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Whatever happened to Nicholas Bond Owen?


Lifestyle | Article

Anyone watching an old episode of Grange Hill can count former child actors still in the profession on the fingers of one hand. For every Todd Carty, there’s five Terry Sue Patts.

A George & Mildred marathon on digital TV lead Simon Stabler to ask, whatever happened to Nicholas Bond Owen?

George & Mildred, one of the most popular sitcoms of the 70s, starred Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce. It relocated their Man About The House characters to the upmarket Hampton Wick.

George & Mildred and inset Nicholad Bond Owen


While Mildred tried to better herself, George, much to the dismay of posh neighbour Jeffrey Fourmile (Norman Eshley), remained his lazy slobbish self.

Playing Jeffrey’s son, Tristram, was eight-year-old Nicholas Bond Owen. He got into acting by accident, when his older brother Matthew, a former bouncing baby competitor, signed up with a child model agency. Nick, “his little fat brother, who went everywhere with him and smiled a lot,” was also signed up.

After the odd catalogue shoot, Nick was invited to audition for the part of Tristram at Thames Television. With “a huge amount of luck” and his mum teaching him how to pronounce his lines, Nick won the part.

With several Nicholas Owens on Equity’s books, a middle name was required. Nick’s mum gave two suggestions, while he was allowed to suggest a third. A 007 fan, Nick chose Bond, a name which “has haunted me ever since”.

George and Mildred ran for five series, including a feature film where the Fourmiles made a brief appearance. Sadly, Yootha Joyce’s death ended the show. A spin off, with George coming to terms with life as a widower, never materialised.

Nick remembers Yootha as “such a warm person, a talented lady who was the star of the show.” During the shows run Nick appeared as the catapult wielding Kevin in, the poorly received, Confessions from a Holiday Camp. After George and Mildred, he appeared in Eric Sykes’ modern take on the silent movie, Rhubarb Rhubarb. Followed by mini series The Coral Island and Lassiter, a Tom Selleck crime romp set in the 50s. A part in an episode of Dramarama was bookended by roles in the BBC classic serials Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, his final television credit. Nick went to college to study for his A-levels, continuing in the occasional stage role until he was 25. A change of agents lead to a reduction in the amount of work he was being offered. He found employment with Penguin Books Ltd and found himself in a position to turn down six-months work at the RSC.

That pretty much sealed my fate with the agent, I needed to change agents but I had quite a good job, was busy playing football and falling in love.

Nick spent 15 years at Penguin and its owners Pearson, working in everything from courier to operations manager. When his final contract expired he was told of a vacancy with “a new and exciting media company in the city.” He applied and next thing he knew, he was distribution director at free business paper City AM.

Despite the change in career, Nick has many happy memories of acting.

It’s not until you’re not acting anymore you realise how much you miss is. I travelled the world on the back of George & Mildred and was spoilt rotten by everyone involved.

“My only gripe was being stuck in a rehearsal room on a Saturday morning when I wanted to be outside playing football.”

 

July 2009 - Peterborough UK Community Website

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