15 December 1942|
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
|Died||31 July 1987(aged 44)|
|Golders Green Crematorium|
Michael Staniforth (15 December 1942 – 31 July 1987), born in Selly Oak, Birmingham, was a British stage actor. In his best-known role, he entertained children and adults as ghostly jester Timothy Claypole, a mischievous medieval poltergeist, in the long-running BBC children's television comedy series Rentaghost.
Staniforth played Claypole from 1976, when the show first aired, until 1984, and was the longest-standing member of the cast. Claypole was a bearded medieval jester, dressed in motley and bells. Claypole's longevity as a ghost meant that he had expert ghostly skills; coupled with his mischievous personality, and often boundless psychic energy, he caused mayhem for the rest of the Rentaghost cast. Danny Birchall at BFI Screenonline noted:
The sheer energy of Michael Staniforth (who also performed the theme tune) as Claypole made it one of the longer-lasting children's television series, if not always the most fondly remembered.
Staniforth also composed, played and sang the Rentaghost theme music, although he had to re-write it as "concern grew that it was too close to The Exorcist." For example the line "At your party hold a séance" became "At your party be a smartie".
He died from following an investigative operation in 1987.
- "Rentaghost (1976-84)". BFI Screenonline. 1984-11-06. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Cult - Classic TV - Rentaghost - Trivia". BBC. September 2005. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Rentaghost - Whatever happened to Timothy Claypole, Miss Popov and Dobbin the Pantomime Horse?". The Bubble Burst. Retrieved 2012-11-05.