Bill Maynard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bill Maynard
Birth name Walter Frederick George Williams
Born (1928-10-08) 8 October 1928 (age 88)
Heath End, Surrey, England
Medium Actor/comedian
Nationality British
Years active 1953–present
Genres Comedy, television
Spouse Muriel Linnett (1949–1983)

Tonia Bern (1989–present)
Notable works and roles See below

Walter Frederick George Williams (born 8 October 1928), better known by the stage name Bill Maynard, is an English comedian and actor.

Early life and career[edit]

Maynard was born at 5 Oak Cottages, Heath End, Farnham, Surrey, and attended Kibworth Beauchamp Grammar School in Leicestershire. He started as a variety performer, taking his professional surname from an advertising board (billboard) for Maynard's Wine Gums, a popular British confectionery at the time. Maynard's first television broadcast was on 12 September 1953 on Henry Hall’s Face the Music.

He was placed fourth in the 1957 Eurovision Song Contest. With Terry Scott, he appeared at Butlins Holiday Camp in Skegness and partnered him in the TV series Great Scott, It's Maynard!.[1]

He was part of the team that presented the One O'Clock Show for Tyne Tees Television in Newcastle (1959–64). In 1971 he appeared in Dennis Potter's television play Paper Roses, about the last day in the life of a reporter, and another notable straight acting role followed in 1973 when he appeared in Colin Welland's television play, Kisses at Fifty. In 1973 also, Maynard worked with television actor and comedian Ronnie Barker in the (original) "Football Blues" which aired as "Spanners Eleven" and was part of a series called Seven of One.

In 1975, he had a film role as Yorkshire farmer Hinchcliffe in It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet. At this time, he starred in the Yorkshire Television sitcoms Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt! where he played the eponymous lead role and for playing Fred Moffatt in The Gaffer. In the 1970s he also played small roles in some of the Carry On films, including Carry On Matron (1972) and Carry On Dick (1974).

In 1984, Maynard stood against Tony Benn in the by election at Chesterfield as an Independent Labour candidate. It was his only foray into politics and was purely to try to prevent Benn winning the seat, and thus re entering Parliament. Benn won the seat; Maynard took fourth place.[2]

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1974 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.[3] Maynard published his autobiography The Yo-Yo Man in November 1975 (published by Leicester's Golden Eagle books),[4] and Stand Up...And Be Counted in 1997 (Breedon Books).[5] In April 1992, he returned to Yorkshire Television, and began playing the lovable old rogue Claude Jeremiah Greengrass, in the popular and long running television series Heartbeat, remaining in the show until December 2000, and its spin off series The Royal until 2003.[1]

Having originally retired from acting in 2000[clarification needed] following a series of strokes, he made a comeback to radio presenting in March 2003, for BBC Radio Leicester, where he had last worked in 1968. His show, called Bill of Fare, aired every Sunday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm for nearly five years, until he was dismissed without notice on 5 February 2008.[1]

In October 2009, he made a return to the stage when he appeared as the main guest of honour at the Pride of Bridlington Awards held in the East Riding of Yorkshire.[6] On 15 October 2010, he appeared on the Alan Titchmarsh Show, where he related that the BBC had asked him to change his surname; as he was walking around London, he saw a poster with Maynards Wine Gums written on it so he said to himself "That'll do".

He was a great fan of BriSCA Formula 1 Stock Cars, and was regularly seen at racing at Long Eaton, Leicester Stadium and Coventry Stadium tracks. He made a record called "Stock Car Racing is Magic!", which was played at stock car meetings. He also sponsored a local driver Pete Doran (428) from Hinckley for many years.

Personal life[edit]

He has lived in Leicestershire for many years. Maynard married Muriel Linnett on 5 November 1949, and they had two children. She died in June 1983.[1] On 4 September 1989, Maynard married Tonia Bern, widow of Donald Campbell, at Hinckley Registry Office. Maynard is a vegetarian. His son is Martin Maynard Williams. Maynard is now mobility impaired, usually using a mobility scooter or wheelchair, having suffered from multiple strokes. He remains in regular contact with fellow Heartbeat actor, co-star and friend, Derek Fowlds.[7]

Television and filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Where are they now? Heartbeat actor Bill Maynard". The Daily Express. 17 January 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Boothroyd, David. "Results of Byelections in the 1983-87 Parliament". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "After 60 years, Bill Maynard has last laugh on his critics". Leicester Mercury. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Maynard, Bill (1975). The Yo-Yo Man: The Autobiography of Bill Maynard. London: Golden Eagle Press. ISBN 0901482218. 
  5. ^ Maynard, Bill; Sheard, John (1997). Stand Up and Be Counted. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 9781859830802. 
  6. ^ "Local Pride awards honoured 'caring and amazing people'". Bridlington Free Press. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Video on YouTube[self-published source]

External links[edit]