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Thank You, Alfred, That’ll Be All

Michael Gough died today at 94, and it’s only right for us to pause to honor him, considering that he appeared in two iconic nerd entertainments, the Tim Burton (and Joel Schumacher, although we can forget those if we want) Batman films and Doctor Who, the latter as two different characters 27 years apart.

In Batman, he was, of course, Alfred, the faithful butler:

In Doctor Who, he first appeared in four 1966 First Doctor episodes as the evil Celestial Toymaker, of which only the last episode remains.

He returned as Councillor Hedin in another four-parter, “Arc of Infinity,” with the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. He was also married for a while to Anneke Wills, a/k/a Polly, the companion to the First and Second Doctors.

Gough appeared in non-Batman Tim Burton movies, too, right up to Alice in Wonderland, and was in a lot of the classic British horror flicks of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. You won’t find too many actors whose resumes include an Ealing comedy, Hammer horror, movies by Ken Russell, Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker, Sydney Pollack, and Martin Scorsese, plus Batman and Doctor Who. And those are just a few of his appearances.

Here’s his IMDB listing. He worked a lot.

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  1. Sarah says:

    Not to get into a giant nerd slap-fest, hammer, but to say Caine did it better is comparing apples and oranges. Alfred is a character who has been represented in a lot of different ways over the years in the various forms of Batman media, and Gough’s personification took one direction while Caine’s took another. They are both tremendously talented actors with amazing filmographies. Personally I believe they belong in the top three for Alfred – the third being voice actor Efrem Zimbalist, who performed in the role throughout numerous animateed portrayals.

    Being callous about what I believe was inarguably an excellent performance by someone who has just died makes you just one more anonymous guy on the internet trying to look tough.

  2. Brian E. says:

    He will be missed. He provided a lot of entertainment for a lot of people over a lot of years.

  3. JFM says:

    This is a serious bummer. He’s been a constant in my life, from the Hammer and Amicus horror films to Doctor Who to Batman. It was always comforting to see his name pop up in the opening credits in many a horror and sci-fi production.
    The image of Gough as Councillor Hedin staring out from an ad for Nabico ET cookies on the back cover of Doctor Who Monthly (which always seemed strange given all of the more colorful characters to choose from) will be burned into my memory forever.
    He had a long life and an amazing career, but that doesn’t make his passing any less sad.

  4. thehammerismypenis says:

    Michael Caine did Alfred so much better anyways…