A quick glance down the roles he played from 1936 to 1991 indicate that while never in top billing, indeed rarely in billing at all, he was clearly a stalwart of the British Film Industry. Hail to the man who played : The Third Store Employee (Carrying Packages) in The History of Mr Polly, The Liftman in Blue Murder At and The Pure Hell of St Trinian’s and the Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery, The Gateman in Sammy’s Super T-Shirt as well as countless other definite-articled parts. Ripper had a foot in all the camps of British Cinema – Shakespeare, Drawing Room Comedy, Bawdy Comedy, Hammer Horror (he appeared in more Hammer productions than anyone else) and was a familiar face on the telly too.
FINEST HOUR: For a man whose lot in life was to play the ordinary man, it’s only fitting that his greatest moment comes in pre-Hard Day’s Night pop-flick “What A Crazy World” in which Ripper plays “The Common Man” and turns up, like a Greek chorus in various locations and situations. He doesn’t actually have anything plot-driving to say or do, he’s just there. A fitting testament to a man who, be it Mummy’s Tomb, Pirate Ship, department store or suburban house, was just there.