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.