When Simon Cadell announced to the world that he may have only days to live, it signalled the end of a twenty-year stage career that had just seen its finest hour-winning an Olivier Award for `Travels With My Aunt'. The British public had fallen in love with the charms of Cadell as Jeffrey Fairbrother, part of the hugely successful sitcom `Hi-de-hi!', constantly dodging the amorous advances of Ruth Madoc's Gladys Pugh.
But behind the lop-sided smile lay a man full of nerves and insecurity about the looks that ultimately defined his television career. As the hapless civil servant Mr Dundridge, in `Blott on the Landscape' he displayed perfect incompetence played to perfection, brought to triumph by his naked escape from the clutches of Lady Maud as played by Geraldine James. Equally adept at Shakespeare and Chekhov as he was with Whitehall-style farces, Cadell's was a highly respected stage career achieved via a relentless workload.
His many appearances as Noel Coward earned him a reputation as the definitive Coward interpreter, something he had first turned his hand to at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. With access to family photographs and documentation, and sourced by numerous interviews, `Simon Cadell: The Authorised Biography' tells for the first time the story of a fourth generation actor who oozed charm and had a zest for a life that was cut tragically short at the peak of his powers.