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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colin Welland
Colin Edward Williams

(1934-07-04)4 July 1934
Liverpool, England
Died2 November 2015(2015-11-02) (aged 81)
Surrey, England
Occupation(s)Actor, screenwriter
Years active1962–1998
Patricia Sweeney
(m. 1962)

Colin Welland (born Colin Edward Williams; 4 July 1934 – 2 November 2015) was an English actor and screenwriter. He won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as Mr Farthing in Kes (1969) and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for writing Chariots of Fire (1981).

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Chariots of Fire Wins Original Screenplay: 1982 Oscars
  • Chariots of Fire Wins Best Picture: 1982
  • Colin Welland -Touching Tribute - talkSPORT
  • LIFE AFTER KES - National Book Launch, Screentalk & Reunion.
  • The Oscars Streaker | 46th Oscars (1974)


Early life

Welland was born Colin Edward Williams[2][3] at the Maternity Hospital[3] in Liverpool[4][5][6][7][a] on 4 July 1934, the son of Norah and John "Jack" Arthur Williams.[8] He spent his earliest years in the Kensington district of Liverpool before moving to Newton-le-Willows in 1941. He attended Newton-le-Willows Grammar School, and, after his National Service, he studied at Goldsmiths College and Bretton Hall College of Education. He gained a teaching diploma and qualified as a teacher,[9] then taught art at Manchester Road Secondary Modern school in Leigh, where he was known as "Ted" because of his Teddy Boy curly hairstyle.[10] He began his stage career as an actor and assistant stage manager at Manchester Library Theatre.[3]


As an actor, Welland appeared as PC David Graham in the BBC series Z-Cars from 1962 to 1965.[11] He was a sympathetic schoolteacher in a BAFTA-winning performance in the film Kes (1969), and a detective in the Richard Burton film Villain (1971). He appeared as a villain in one 1975 episode of The Sweeney, and was in the series' first cinema spin-off Sweeney! (1977) as Frank Chadwick, a newspaper editor. His other appearances include Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills (1979) as the character Willie, and Dancin' Thru the Dark (1990). He was also in the television series Cowboys (1980), a comedy about a dodgy builder, with Roy Kinnear.

Welland's screenwriting credits include the teleplay about the strike for equal pay Leeds United (1974), the film Yanks (1979), starring Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Gere, which was directed by John Schlesinger, and Twice in a Lifetime (1985), starring Gene Hackman, Ellen Burstyn and Ann-Margret.[11]

When Welland appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in 1973 he said that most of his own plays "usually champion the individual against the system". He said: "I usually find that it's one man's effort to break through what is usually expected of an individual."[11]

Welland won the award for Best Original Screenplay for Chariots of Fire (1981) at the 1982 Academy Awards, and his acceptance speech included the phrase: "The British are coming!"[11][12] (a quotation from Paul Revere).[10] In the film Chariots of Fire, the sign outside the Church of Scotland in Paris shows the preacher for the 9 am worship to be "C.M. Welland"; he had played a vicar in Straw Dogs (1971). Following Chariots of Fire, he was again commissioned by David Puttnam to write the screenplay for War of the Buttons (1994).

Personal life

Welland married Patricia Sweeney in 1962, and they had a son and three daughters together.[13]

Welland was a lifelong rugby league fan and player who wrote of his support for the sport in newspaper columns.[14] He stood up for rugby league against rugby union discrimination in the 1980s and 1990s.[citation needed]


Welland died in his sleep at a nursing home in Sunbury on Thames on 2 November 2015, at the age of 81.[3] He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for several years before his death.[11][10]

On his death, Chariots of Fire producer David Puttnam said Welland was "an unswervingly good man; a fine actor, and a seriously gifted screenwriter". Nigel Havers, who had appeared in the film, told BBC News: "I remember him being great fun with a great sense of humour and a very honest man. He had a tremendous honesty about everything he wrote. I'm just very surprised he never made more films in Hollywood. It's a great loss to us all." Z Cars co-star Brian Blessed described Welland as "a great writer and a very natural actor," adding "He had a tremendous ability for writing. He could write anything, any style."[11]

Selected credits

Year Title Role Notes
1969 Kes Mr. Farthing
1971 Villain Tom Binney
1971 Straw Dogs Rev. Barney Hood
1977 Sweeney! Frank Chadwick
1981 Chariots of Fire Writer
1990 Dancin' Thru the Dark Bransky's Manager
1994 War of the Buttons Writer


  1. ^ Welland's birthplace was erroneously given as Leigh in obituaries and on IMDb until the correct information was discovered a few days after his death.


  1. ^ Obituary for Colin Welland The Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  2. ^ Roberts, Sam. "Colin Welland, Oscar-Winning Writer of Chariots of Fire, Dies at 81". The New York Times. 3 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Croall, Jonathan (2019). "Welland, Colin (real name Colin Edward Williams) (1934–2015)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.110860. ISBN 9780198614128. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Colin E Williams, 1934. England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008". Birth Registration, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England. From "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006" database,, 2012. database. Accessed 6 April 2016.
  6. ^ Birth Registry, Liverpool Registration District, County of Lancashire, July–September 1934, Volume 8B, p. 89.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Colin Welland Biography (1934-)". Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  9. ^ Colin Welland Obituary at The Guardian Film Retrieved 4 November 2015
  10. ^ a b c Boyle, Danny (3 November 2015). "Colin Welland, actor and Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire writer, dies at 81". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Actor and writer Colin Welland dies". BBC News. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Yahoo Movies UK - Yahoo". 30 October 2015. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Colin Welland obituary". The Guardian. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  14. ^ Welland, Colin (22 October 2011). "Hard. Honest. Beautiful". The Independent. Retrieved 4 November 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 4 January 2024, at 20:50
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