Clive Francis
Photographer: Alastair Muir
By Ben Travers Adapted by Clive Francis
Directed by Eleanor Rhode
Role: Sir Hector Benbow
Cast included: James Dutton, Lucy May Barker, Richard Beanland, John Wark, Joanna Wake
Francis, who as well as adapting the play gives a deliciously ripe performance as the whisky and port marinated Sir Hector.
Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph
Clive Francis
Photographer: Helen Maybanks
84 Charing Cross Road
Adapted by James Roose-Evans
Role: Frank Doel
Cast included: Janie Dee, Lysette Anthony, Alice Haig, Samuel Townsend.
Clive Francis – augmented by a small ‘Family’ of fellow workers, all lovingly realised - is courteous reticence and fastidious diligence personified.
Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph
Clive Francis
Clive Francis
Clive Francis
Photographer: Alastair Muir
The Gathered Leaves
By Andrew Keatley
Directed by Anthony Eden
Role: William Pennington
Cast included: Jane Asher, Alex Hanson, Tom Hanson, Nick Sampson
Clive Francis is fantastic as this haunted, reproving figure, whose lucid days are numbered ...
Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph

Francis is unpredictably loveable as well as breathtakingly crushing.
Kate Bassett, The Times
Clive Francis
Danny Sapani (Tshembe Matoseh) and Clive Francis (Major Rice)
Photographer: Johan Peterson
Clive Francis
Caricature by Clive Francis.
One’s intellectual doubts, however, are overcome by the sensuous sweep of Farber’s production, which deploys a revolving Soutra Gilmour set, the minatory hum of Adam Cork’s sound design, and impressive performances from Gary Beadle and Tunji Kasim as Tshembe’s brothers and from Siân Phillips, Anna Madeley, James Fleet and Clive Francis as contrasting facets of white interventionism. An imperfect play, given a near-perfect production.
Michael Billington, The Guardian ★★★★★
from 22 March - 2nd June
Les Blancs
By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Yaël Farber
Role: George Rice
Cast includes: Elliot Cowan, James Fleet, Anna Madeley, Siân Phillips, Danny Sapani, Gary Beadle
From 22nd March 2016 Clive Francis appeared in the London premier of Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry at the National Theatre. The black American playwright Lorraine Hansberry had a tragically short life, dying of pancreatic cancer aged just 34, in 1965. But she burned bright, inspiring Nina Simone's song ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’, and moreover penning the Broadway standard A Raisin in the Sun. Her other plays are not well known, in part because they were mostly published after her death. The phenomenal South African director Yaël Farber makes her NT debut.
Clive Francis is wonderfully dyspeptic as the British major who came here to make this country into something; it's not an outpost of empire, but his home…then he shoots someone.
Michael Coveney, What’s on Stage

Major Rice is played with snarling precision by Clive Francis.
Henry Hitchins, Evening Standard

Yael Farber’s searing production brings Lorraine Hansberry’s unfinished play to life. Hansberry’s characters represent a vast array of humanity. She deeply understands – and demonstrates – that everyone is different, thinks differently, acts differently. Two searing performances dominate: Danny Sapani as Tshembe, an African man who has married a European woman, and Clive Francis as Major Rice. An officious, villainous racist – his character complemented by a moustache and uniform that strongly evoke Nazi iconography – Francis plays Rice with chilling, unrelenting callousness. Yet it is testament to Hansberry’s skill and Francis’s performance that he is still recognisably and believably human.
Tim Bano, The Stage ★★★★

Hansberry’s play is not flawless, particularly in the somewhat declamatory second act. But Farber’s exquisite production tackles its moral complexities with finely calibrated assurance.
Jane Shilling, The Telegraph. ★★★★★

Yaël Farber’s skilful revival makes a powerful case for its importance. The scenes at their old family home have the texture of Greek drama. But the tone grows closer to Chekhov when the action shifts to a modest local hospital founded by missionaries. Hansberry’s scepticism about religious faith is palpable, and Tshembe comments that “Men invoke the device of religion to cloak their conquests.” Yet not everyone needs such a cloak — as proved by ruthless Major Rice, played with snarling precision by Clive Francis.
Henry Hitchins, The Standard ★★★★★
84 Charing Cross Road
Photographer: Robert Day
from 23 May - 30 June
84 Charing Cross Road

Stefanie Powers and Clive Francis
Directed by James Roose-Evans

Clive Francis as Frank Doel, reprising the role he played to critical acclaim in 2015.

