Biography of Colin Welland
Colin Welland (born 4 July 1934) is a British actor and screenwriter. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his script for Chariots of Fire (1981).
Born in Leigh in Lancashire, Welland grew up as a child in Kensington, Liverpool before moving to Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire. His parents were Jack and Nora Williams.
As an actor, Welland appeared as PC David Graham in the BBC Television series Z-Cars as well as a villain in the 1970s drama The Sweeney. In films, he appeared in Kes (1969) and Sweeney! (1977) as Frank Chadwick, an editor of a newspaper, before also concentrating on screenwriting. He also appeared in the film Dancin' Thru the Dark in 1990. He also appeared in the 1980 series 'Cowboys' with Roy Kinnear, a comedy about a dodgy builder.
Welland's writing credits include the 1979 film Yanks, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Gere, and directed by John Schlesinger. The same year he appeared as an actor in Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills, playing the character of Willie.
Welland won the award for Best Original Screenplay for Chariots of Fire at the 1982 Academy Awards, and his acceptance speech famously included the phrase: "The British are coming!" (a quotation from Paul Revere). In the film Chariots of Fire, the sign outside the Church of Scotland in Paris shows the preacher for the 9 am worship to be "CM Welland"; he also played a vicar in Straw Dogs (1971). Welland worked with producer David Puttnam twice. They first worked together on the Academy Award winning Chariots of Fire, and again on War of the Buttons.
In Kes (1969), Welland had played an English schoolteacher, an occupation in which (like fellow Kes actor Brian Glover and its writer Barry Hines) he had been employed, teaching art at Manchester Road Secondary Modern school in Leigh, where he was known as "Ted" Williams because of his Teddy Boy curly hair style. Amongst his pupils was the future author John G. Sutton, who was once "slippered" by "Ted" for talking during school meals, another pupil was Adrian Watson who is now the Huddersfield Town Crier.