A much-loved teacher of Latin who devotes his life to Brookfield school and its generations of schoolboys
Martin Clunes was interested in the role of Mr. Chipping as soon as he heard about it. "It's not often that an actor gets a chance to play a whole life and that challenge attracted me instantly. Chips is a man that intrigued -- because he's so human. Clunes explained: "He's a fully rounded man with both good and bad traits. He's decent, hard-working, dedicated, honest, genuine and at times grumpy.
Chips' first day at school is not an auspicious one. Before he has even made it to the staff room, some boys have followed him round the school, aping his walk. Clunes smiled: "One of the ways I got 'into' Chips as a character was through his walk. I based it on my Gran's walk. I remember walking behind her on the way to church to arrange the flowers."
Clunes has appeared in many roles over the past two decades including, on television, Jeeves and Wooster, Inspector Morse and Gormenghast (as Professor Flower) and, on film, in Swing Kids, Shakespeare in Love and Saving Grace. He was acclaimed for his role in Molière's Tartuffe at the National Theatre but he is probably best known for his portrayal of Gary in Men Behaving Badly for which he was crowned Best Comedy Actor by BAFTA and the British Comedy Awards. Clunes lives in West Dorset with his wife, film producer Philippa Braithwaite, and their daughter Emily.
Katherine Bridges, Kathie
Mr. Chipping's inspirational young wife. She's forward thinking and a free spirit. And when Kathie arrives at Brookfield, it's not just the life of Chips that she changes.
Victoria Hamilton starred alongside Jamie Theakston in Somerset Maugham's Home and Beauty in London's West End during the fall of 2002 and was previously in Laurence Boswell's critically acclaimed revival of Peter Nichols' A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. She played Cordelia in Masterpiece Theatre's King Lear and was seen in Patricia Rozema's Mansfield Park.
Staefel is a dedicated teacher, originally from Germany, who studied at Oxford before joining the staff at Brookfield. He's acclimatized to England so there's only a slight German accent. He sees teaching as a calling and, like Chips, Staefel spends most of his life at Brookfield.
A native of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Conleth Hill confesses that it was probably attending the circus as a child that first got him interested in performing. His extensive theatre credits include the award-winning Stones in his Pockets as well as numerous appearances for all of Ireland's major theatre companies.
The first headmaster Chipping encounters at Brookfield
Although he studied law at Oxford, John Wood subsequently joined the Old Vic where, among other roles, he played the Dauphin to Richard Burton's Henry V. He received a Tony nomination for his performance as Guil in the New York staging of Rosencrantz & Guilderstern Are Dead. He performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and won the Tony for Best Actor in 1975 for his performance in Tom Stoppard's Travesties. He was a member of the cast of Chocolat which was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2001. Other notable films include WarGames, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Orlando, The Madness of King George, An Ideal Husband and Masterpiece Theatre's Love in a Cold Climate.
The new headmaster whose plans for modernizing Brookfield unsettle Chips
In the past three decades, Patrick Malahide has appeared in numerous films (including The Long Kiss Goodnight, Billy Elliot, Quills and Captain Corelli's Mandolin) and television programs. His previous Masterpiece Theatre appearances include Danger UXB, After the War, A Doll's House, The Blackheath Poisonings, Middlemarch and All the King's Men.
Chipping's physician and friend
Richard Braine's previous Masterpiece Theatre productions include Piece of Cake, House of Cards, Stiff Upper Lips and My Uncle Silas (as Sir John Featherstone). He recently appeared in an episode of MI-5 (also known as Spooks in the UK).
One of Chipping's earliest students at Brookfield, Rivers becomes a baronet and chairman of the school's board of governors.
John Harding appeared in the BBC's 1984 version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips as well as in Masterpiece Theatre's contemporary Othello. In addition to films, he has frequently been seen in guest spots on television programs such as Poirot, The Darling Buds of May, Monarch of the Glen and A Touch of Frost.
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