Bill Maynard – best known in recent times as Claude Greengrass in ITV’s period drama Heartbeat – is celebrating sixty years of television appearances.
Born Walter Frederick George Williams on the 8th of October 1928 he picked the stage-name Bill Maynard after seeing a billboard advert for Maynard’s Wine Gums. His first venture into showbiz was at the age of eight when he appeared on stage at a pub. In 1951 he joined the Butlins Holiday Camp entertainment team, working alongside comedian Terry Scott. The pair would later reunite for a television comedy series.
The actor and presenter first appeared on television in September 1953, appearing on BBC Television’s Face The Music variety series. Appearing on bandleader Henry Hall’s series as a stand up comedian, it began a broadcasting career which would take in everything from presenting live television to sitcom and drama.
In 1959 he was one of the founding personalities of Tyne Tees Television, appearing in the first live programme, The Big Show, and many others during the 1960s followed for the ITV North East station.
He made several appearances in Rank’s Carry On movie franchise before taking the lead role in 1970s sitcom Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggitt! for Yorkshire Television. The series saw Maynard as an all-round public nuisance, fated with incidents which made his life one long disaster. In the early 80s he returned to Yorkshire Television to again take the lead as company boss Fred Moffatt in sitcom The Gaffer.
In the 1990s he returned to television as Claude Greengrass, the lovable old rogue in Yorkshire Television’s Heartbeat. Set in the 1960s Maynard appeared in over 150 episodes and later featured in the shows spin-off hospital saga, The Royal.
There has also been music along the way including landing fourth in the UK heat of the 1957 Eurovision Song Contest, singles released such as Pheasant Pluckers’ Son and to mark his 60th anniversary since his television debut a new release, a cover of What A Wonderful World.
Bill celebrated his landmark on September 19th.