'll take the risk."

Awards and Accolades

  • Order of the British Empire
    • Officer of the Order of the British Empire (2005) - For work in drama