ACTOR AND director Malcolm Frederick has died from cancer.
Frederick passed away due to complications of acute myeloid leukaemia on Christmas Eve, Tuesday 24 December, 2019.
Frederick was known for his starring roles in Get Up, Stand Up (1994 – 1998), Babylon (1980) and Burning An Illusion (1981). He will, however, always be remembered as the ever-popular iconic Basil East (Beastie) in LWT/Channel 4’s ground breaking sitcom No Problem! which ran for 27 episodes between 1983-85.
Born in Trinidad in 1955, Frederick came to the UK in 1968, joining the rest of his family initially in Harlesden. He later moved to Tooting, south London. As a teenager he became interested in acting and to the dismay of his parents left his well paid office job with Tate & Lyle to become a full time actor.
It was during his early career that he became frustrated with the lack of roles available to black actors and decided at the earliest opportunity to create a forum to tell black and minority stories. He was one of the founder members of The Black Theatre Co-operative (BTC) alongside Mustapha Mathura and Charlie Hansen, eventually becoming its artistic director from 1986-1990.
The BTC was instrumental in producing plays by new and established black playwrights, thereby giving jobs to black professionals both on and off the stage. After departing the BTC and continuing with his theme of “self-help”, Frederick set up Bachaks Productions alongside his business partner Keith Lakhan, producing the Channel 4 comedy sketch show Get Up, Stand Up, which ran for 20 episodes from 1994 – 1998, starring alongside Angie Le Mar and Chris Tummings.
Frederick was especially proud of the work he did with the Stonebridge Area Youth Project, a drama club set up by Anton Phillips to empower young people in one of Brent’s toughest neighbourhoods. He also wrote the popular children’s book Kamal Goes To Trinidad about his beloved homeland.
Frederick leaves behind his widow Beverley, children Jamal, Remi and Kamal, granddaughters Chyna and Kamea, his mother Norma and his sisters Lyn, Maureen and Gayle.
He will be remembered as a pioneer who opened doors and inspired many of today’s stars of screen and stage and his huge personality will be missed by all who knew him.