Bill Maynard dies aged 89

Friday 30th March 2018, 1:08pm

Actor Bill Maynard has died at the age of 89.

Born Walter Williams in Surrey, he would spend a career finding fame as northerners, and starred as Claude Greengrass in ITV soap-drama Heartbeat from 1992 to 2000, and its spin-off The Royal in 2003.

He died in hospital in Leicestershire after breaking his hip in a fall from his mobility scooter, his daughter-in-law Jacqueline Reddin said.

Adopting his stage name – reportedly, he was told Williams was “too common” – from the makers of Wine Gums, Maynard was a familiar face on television since the late 1950s.

Reddin said: “He was larger than life and he just loved showbiz. He was so proud of the fact that he had been working for 81 years.”

A prolific comic performer, he had his own starring BBC sketch series, Mostly Maynard, in 1957, but became perhaps best known as Yorkshire Television‘s endearingly simple Selwyn Froggitt during the 1970s.

His credits read as a list of hit comedies during the 1960s and 70s, ranging from guest roles in Till Death Us Do Part and Sykes to Bless This House, Up Pompeii, and no fewer than five Carry On films.

Maynard also made regular appearances in the smash hit Confessions film series as the father of central character Timothy Lea, and was celebrated for a number of dramatic turns, including in Alan Plater‘s Trinity Tales.

The actor found particular success in sitcom during the 1970s, starring in The Life Of Riley and Paradise Island, before uniting with Plater to create the charming buffoon Selwyn Froggitt, a character he would play for four hit series, spanning Oh No It’s Selwyn Froggitt and successor Selwyn.

In the early 1980s, Maynard starred again as the titular factory owner Fred Moffatt in ITV industrial relations sitcom The Gaffer (pictured), but would not secure another regular starring role until Heartbeat in the early 1990s.

Married twice, he leaves a son and daughter, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The complete Gaffer and Selwyn Froggitt collections are available on DVD.


The Gaffer - The Complete Series

Bill Maynard (Oh No It’s Selwyn Froggitt) is Fred Moffat, the tight-fisted yet quick-thinking director of a small light-engineering firm, in this cleverly scripted, bittersweet sitcom.

The recession is biting, and the Gaffer finds himself under siege from the taxman, his creditors, his bank manager… and just about everyone else. He sometimes resorts to extreme measures to keep his head above water, and is permanently at odds with militant shop steward Harry (Russell Hunter). But glamorous secretary Betty (Pat Ashton) is always around to lighten the mood – even if she rarely succeeds in getting Harry and Fred to see eye-to-eye…

Presented here are all three series of this hugely popular sitcom from Yorkshire Television.

First released: Monday 11th October 2010

The Complete Selwyn Froggitt - All Four Complete Series

Bill Maynard stars as the council labourer, hapless handyman and all-round public nuisance in this classic Yorkshire Television sitcom set from the pen of award-winning writer Alan Plater (Beiderbecke).

Oh No It’s Selwyn Froggitt boasts a regular supporting cast featuring Bill Dean (Brookside) – who also wrote lyrics for each episode’s individual theme tune – and Robert Keegan (Z Cars), and remained a firm favourite with the viewing public throughout its two-year run, establishing Bill Maynard as a household name. This release brings together all three series of Oh No It’s Selwyn Froggitt alongside the one series of sequel Selwyn and the original pilot episode from 1974.

First released: Monday 11th October 2010

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