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Obituary: Christopher Stanton talented actor with impeccable timing who excelled in panto | Obituary

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Christopher Stanton
Christopher Stanton

A talented actor, Christopher Stanton will be remembered as the slightly daffy director of the long children’s spy series CBBC MI High.

Appearing in the 88 episodes, he played director Kenneth Flatley on an easy-going surface with a determined but slightly obsessive streak, a description that could easily have been applied to Stanton himself who, acting apart, immersed in a dazzling number of sports including real tennis, triathlon, swimming, rowing and cycling. He was also an enthusiastic authority on everything that was filmic, Orson Welles being one of his favorites.

Born in London and trained at St Pauls School in Barnes, Stanton studied English and theater at the University of Hull. After graduation, he worked in several theaters as a stage manager or assistant stage manager before moving to the BBC in 1983 as a floor assistant, assistant floor manager, and then location manager.

What he once described as the dream job working on everything from Blue Peter to Top of the Pops, Grandstand and Newsnight, he appeared in the comedic satire NewsRevue in Londons Little Venice in 1988 which convinced him that the game was his place.

But it was in panto that he really excelled. Although fans still remember him years later in Only Fools and Horses with David Jason (1988), watching him in recent years was like seeing a master at work.

Stanton had impeccable timing, a perfect understanding of the rhythm of comedy and always a sneaky but affectionate way of sending a line or delivering it directly, so that it landed on your lap like a hot puppy.

A friend once described me as the John Lewis of the acting profession who never knowingly underestimated, he once admitted. But whether it was a nasty uncle in Ipswich, compering one of his beloved swimming galas dapper in county check, or writing lyrics for a wonderfully funny ode to lido swimming, Stanton was the epitome of style gentleman and fun: with a big heart, witty, wise, erudite, gallant and kind. He will be greatly missed.

Christopher Stanton was born June 25, 1957 and died March 9, 62, of mesothelioma.

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