||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification, as it includes attribution to IMDb. (December 2010)|
|Birth name||Walter Frederick George Williams|
8 October 1928 |
Heath End, Surrey, England
|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
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 UK heat of 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!.
He was part of the team that presented the One O'Clock Show for Tyne Tees Television in Newcastle (1959–64). In 1973 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.
Maynard published his autobiography The Yo-Yo Man in November 1975 (published by Leicester's Golden Eagle books) and Stand Up...And Be Counted in 1997 (Breedon Books).
In 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.
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–4pm for nearly five years, until he was dismissed without notice on 5 February 2008.
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. 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.
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. In 1989 Maynard married Tonia Bern, widow of Donald Campbell. 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 and Burt Kwouk.
TV and filmography
- "Local Pride awards honoured 'caring and amazing people'". Bridlington Free Press. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- Video on YouTube[self-published source]
- Bill Maynard at the Internet Movie Database
- Bill Maynard at tv.com
- Bill Maynard's appearance on This Is Your Life
- Bill Maynard's "Stock Car Racing is Magic" lyrics
- Bill Maynard's "Stock Car Racing is Magic" recording