At the sprightly age of 81, Denis Lill, fondly remembered for his role as Alan Parry in ‘Only Fools and Horses,’ Dennis Broadley in ‘Outside Edge,’ and Consultant General Surgeon Mr Rose in ‘The Royal,’ is proving that retirement is a word not present in his dictionary! Even relatively recently, the distinguished actor is gracing the stage and screens alike, his last screen appearance being in the sleuthing series, ‘Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators’ back in 2019.
Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, Lill’s thespian journey has been a long and celebrated one. Beginning his career on stage, his early break came when he leapt across the pond to the UK. From there, he found himself in many roles, each showcasing his undeniable talent and adding to the richness of his repertoire.
One memory that stands out is his sterling performance in the 2015 stage version of ’12 Angry Men.’ Amidst a host of talented actors Lill stood out, demonstrating an unerring ability to captivate an audience, holding court amongst a stage brimming with talent.
The highlights of Lill’s illustrious career are too many to count. Examining his acting CV reveals a string of notable roles. From his early breakout in the sci-fi series ‘Survivors’ in the mid-70s to his numerous stage performances and, of course, his unforgettable TV roles, Lill has proven himself a versatile performer, comfortably switching between comedy and drama.
In ‘Only Fools and Horses,’ Lill portrayed Alan Parry, a successful businessman frequently being told off by his wife for getting too drunk. ‘Outside Edge’ saw Lill as Dennis Broadley, the lovable cricket enthusiast, while in ‘The Royal,’ he played the stoic yet compassionate Mr Rose, winning hearts as he navigated the complexities of a 1960s hospital.
Fast forward to 2019, Lill delighted viewers with a standout performance in ‘Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators.’ At 77, he put forth a brief performance that stole the episode.
‘Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators’ is a comedy-drama that follows the adventures of a quirky duo of detectives solving crimes in Stratford-upon-Avon. Lill appeared in the fifth episode of series two, ‘No More Cakes and Ale,’ as Eddie Dogberry, a seventy-something farmer and plaintiff. His guest appearance brought a smile to my face with his comical ability.
It’s great to see Denis Lill looking well and commanding the stage and screen not so long back. He is a greatly underrated actor whose diverse talents have contributed to some great TV shows. Let’s hope we see him on our screens again very soon!