Alec Guinness as Dr Simpson

Alec Guinness as Dr Simpson

Alec Guinness is pictured here in the role of the feisty Dr Simpson, the Edinburgh doctor who discovered chloroform, in the 1949 production of The Human Touch. The play was popular and even Queen Mary came to see the show at the Savoy Theatre in London, though some critics felt that Guinness' personality was too whimsical to convey Dr Simpson's fiery fanaticism.

This performance certainly did not harm Guinness's career and he went on to appear in many Shakespearean and other classical roles as well as in films and on television, playing Herbert Pocket in David Lean's Great Expectations as well as eight members of the same family in Hearts. He later went on to star as George Smiley in the television series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and as Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars films.