Adapted from Helene Hanff’s best-selling book, 84 Charing Cross Road has been delighting audiences since its premiere in 1981. A tender and heart-warming tale of transatlantic friendship, this bittersweet comedy is based on the extraordinary true story of the remarkable relationship that developed over 20 years between a vivacious New York writer and a London bookseller. Through their exchange of humorous and often intimate correspondence a snapshot of Britain from the post-war 1940’s to the swinging 60’s is revealed, alongside a touching human story that still resonates today.

84 Charing Cross Road premiered at the Salisbury Playhouse in 1981 before transferring to the West End and Broadway. It was adapted into a film in 1987, starring Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench and Anne Bancroft as Helene, who won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress.

Stefanie Powers and Clive Francis have many years of experience between them – and you can tell these two are masters of their craft. They light up the stage as Helene and Frank, giving performances full of heart, warmth and humour.
Cambridge News

Clive Francis is utterly professional, beautifully nuanced, a charming performance.
East Anglian Times ★★★★★
Clive Francis
Clive Francis
Photographer: Mark Douet
10th November 2016 - 25th March 2017
An Inspector Calls
By J. B. Priestley
Directed by Stephen Daldry
Cast included: Barbara Marten, Liam Brennan, Matthew Douglas, Carmella Corbett
Clive Francis played Mr Birling alongside, Barbara Marten (Mrs Birling), Liam Brennan (Inspector Goole), Matthew Douglas (Gerald Croft), Carmela Corbett (Sheila Birling), Hamish Riddle (Eric Birling), Diana Payne-Myers (Edna), Geoffrey Towers, Benedict Salter and Beth Tuckey.

Clive Francis said about the casting: “An Inspector Calls is one of the great classic plays of the 20th century. It premiered in London’s West End the year I was born and has now been seen by a whole new generation of theatre goers thanks to Stephen Daldry’s brilliant and masterly production. An Inspector Calls is considered one of Priestley’s greatest works, and has been subject to a variety of interesting interpretations, none more so than this historic National Theatre revival which I’m delighted to be part of.”

Clive Francis – augmented by a small ‘Family’ of fellow workers, all lovingly realised - is courteous reticence and fastidious diligence personified.
Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph ★★★★★

Clive Francis blusters magnificently as the self-important industrialist, Arthur Birling. Stephen Daldry’s production is as fresh and bold as it was when it first opened in 1992.
Jane Edwardes The Sunday Times.★★★★★
by Marianka Swain
My image
Photographer: Mark Douet

Clive Francis's varied stage and screen career includes A Clockwork Orange, Entertaining Mr Sloane, the original Poldark and upcoming Netflix drama The Crown. He's currently starring in Stephen Daldry's lauded revival of An Inspector Calls at Playhouse Theatre, which begins previews on 4 November.

M.S. What was your first theatre experience?

C.F. I vaguely remember it being a pantomime at the Golders Green Hippodrome. I was around four years old at the time. The star was a comic called Robert Moreton, famous for his Bumper Book of Jokes, all of which were quite terrible, which of course made them even funnier.

M.S. Did your parents encourage you to go into acting?

C.F. Certainly not. My father knew how tough and unrewarding the profession could be on occasions - he had been a greatly respected stage and television actor all his life - but when he saw my determination he introduced me to the man who ran the local repertory theatre. And that's where I started. My mother, on the other hand, was terrifically encouraging, as she had given up her acting career to raise a family.

M.S. Where did you train?

C.F. Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

M.S. What was your first professional acting job?

C.F. On leaving RADA my first job was as Cecil Sykes in Bernard Shaw's Getting Married for the Prospect Theatre Company at Cambridge.

M.S. What are some of your highlights from an incredibly varied career?

C.F. Goodness, that's tough, as there have been several. Working with John Gielgud on a number of occasions. Illustrating Laurence Olivier's 80th birthday brochure. Working alongside Graham Greene on his last play, The Return of AJ Raffles, for the RSC. Being directed by Harold Pinter. My first play at the National Theatre, Ayckbourn's A Small Family Business, which earned me Best Supporting Player Award. Ebenezer Scrooge in the RSC's A Christmas Carol, a book I've now turned into a one-man show and which I tour around the UK most Christmases. Denis Potter's Lipstick on Your Collar, etc. etc. etc.

M.S. Have you watched the new version of Poldark?

C.F. No. Not out of spite, but I have so many fond memories of the original, and have lost so many dear friends who were part of it, that I'm happier just remembering what we created back in the 1970s.

