Vale Joss Ackland

In last Friday’s embrace & encourage newsletter, I made a passing reference to the Pet Shop Boys. In particular the video to Always on My Mind with Joss Ackland, hamming it up in the back seat of an ancient Ford Consul. Today, Monday, we heard that Mr Ackland passed peacefully, surrounded by family and friends at 95 years old.

An extraordinarily gifted actor; his face could convey the deepest of emotions with the smallest shift of his eyes. At the end of They Do it With Mirrors, (he plays Lewis Serrocold, married to a childhood friend of Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple), right at the end of the TV movie there’s a tight close-up of Joss Ackland in profile. As another character challenges his; the very uptight, very middle-class English man, who’s world is falling in around him, he’s fighting his emotions and the realisation that this is it. From a distance the facade would have looked in place. His eyes tear up, his voice breaks, we only see it because of how close in the camera is. The next scene is him in a pond, he repeats,”Eddie!” and manages to convey a different emotion each time.

I would like to say that I knew this, given Agatha Christie is a specialised subject of mine, but I dug out the DVD to double-check I’d not misremembered it.

Joss Ackland had an extraordinary career on stage and screen, with every possible base covered, (including The Mighty Ducks). Looking at the reaction and memories being shared of him, he was well-loved and respected by his peers too.

That is all you could ask for isn’t it?

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