Although the actor appeared in dozens of TV dramas, a legion of sci-fi fans remembered him for Doctor Who and other cult hits. A 1970 episode of UFO featured Collings as a bank clerk wreaking destruction after being taken over by aliens.
Collings also appeared intermittently (1981-82) in Sapphire & Steel, an imaginative supernatural series described by one critic as combining “science fiction, horror and fantasy with the time plays of J B Priestley and the absurdist work of Beckett and Pinter”.
He played Silver, assisting David McCallum and Joanna Lumley’s agents from another dimension who have special powers and communicate telepathically as they investigate strange events.
Collings, who enjoyed bringing flirtatiousness to his on-screen relationship with Lumley, described his character as “a technician who was able to conjure things out of thin air”. He was a gadgets specialist in the manner of James Bond’s Q, his skills including melting metals in his hands.
David Cressy Collings was born in Brighton on June 4, 1940, to George, a greengrocer, and Lillian (née Parsons). On leaving Varndean Grammar School he performed in amateur dramatics with the Withdean Players, then at Lewes Little Theatre, while working first at an electrical shop, then in an architect’s drawing office.
He turned professional with Liverpool Rep, then made his television debut by starring as Raskolnikov in an award-winning 1964 ITV adaptation of Crime and Punishment.
He also played Bob Cratchit, alongside Albert Finney’s Ebenezer, in the 1970 film musical Scrooge, and Legolas in Lord of the Rings on radio (1981).
In 1986 he played Newman Noggs in Nicholas Nickleby for the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon and on Broadway.
David Collings’s first marriage, to Deirdre Bromfield (1962-75), ended in divorce. He was separated from his second wife, the actress Karen Archer, whom he married in 1983, but they remained close friends.
She survives him, along with their son and daughter – both actors – and a daughter and stepdaughter from his first marriage. The son and another daughter of that marriage predeceased him.