British stage and screen actor whose characters typically displayed indecision or timidity, usually mild-mannered or naive types who tended to come to a sticky end somewhere along the line. Collings began acting professionally with the Liverpool Repertory Theatre in the early 60s. Though having never attended drama school, he nonetheless segued successfully into television work following the advice of a fellow actor. On screen from 1965, he initially appeared in several prominent cop shows (Z Cars (1962), Softly Softly (1966)) but became ultimately best known for his work in science fiction, often having undergone extensive alien make-up. He was notable as an alien kidnap victim turned into a human bomb in UFO: The Psychobombs (1970) and as a ‘Vogan’ renegade scientist out to destroy (and, of course, expiring in the process) the perennial robotic nemesis in Revenge of the Cybermen. Having enjoyed the experience, he popped up twice more in Doctor Who (1963) instalments: as the driver of a mining vehicle on an extraterrestrial world who suffers from the unfortunate malady ‘robophobia’ while confronting The Robots of Death and as the titular antagonist (on this occasion playing an immortal, but mutated and disfigured alien scientist) in Mawdryn Undead.
Collings also specialised in period drama, particularly effective as the often mistreated and underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit in Scrooge (1970), the spy John Barsad (aka Solomon Pross) in A Tale of Two Cities (1980), the Russian liberal politician Pavel Nikolayevich Milyukov in Fall of Eagles (1974) and British Tory Prime Minister William Pitt in the miniseries Prince Regent (1979). On stage, he portrayed Lord Stanley in a National Theatre production of Richard III and the King of France in Henry V at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. He provided the voice for Legolas in the BBC 4 radio serial The Lord of the Rings.
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