Nicky Henson

Nicky Henson
Nicholas Victor Leslie Henson

(1945-05-12)12 May 1945
London, England
Died15 December 2019(2019-12-15) (aged 74)
Years active1964–2019
(m. 1969; div. 1975)

Marguerite Porter
(m. 1986; his death 2019)
Children3, including Christian and Keaton

Nicholas Victor Leslie Henson (12 May 1945 – 15 December 2019)[1] was a British actor.

Early life

Henson was born in London, the son of Harriet Martha (Collins) and comedian Leslie Henson.[2] Adam Henson, a farmer and regular presenter on BBC TV's Countryfile, is the son of Nicky's brother, Joe Henson.[3]

He attended St. Bede's Prep School, Eastbourne, and Charterhouse in Godalming.[4] He trained as a stage manager at RADA, and first appeared on stage himself as a guitarist. As a member of the Young Vic Company he played Pozzo in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.



Henson appeared in various television roles, including guest roles in Fawlty Towers, Minder, Boon, Inspector Morse, A Touch of Frost, Heartbeat, After You've Gone, Lovejoy and Doctors. He played the eponymous hero in Shine On Harvey Moon when the series was revived in 1995.

In 2005 he played Hugo, an antique dealer, in Bad Girls. In February 2006, Henson joined the cast of the BBC1 soap opera EastEnders, playing Jack Edwards. Henson left the production towards the end of the year due to health problems.[5]

Henson played three different characters in the police drama series The Bill, the first in 1991, the second in 1998, and the third in 2007. In 2010, he appeared as Charles Grigg, a former acquaintance of Carson the butler, in an episode of the ITV period drama Downton Abbey and appeared in two further episodes in 2013.[6] He also played Randolph Mepstead, the older brother of David Jason's character in the pilot episode of the mid-1970s series Lucky Feller.

Henson played the role of Mr. Johnson in the Fawlty Towers episode "The Psychiatrist". He stated that despite his 50 years of professional acting, his tombstone will probably read "Here lies Nicky Henson – he was in one episode of Fawlty Towers". He was paid a modest appearance fee, and told he might earn the same again in repeats fees.[7][8][9][10]


Nicky Henson's film appearances include Witchfinder General (1968), There's a Girl in My Soup (1970), Mosquito Squadron (1970) and Psychomania (1973). He graduated to lead roles in The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones (1976) and No. 1 of the Secret Service (1977), before returning to supporting roles in Vera Drake (2004) and George Clooney's Syriana (2005).


On stage, Henson played many Shakespearean characters (including a period with the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1977) and had leading roles in Look Back in Anger, Man and Superman, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, She Stoops to Conquer, Noises Off and others. He appeared as Mordred in the original 1964 London version of Camelot opposite Laurence Harvey as King Arthur. Henson made his Broadway debut in a production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, opposite Stephanie Beacham. He was nominated for a 1998 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical of 1997 for his role in Enter the Guardsman.

He started directing with a Restoration workshop at LAMDA with a production of The Provok'd Wife. In 2009 he directed the Jack Shepherd play Only When I Laugh at the Arcola Theatre in London and Alan Ayckbourn's Intimate Exchanges at Sheringham Little Theatre.


Henson played Lemuel 'Chipper' Barnet in Space Force series 1 and 2 (1984–85).

Personal life

Henson married actress Una Stubbs (who incidentally played his sister-in-law Caroline Bishop in EastEnders).[11] The couple had two sons, Joe and Christian, both of whom are composers.[11] The marriage ended after Henson began an affair in 1974 with actress Susan Hampshire, his co-star in several stage productions.[12]

He then married ballerina Marguerite Porter, by whom he had a third son, Keaton, a musician and illustrator.[13]


Henson was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. Surgeons removed tumours from around his spleen, but a routine check-up in 2006 showed that other tumours had grown and it would be dangerous to remove them. Henson was put on a regime of chemotherapy, and worked regularly to raise funds for cancer charities, especially Marie Curie Cancer Care.[14]

He died on 15 December 2019 from cancer, aged 74.[15]

Partial filmography

  • 1964 Father Came Too! as Motorcyclist
  • 1965 Every Day's a Holiday as Tailor's Shop Customer (uncredited)
  • 1966 Doctor in Clover as Boutique Assistant
  • 1967 The Jokers as Man At Party
  • 1968 Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush as Craig Foster
  • 1968 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia as Paul
  • 1968 Witchfinder General as Swallow
  • 1969 Crooks and Coronets as Lord Freddie Fitzmore
  • 1969 Mosquito Squadron as Flight Sergeant Wiley Bunce
  • 1970 There's a Girl in My Soup as Jimmy
  • 1972 All Coppers Are... as Barry
  • 1973 Psychomania as Tom Latham
  • 1973 The Love Ban as Baker
  • 1973 Penny Gold as Roger
  • 1974 Vampira as Marc
  • 1974 Bedtime with Rosie as Fantasy Man
  • 1976 The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones as Tom Jones
  • 1977 No. 1 of the Secret Service as No. 1 / Charles Bind
  • 1985 The Secret of Seagull Island as Martin Foster
  • 1988 Star Trap as Adam Blunt
  • 1998 Parting Shots as Askew
  • 2001 Me Without You as Ray
  • 2001 Death, Deceit & Destiny Aboard the Orient Express as Tom Finlay
  • 2002 Flyfishing as Howard
  • 2004 Vera Drake as Private Doctor
  • 2005 Syriana as Sydney Hewitt
  • 2006 A Quiet Drink (Short) as Peter
  • 2011 Blitz as Superintendent Brown
  • 2011 Truth or Dare as Mr. Hautbois (uncredited)
  • 2012 Run for Your Wife as Man In Hospital
  • 2014 We Still Kill the Old Way as Jack Houghton
  • 2015 Draw on Sweet Night as Sir Thomas Kytson
  • 2015 Narcopolis as Chief Ballard
  • 2016 Gozo as Tony
  • 2016 We Still Steal the Old Way as Jack Houghton
  • 2017 The Holly Kane Experiment as Marvin Greenslade
  • 2018 Tango One as Latham (final film role)


  1. ^ Coveney, Michael (17 December 2019). "Nicky Henson obituary". DeathRecords. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Nicky Henson Biography (1945–)". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Cotsworld Farm Park: About Adam Henson". Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Nicky Henson – Actor". Nicky Henson. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  5. ^ Needham, Lucy; Shaw, Neil (16 December 2019). "EastEnders and Fawlty Towers actor Nicky Henson dies, aged 74". Cambridge News. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Henson Nicky – Artist Information and Profile". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  7. ^ Media, P. A. (16 December 2019). "Fawlty Towers actor Nicky Henson dies aged 74". the Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Fawlty Towers and EastEnders actor Nicky Henson dies, aged 74". The Independent. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Fawlty Towers–Forty years old!". Robin Ellis. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  10. ^ McGrath, Rachel (16 December 2019). "Fawly Towers actor Nicky Henson dies, aged 74". Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  11. ^ a b Coveney, Michael (17 December 2019). "Nicky Henson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  12. ^ Lambert, Angela (2 January 2001). "A rose that refuses to wilt". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 26 July 2018. When Pierre left [Susan] in 1974, she divorced him . . . [and] threw herself into work, appearing that year as Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew and Peter Pan that Christmas. Appearing with her was Nicky Henson, then married to Una Stubbs, and the two began a lengthy affair that led to his divorce.
  13. ^ "Keaton Henson". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Institute of Sport and Recreation Management website". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Fawlty Towers and EastEnders actor Nicky Henson dies aged 74". Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. 16 December 2019.

External links