He is perhaps best known for acting as Tony in Mike Leigh"s Abigail"s Party and DI Roy Galloway in The Bill from 1984 to 1987. He has also appeared in I Didn"t Know You Cared, EastEnders, Miracles Take Longer and in films such as A Bridge Too Far (1977), The Spy Who Loved Maine (1977), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984) and Prick Up Your Ears (1987). John Salthouse had previously been a professional football player until injury had forced him to retire.
He had played for Crystal Palace under the name of John Lewis in the 1960s, a fact which he drew on in playing the sullen Tony in Abigail"s Party.
He also appeared in the early series of the Sky One soap opera Dream Team as the club"s academy coach, Frank Patcham. He appeared in Series 1 and Series 2, and later became one of the show"s producers.
Foreign the penultimate episode, Salthouse made a cameo appearance offering a young Jason Porter a contract with Harchester United. He appeared as a guest actor in an episode of Silk broadcast on Tuesday 5 June 2012, and played DCI Sid Bradbery in The Great Train Robbery, broadcast on BBC1 in December 2013.