‘The Demon Headmaster’ actor Terrence Hardiman dies, aged 86

He also appeared in series including ‘The Crown’, ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Prime Suspect’

Terrence Hardiman, best known for playing the title role in The Demon Headmaster, has died aged 86.

The news was broken with “great sadness” by his agent earlier today, who described him as a “beloved client and much-loved stage and screen actor” (via BBC). As of yet, no further details have been announced.

Hardiman first rose to fame in the ‘90s, for his role in The Demon Headmaster — a CBBC series which scared a generation of kids between the period of 1996 and 1998. The show was later given a reboot in 2019, where he once again took on the role.

The series was based on the popular children’s books of the same name, written by Gillian Cross, which explored the story of the Demon Headmaster, who hypnotised his victims with his piercing green eyes after telling them: “Look into my eyes”.

Other roles Hardiman played throughout his extensive career included the role of Doctor Evans in the second season of The Crown, as well as appearances in Doctor Who, Prime Suspect and Richard Attenborough’s 1982 film, Gandhi.

Gillian Cross, the author behind the CBBC series, led the tributes to Hardiman following news of his death. “Very sad to hear that Terrence Hardiman has died. He was a wonderful actor on television, stage and screen and a great Demon Headmaster,” she wrote on Twitter. “Sending deepest sympathy to his family and friends.”

TV critic and broadcaster Scott Brian also shared a tribute for the late actor on the platform, writing: “He terrified an entire generation of children in The Demon Headmaster. What an icon.” Check out more tributes from the entertainment world below.

Hardiman was born in East London in 1937 and went on to study English at the University of Cambridge — where he first discovered his love of acting.

While in university, he joined the school’s amateur dramatic club, alongside other soon-to-be big names, including Derek Jacobi. From there, he also fulfilled the role of Mephistopheles in a touring production of Doctor Faustus, run by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 1968.

His big break on television came four years after with a role on Granada’s Crown Court, where he played the character Stephen Harvesty from 1972 onwards.

Discussing his most famous character, the Demon Headmaster, in 2019, Hardiman discussed how he first felt about accepting the role. “I thought, ‘what a horrible character. How lovely. A real villain of a piece. Why not,’” he told the Radio Times, going on to explain how he was surprised by the popularity of the show.

“I started to be recognised in the street, especially as I lived near schools around here, in northwest London,” he explained. “And there were people – youngsters – looking at me, and shouting out at me, and making fun of me, which is very healthy… It stopped me being too grand!”

  • Related Topics
  • BBC

You May Like