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Death In Paradise's Don Warrington shows off incredible physique in unearthed photo

The actor played Philip Smith in Rising Damp from 1974 to 1978


don warrington© Photo: BBC
Megan Bull
TV Writer
February 22, 2023
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Don Warrington has established an illustrious acting career with over a decade on Death In Paradise, as well as appearances in Red Dwarf, Doctor Who and Casualty, but long before his meteoric rise, he landed a breakthrough role on the ITV sitcom Rising Damp.

Joining the cast as Philip Smith, the actor was in his early 20s and fresh out of London's Drama Centre when he first took on the role in 1974 – and he looks so different! Click the video below to get a glimpse of a young Don in character, plus keep scrolling for an unearthed photo of his incredible physique…

WATCH: See Don Warrington in his breakthrough role as Philip in Rising Damp

In the resurfaced snap from 1975, the TV star can be seen showing off his toned abs during an episode from series two of the show. Titled 'A Body Like Mine,' the episode sees Don's character preparing for a boxing match against his roommate Rupert Rigsby, portrayed by Leonard Rossiter, and he's so handsome. 

MORE: Death in Paradise star Ralf Little hints at potential exit storyline

READ: 'Brilliant' reason Ralf Little's engagement ring for fiancée Lindsey was free

Don has often spoken about his groundbreaking role in the iconic sitcom, explaining that people still stop him in the street for his portrayal of Philip. "This always surprises me, because physically I'm very different now to that slim, handsome boy who played Philip," he told The Telegraph with a smile. 

don warrington rising damp© Photo: Getty Images

Don Warrington on the set of Rising Damp in 1975

"But I've always known the show was important," he continued. "A lot of black people still say to me that their parents would call them down from their bedrooms whenever it was on, because of the way it showed a black man on TV who was not being put down or abused."

Reflecting on his early career, the 71-year-old added: "I was never meant to be in a sitcom. I was meant to be a very serious actor. I'd studied method acting at drama school, I'd studied ancient Greek tragedy and French classical drama."

rising damp cast

The actor starred alongside Richard Beckinsale and Leonard Rossiter on the sitcom

Nonetheless, Don remains extremely proud of the show, which still holds a strong fanbase. Asked if Rising Damp should be edited for modern audiences, he replied: "No, because the show's intentions were good. Sometimes you have to be generous in that way in order to get a proper view of how things were. And to understand that sometimes people were naïve in what they did. 

"For me, the show was never cynical. And because you had such fine actors involved, the standard of work was just so great." The sitcom also starred Frances de la Tour and Richard Beckinsale. 

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