M.S. Did you know An Inspector Calls well before coming into the cast?

C.F. Indeed, I saw it at the National many years ago and remember being blown away by the production. Not long before I had been appearing in Dangerous Corner at the Ambassadors, and one night at the curtain call JB Priestley took us by surprise by coming onto the stage to join us. Another memorable highlight.

M.S. Tell us about your character

C.F. I play the head of the Birling family: a hard-headed businessman, who represents the capitalist ruling class. Many think arguably the main subject of Priestley's social critique.

M.S. What appealed to you about Stephen Daldry's version?

C.F. To see what could easily have been regarded as a fairly outmoded play being presented in such an original and exciting way.

M.S. Why do you think the play has survived, and what does it say to a modern audience?

C.F. That's hard, because I'm not so sure it would have survived so well if it hadn't been presented in the way it has. In fact, there are a number of plays I would like to see the dust blown off and re-examined again. I was given permission recently to partly rework Ben Travers' Thark - a delightful farce of the 1920s now completely forgotten. The result was a triumph, and like An Inspector Calls now being enjoyed by a larger modern audience.

M.S. What's it been like doing The Crown for Netflix?

C.F. In The Crown I play Lord Salisbury, nicknamed Bobberty Salisbury. He was a hard-line imperialist who helped to bring Churchill into power and then for getting rid of him, he did the same with Anthony Eden. Not a man to get on the wrong side of!

M.S. Any more future plans?

C.F. Just to keep working on wonderful projects like these and being directed by the likes of Stephen Daldry.

M.S. Finally, any advice for budding actors?

C.F. Have faith. Never stop listening to those with experience. Be prepared to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again. But more important than anything, be nice!

Clive Francis
Photographer: Manuel Harlan
Clive Francis is unforgettable as the boarding house bully, spilling over with vicious joviality and florid circumlocutions: “did’st thou imbibe mighty potions to pursue the great god Bacchus in his unholy rites?” He is a ghastly reminder that not all abuse is overtly sexual.
Susannah Clap, Sunday Observer

Clive Francis brilliantly captures the brittle aggression of an ageing xenophobe whose heart is melted by an autumn romance. Lloyd Evans, The Spectator

We are supposed to hate Mr Thwaites, and good heavens Clive Francis makes that a pleasure to do as he steps over the line from outspoken to malicious, decorating his speech with the kind of cod-Elizabethan flourish that suggests he sees himself forever as the star of the show. It's a magnificent turn.
Dominic Maxwell, The Times

Mr Thwaites, whose monstrous vigour and narrow-minded right-wing gusto is vividly captured by Clive Francis. Thwaites systematically persecutes Miss Roach with poisonous digs at her failure to find a husband and at her mild pro-Russian sympathies and by his incessant jocular mangling of the English language. “Dost thou anticipate a fellow-devourer of the evening victuals?” he asks, knowing full well that Miss Roach is embarking on a relationship with “Lootenant” Dayton Pike, a GI who, in Wright’s adaptation becomes African-American (our “dusky combatant from distant shores” as Thwaites needlingly puts it.) 
Paul Taylor, The Independent

Clive Francis, is venomously good as Mr Thwaites.
Tom Wicker, TimeOut
10th November 2016 - 25th March 2017
Slaves of Solitude
By Nicholas Wright
Adapted from the novel by Patrick Hamilton
Directed by Jonathan Kent
Cast included: Daon Beroni, Lucy Cohu, Clive Francis, Tom Milligan, Eimear O'Neill, Susan Porrett, Richard Tate, Gwen Taylor, Amanda Walker, Fenella Woolgar
1943, Henley-on-Thames. Miss Roach is forced by the war to flee London for the Rosamund Tea Rooms boarding house, which is as grey and lonely as its residents. From the safety of these new quarters, her war now consists of a thousand petty humiliations, of which the most burdensome is sharing her daily life with the unbearable Mr Thwaites.

But a breath of fresh air arrives in the form of a handsome American Lieutenant and things start to look distinctly brighter...  Until, that is, a seeming friend moves into the room adjacent to Miss Roach’s, upsetting the precariously balanced ecosystem of the house...

Nicholas Wright’s new play weaves a fascinating blend of dark hilarity and melancholy from Patrick Hamilton’s much-loved story about an improbable heroine in wartime Britain.

Copyright © 2022 Clive Francis. All rights reserved. Main photograph of Clive Francis by Simon Annand.

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