- 4 July 1934
- Liverpool, Lancashire, England, UK
In a career of over 30 years this Lancashire-born former art teacher has achieved great success in acting, both in television and film and writing, for television, film and stage. His first film appearance is perhaps still his best-loved, the sympathetic Mr Farthing in Kes (1969), for which he won a BAFTA. Welland started in television in 1962 with his role of Constable David Graham in the long-running police serial Z Cars (1962). With its groundbreaking grittiness the series introduced a new realism to the genre. Welland stayed with the show until 1965, by which time he was a household name. In the 70s, Welland combined careers as an actor and writer. On the film side he put in a nice turn as a laconic policeman in Villain (1971) and featured in the controversial Straw Dogs (1971) and in an episode of the popular TV series The Sweeney: Faces (1975) and its big-screen adaptation Sweeney! (1977). In this time he had also been writing and appearing (sometimes both) in several plays and TV movies - he was voted Best TV Playwright in Britain in 1970, 1973 and 1974. In 1972 he won a BAFTA for Play for Today: Kisses at Fifty (1973). His plays were known for their earthy humour and working-class themes. He reappeared with the other stars from the early years of Z Cars in the show's finale in 1978. In 1979 he put in one of his most memorable TV performances in Dennis Potter's award-winning play Play for Today: Blue Remembered Hills (1979) which recalled the days of the author's childhood. Playing the role of a child, Welland cavorted gleefully around woods and fields crammed into a pair of boy's shorts. His first film as a writer was the successful John Schlesinger wartime culture clash drama Yanks (1979) and after this he decided to focus on his writing. He followed Yanks up with the multi award-winning, box office smash Chariots of Fire (1981), for which he won the Best Screenplay Oscar. If his heralded arrival of the Brits didn't quite materialise, Welland did write some other worthy films - Twice in a Lifetime (1985) was an effective blue-collar drama starring Gene Hackman, A Dry White Season (1989) starred Donald Sutherland and dealt with the cruelties imposed by apartheid in South Africa (co-written with Euzhan Palcy) and War of the Buttons (1994) was an offbeat and entertaining tale of warring children. He has put in occasional acting appearances over the years and was last seen in Bramwell: Our Brave Boys (1998) and Bramwell: Loose Women (1998) in 1998. In 1962 he married Patricia Sweeney, they have 4 children. Genevieve, Catherine, Caroline and Christie.