If you haven’t already heard, the great British actor Edward Woodward passed away on the 16th November, aged 79.
Edward started acting in the 1950s, but it was in the late 1960s that he became a household name in the spy series Callan. This fame brought him a movie role in the 1973 film The Wicker Man, a truly chilling horror film about a police officer investigating strange cult like behaviour in a sleepy little backwater village.
For me personally though, Edward Woodward will always be Robert McCall from The Equalizer, which ran for four seasons from 1985 to 1989. This is one of those series that has stuck in my mind for the amazingly scary title sequence and theme tune, with the shot of Robert McCall stood in a dark alley in a pair of car headlights being an image that will be burnt in my mind forever more.
The Equalizer has been a show that I have wanted to write about on this site for some time, but I never have simply because apart from the title sequence I don’t remember much about the actual storylines. I know that Robert McCall was once an agent in some kind of intelligence agency, but that when he retired he went into “business”, if you can call it that, as a righter of wrongs. He worked for free, and basically was like a one man A Team, helping those who were powerless to help themselves.
More recently Edward Woodward appeared as a dustbin man in the BBC comedy drama Common As Muck, and also starred in the Simon Pegg film Hot Fuzz, a film which mirrors The Wicker Man in some ways with its storyline. In March this year he also joined the cast of soap EastEnders, playing the role of Tommy Clifford.
Edward’s name has also been the source of several jokes, given that it sort of sounds like a record where the needle has got stuck. Morecombe and Wise used his name in one gag, where Eric asks Ernie who would star in one of the many plays he supposedly wrote. “Edward Woodward would”, was the reply. There is also the joke about removing the D’s from his name, leaving you with “Ewar Woowar”.
Rest in peace Edward, and I’ll leave you all with the title sequence to The Equalizer, which is how I will always remember this fine actor.