Christian Rodska: Star of Follyfoot - shot on Harewood estate in Yorkshire - dies aged 78

The actor Christian Rodska, who has died at 78, was one of the first stars of the infant Yorkshire Television franchise, cast alongside Gillian Blake, Steve Hodson and the veteran character actor Arthur English in the fondly remembered children’s serial Follyfoot.

He played the slightly shady Ron Stryker, one of three young equine farm workers in the series, which was adapted from Monica Dickens’ 1963 novel, Cobbler’s Dream and filmed on the Harewood estate.

The show was popular not only in Britain but also Germany, where the TV München channel contributed to the production. The stars and the horses were the main attraction for young viewers but the theme music, Lightning Tree by The Settlers, made it linger in the memory even more.

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Christian Rodska (born Rodskjaer) had begun acting professionally in the late 1960s and Follyfoot was his first big break.

Christian Rodska as Ron Stryker. Credit: ITVChristian Rodska as Ron Stryker. Credit: ITV
Christian Rodska as Ron Stryker. Credit: ITV

After it came to an end in 1973 he appeared in numerous other series including a 1977 BBC adaptation of Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth.

He was also in the film version of The Likely Lads and in Z Cars, The Tomorrow People, Coronation Street, Brookside, Bergerac and Casualty.

More recently, he worked as a voice artist on radio plays and on Audiobooks.

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Born in Cullercoats, Northumberland he was the son of a Danish sailor who was at one time captain of King Faisal of Iraq’s royal yacht.

Rodska married a French national, Jacqueline Mousny, while appearing in Follyfoot and they had a daughter and son, Benjamin, who played the lead in the 1985 TV adaptation of Oliver Twist in which his father also appeared.

He was later married to Barbara Kellermann, who survives him along with his children.

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