Tributes paid to Boys from the Blackstuff actor Michael Angelis

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Tributes paid to Boys from the Blackstuff actor Michael Angelis


Tributes have been paid after the death of Michael Angelis, an actor who will be remembered as the morose rabbit-obsessed Lucien from The Liver Birds, the desperate Chrissie in Boys from the Blackstuff, and the narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Angelis died suddenly while at home with his wife on Saturday, his agent said. He was 68.

One of Angelis’s most memorable performances was as Chrissie Todd in Alan Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff, a Liverpool-set drama that showed the devastating blight of 1980s unemployment.

In a row with his wife Angie, played by Julie Walters, Angelis’s character says with mounting fury: “What do you think it’s like for me, eh? A second class citizen. A second rate man. With no money and no job and no, no … place!” The episode ends with him strangling and shooting his geese and pigeons just to provide dinner.

From left: Bernard Hill, Peter Kerrigan, Michael Angelis and Alan Igbon in Alan Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff.



From left: Bernard Hill, Peter Kerrigan, Michael Angelis and Alan Igbon in Alan Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff. Photograph: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

The writer Jack Thorne was among those to pay tribute, describing Angelis as the heart of Bleasdale’s drama. “There’s a moment in it that made my heart stop, his kids are starving, he finds £5. He goes out, buys chips, lager & whisky,” said Thorne. of a The clip is not online, but Thorne tweeted an image of the passage from the script, inviting people to “imagine an incredible performance full of self hatred”.

Jack Thorne
(@jackthorne)

RIP Michael Angelis, the heart of Boys from The Blackstuff. There’s a moment in it that made my heart stop, his kids are starving, he finds £5. He goes out, buys chips, lager & whisky. Clip not online but here’s the script, imagine an incredible performance full of self hatred: pic.twitter.com/MeJZ2X7ZGW


May 31, 2020

Angelis once described the drama as “possibly the finest thing I’ve ever done” and it changed his career. Before it he had experienced signing on, but not afterwards.

The comedian and presenter Matt Lucas said: “Michael Angelis was one of the greatest TV actors I’ve ever seen. His work with Alan Bleasdale was tremendous. What a loss.”

In the 1970s Angelis became a familiar face as the gloomy, philosophising Lucien in the Carla Lane sitcom The Liver Birds, a character who always wished he had stayed home with his rabbits.

He had a melodic voice which made him the perfect replacement for Ringo Starr as narrator of the Thomas the Tank Engine TV shows, a role he had for 13 series from 1991.

Other notable roles included the gangster Mickey Startup in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet; Martin Niarchos in Bleasdale’s Channel 4 drama GBH; and Robert Rocksavage in the BBC show Good Cop.

Born in Dingle, Liverpool, Angelis was married to the Coronation Street actor Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt, between 1991-2001 and later married Jennifer Khalastchi.





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