Bob Hoskins was “a preciously vulnerable man who made us re-define greatness in an actor”

Legendary drama producer Kenith Trodd, who oversaw Hoskins' seminal 1978 drama Pennies from Heaven, pays tribute to "a great friend"

Kenith Trodd, the legendary TV drama producer who worked with Bob Hoskins on the classic 1978 drama Pennies From Heaven has spoken of his late friend’s brilliance in the part of travelling sheet music salesman Arthur Parker.


Trodd paid tribute to Hoskins’ acting in the classic drama which pioneered the Dennis Potter trope of having the characters mime popular songs.

However, the pair’s working relationship went back further than that: Trodd first cast Hoskins as a homicidal Broadmoor inmate in Jimmy O’Connor’s Her Majesty’s Pleasure, a drama he produced in 1974.

“It was a kind of cockney Cuckoo’s Nest clone for Play for Today, then, rather perversely we cast him as a pin-stripe business man in Potter’s Schmoedipus in 1976,” added Trodd who produced all of Potter’s seminal work including The Singing Detective and classic films such as Dreamchild and Blade on the Feather.

Of Hoskins involvement in Pennies from Heaven he told  “We had narrowed our auditions for the lead in Pennies From Heaven down to Alan Bates, Hywel Bennett and Jonathan Pryce when it hit me in the night that Arthur Parker was created to be Bob and only Bob.

“It took the briefest meeting with him  – Bob instantly incongruous on a Television Centre sofa – for Dennis and [director] Piers Haggard to agree.

“Bob jumped many improbable heights in his career after Pennies but he never did anything better – a great friend, a preciously vulnerable man and someone who made us re-define greatness in an actor.”

It was announced today that Hoskins had died at the age of 71 after suffering from pneumonia. He starred in a range of films including Hollywood hits such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Hoskins began his film career in the 1970s and found fame playing Harold Shand in the iconic 1980 gangster film The Long Good Friday alongside Helen Mirren. An Oscar nomination for best actor and Cannes Film Festival, Bafta and Golden Globe wins followed his lead role in another British film, Mona Lisa.

He retired from acting 18 months ago after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.