Clive Mantle – In Conversation

Celebrated film and television actor Clive Mantle has become one of the most recognisable and versatile faces on British television in a career spanning over thirty years. Graduating from RADA in 1980 alongside others which would become fellow significant figures within the industry including Richard McCabe and Mark Ryland. Having such a grounding in one of the most prestigious acting schools in the world put Clive on the road to success. At a time before performing arts and media had become staples of most further education establishments, RADA was considered as acting elite and one of the only outlets for potential actors to shine.

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Whilst at RADA, Clive starred in a Stephen Berkov play which required to shave his head. This would prove vital years later when his agent sent the photo of bald Clive to 20th Century Fox who were on the lookout for bald actors to star in their forthcoming blockbuster Alien 3. He was promptly cast as Clive William who was involved in gang crimes and was sentenced to Fiorina 161 life imprisonment for murder. William was eventually attacked and killed by the creature; his presumed corpse was discovered by Ripley shortly afterwards.


On stage, Clive has enjoyed tackling some iconic roles including Dr. Frank Bryant in the stage version of Educating Rita and A Streetcar Named Desire. Tackling a role which was so synonymous with the legendary Michael Caine was a daunting prospect for Clive but the theatre has always been somewhere he feels most at home so he was more than capable of making the role his own. Appearing as Mitch in Tim Alberry’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield helped Clive gain attention from television producers and in 1993 secured the part as Dr. Mike Barratt in the BBC heavyweight medical drama Casualty. Surrounded by some of the best writers and directors in Britain including Antonia Bird, it wasn’t long before Mike Barratt became one of the most popular characters within the show and in turn made Clive Mantle a household name.


Making his first appearance during the seventh series, the character of Mike Barratt was originally created as part of the supporting cast. Yet Clive’s laidback portrayal of the slightly shy surgeon made him increasingly popular and he soon became at the very centre of the many dramatic goings on at the hospital. Throughout the eighties and nineties Casually was able to respectfully echo the real life crisis which many faced and was allowed to be extremely raw about how they told people’s stories. It was dominated by action and didn’t dwell on the domestic relationships, it wasn’t concerned with who was having sex with who or which character was going to be next to have the latest life changing disaster?


In 1999 Clive revived the character of Mike Barratt for the BBC’s other signature medical drama Holby City. It was here that Clive realised the full extent of the domination of the domestic and serial elements of BBC drama and no longer were they reflecting the tireless and intricate job of the NHS but rather playing out staff shenanigans over and over again. His time at Holby lasted for just two years 2001 when Clive participated in a charity trek of the Annapurna circuit in the Himalayas and to Everest Base Camp, reaching 18,420 ft in aid of Hope and Homes for Children.


Beyond his substantial drama credentials, Clive has also dabbled in comedy with vast ranging success. The 1997 BBC sitcom Bloomin’ Marvellous starred Clive alongside Sarah Lancashire as broody father-to-be Jack Deakin. Hounded by critics Bloomin’ Marvellous only ran for one series and has never been repeated following Lancashire’s departure. A further series was muted with a recast of the female part but eventually the whole crew decided that enough was enough. Yet Clive acknowledges that there were a lot of good points to the show and believes that if certain techniques had been adopted it could have enjoyed longevity but sadly time on Bloomin Marvellous was cut short and in hindsight that was probably the right decision.

His other brush with the comedy world came in 2010 when Clive replaced Jerome Flynn for the West End comedy biopic Just Like That surrounding the life of Tommy Cooper. Tasked with portraying one of the most successful comedians of all time was no easy feet and required Clive to do his own research on the great man. Cooper’s former writer John Fisher was a vital source of knowledge and guidance in honing the character of Tommy and the late Paul Daniels was able to advise on the magic side. These elements were invaluable in bringing Tommy to life and something which Clive feels extremely proud of.

Slowly becoming an elder statesmen of television drama, Clive decided to experiment with a new discipline. The Treasure At The Top Of The World centres on schoolboy Freddie Malone and his quest to learn about the world around him which takes him to the most amazing places. The book was well received by Clive’s chosen target audience and he still finds it very rewarding when he’s invited into schools and gets firsthand reactions to his work. Presently Clive is busy working on the third installment of the Freddie series which will hopefully be out very soon. If you’re interested to know more about the Freddie series then it’s available on Amazon: The Treasure at the Top of the World (The Adventures of Freddie Malone)


It was a great pleasure to speak to Clive Mantle and wish him all the very best for the rest of his remarkable career.