Television shows and stage plays sometimes include continuing characters who are never seen or heard by the audience, but only described by other characters. Radio shows and plays also feature characters who never speak, and books feature characters who are merely referred to.

Table of contents
1 Television shows: Examples
2 Stage Plays: Examples

Television shows: Examples

Heard but not seen

  • Carlton, the doorman on Rhoda (although he was seen in a cartoon spinoff of the show)
  • Robin Masters, the novelist, on Magnum P.I
  • Captain Mainwaring's wife Elizabeth, in Dad's Army (only her footsteps were heard)
  • All adults on Charlie Brown cartoons (they speak in a weird, nonsensical way)
  • John Beresford Tipton in The Millionaire
  • White Fang and Black Tooth in The Soupy Sales Show
  • The regular PA announcer in M*A*S*H
  • The Village PA announcer in The Prisoner (voiced by Fenella Fielding)
  • the radio announced on Gilligan's Island
  • Mr Bell on The Drew Carey Show. (Seen only on his final appearance.)
  • Management on Carnivāle

Neither seen nor heard

(may be partially seen on rare occasions)

Heard but never completely seen

  • Charlie Townsend, the head of the detective agency on Charlie's Angels (In fact, Charlie is frequently seen from behind, except in the series finale where he appears in Surgeons mask and outfit.)
  • Mum & Dad Cow & Chicken
  • J. P. Pembrook in Fox Trot(only hands visible resting on desk)
  • Wilson, the Taylors' neighbor, in Home Improvement (face always obscured by picket fence or various other props)
  • The "lady" in Tom and Jerry cartoons (legs only)
  • Big Al in Police Squad and The Naked Gun (he is so tall his face is always cut off by the top of the screen)
  • "Nanny" in Muppet Babies (like Big Al, her face is always off the top of the screen, since the series is presented from a child's-eye view.)
  • Miss Sara Bellum in The Powerpuff Girls (her face is either above the screen like Big Al's or otherwise obscured)
  • Dr. Claw in the Inspector Gadget cartoon series (always seated in a high-backed chair, facing away from the camera; only his forearms and hands are ever seen)
  • Victor Lewis-Smith in Inside Victor Lewis-Smith (possibly the only series whose star is never seen clearly; he or a body double appears wreathed in bandages after a car crash in the opening scene; he is also seen in highly distorted close-ups while making crank phone calls)
  • "Troy" the extra-terrestrial father in Out of This World (TV-Series 1987-1991)
  • Alistair Crane on the NBC soap Passions

Unseen characters who were spoken of for a long time and then eventually seen

  • Mary Jane Watson in the Spider Man comic book series
  • Frasier's mother, on Frasier (she appeared in Cheers anyway.)
  • Number One on The Prisoner (debated)
  • The father of "The Nanny" who was unseen or heard from until the final season, when he suddenly appeared during the final season of the show, played by Steve Lawrence. Previously, all you saw was the toupee on the back of his head.
  • Emily, the "other sister" on "Empty Nest", who was often spoken of, but never seen or heard during all the early years the show was on the air. Then several seasons later, Kristy McNicholl's character left the show, and Emily suddenly appeared and became a regular on the show.

Stage Plays: Examples