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Michael Bilton

Attended Hymers College:

1931 - 1936

What makes this nominee inspiring?

Michael Bilton was an English actor best known for his roles in the British television sitcoms To The Manor Born (playing the gardener and sometime butler Ned) and Waiting for God (playing Basil, a septuagenarian satyr).

He attended Hymers College, Hull. In the Second World War he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and was wounded at the Battle of El Alamein. After his recovery he began his acting career in repertory theatre.

He had a strong comedic bent and featured in Keeping Up Appearances, One Foot in the Grave and Grace and Favour (1992). He also appeared in Pennies From Heaven, The Saint, The Avengers, The Prisoner, Quatermass II and The Champions, He also appeared as the doorman at a hotel in Terry and June. He also featured in the Doctor Who stories The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, Pyramids of Mars and The Deadly Assassin. He also appeared as the butler Stephens in The Adventure of Shoscombe Olde Place episode of The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes; also notable in the cast was Jude Law as an aspiring jockey. Bilton's film appearances included A Taste of Honey (1961), The Thirty Nine Steps (1978) and The Fourth Protocol (1987), as Kim Philby.

Bilton appeared in a well-remembered Yellow Pages television commercial as an elderly gardener receiving a sit-on lawnmower from a couple with a large rear garden. The male half of the couple was played by David Hargreaves, who also appeared in the BBC drama series Juliet Bravo.

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