He was born Jack Roberton in Newcastle upon Tyne. Part of his childhood was spent in Streatham and he attended St Joseph's college, Beulah Hil.
His stage successes, spread over many years, included tours of Alan Bennett's Habeas Corpus and Michael Frayn's Make and Break (1980). On TV, he was in the film of The Shillingbury Blowers, which became the series The Shillingbury Tales and was followed by a spin-off, Cluffy, in which he co-starred with Bernard Cribbins. He also appeared in the 1983 film The Boys in Blue, in which village policemen foiled international art thieves.
(Source: The Guardian 19 December 2008)