Actor and comedian Lance Percival dies aged 81

The British actor had notable film roles in Up Pompeii, Carry On Cruising, Postman’s Knock and Darling Lili

Actor Lance Percival has died aged 81.


Known for his roles in comedy films including Frankie Howerd’s Up Pompeii, Carry On Cruising and Postman’s Knock, Percival enjoyed a long and varied acting career on both the big and small screen. 

He began working on television in the 1960s, performing satirical calypso on comedy shows including That Was the Week That Was. His own shows The Lance Percival Show and Lance at Large followed, the latter a sitcom that co-starred Carry On favourite Bernard Bresslaw, Gladys Bacon and Eric Barker. 

Percival’s love of music led him to have a calypso chart hit in 1965 with his cover of Shame and Scandal in the Family. 

He also took on roles in Shoestring and Citizen James, as well as providing the voice of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in the 1960s animation, The Beatles. He went on to play Old Fred in the band’s feature-length animated film Yellow Submarine.

In 1970, he starred alongside Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson in musical movie, Darling Lili, and a year later Percival played Bilius in a film version of Frankie Howerd’s popular TV series Up Pompeii. He later featured in sequels Up the Chastity Belt and Up the Front.

During the 1980s, Percival was a regular on BBC light entertainment formats including Just a Minute. Others may also remember him for his part in BBC children’s drama Bluebirds opposite Barbara Windsor. 

“When he spoke about his showbiz life, he spoke fondly of his time on That Was the Week That Was, and he always loved Ned Sherrin, who discovered him performing at the Blue Angel Club,” his son Jamie told BBC News.

“He was an amazing dad. He was involved in my life right up to the present day. He came to every rugby game I was in, and we watched sports together, and we held Ryder Cup parties.

“He was loved by all his family and will be very much missed.”


Picture credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images