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Derek Griffiths

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Derek Griffiths
Born (1946-07-15) 15 July 1946 (age 77)
Woking, Surrey, England
Years active1964–present

Derek Griffiths MBE (born 15 July 1946) is a British actor, singer and voice artist who appeared in numerous British children's television series in the 1970s to present and has more recently played parts in television drama.


Griffiths was known in his early years for his Play School appearances alongside the likes of Chloe Ashcroft, Johnny Ball and Brian Cant. A talented multi-instrumentalist, he voiced over and sang the theme tune to Heads and Tails, a series of short animal films for children produced by BBC Television, and also sang and played the theme tune to the cartoon Bod. Another children's TV role was in Granada Television's early 1980s series Film Fun, in which he played the entire staff of a cinema (the manager, the commissionaire (with the catchphrase "Get on with it!"), the projectionist, the usherette and also himself) while also showing cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. He appeared on Crown Court (1973) as an accused fraudster Raoul Lapointe, from the Belgian Congo. In 1975, Griffiths played Ko-Ko in The Black Mikado at London's Cambridge Theatre. He also provided the English voice of SuperTed (the series SuperTed was originally made in Welsh).

In 1997, Griffiths originated the role of Lumière in the original West End production of Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion Theatre and played the role of the Child Catcher in the West End run of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.

In 2014, Griffiths was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge of Merit award.[1] This was in acknowledgement of his unique contribution to music.

From 2016, he played Freddie Smith in Coronation Street: he left the role in March 2017 to star in a stage production of Driving Miss Daisy.[2] In 2021, he joined the London cast of The Mousetrap.[3]

Children's television work[edit]

  • Play School (1971–81)
  • Play Away (1971)
  • Cabbages and Kings (1972)
  • Various Look and Read stories as singer, including:
  • Bod (1975) where he composed the theme music for each of the main five characters
  • Ring-a-Ding! (1975) stories and singer
  • Heads and Tails (1978) as voiceover and singer
  • Watch It! (1980–83) regular continuity announcer on children's ITV segment for Yorkshire Television
  • Insight (1980) as presenter and various characters in this Yorkshire Television educational series for deaf and hearing-impaired children
  • Dinosaurs: Fun, Fact and Fantasy (1982) as the voice of Dil the Crocodile
  • SuperTed (1983–1985) as the voice of SuperTed
  • Muzzy in Gondoland (1986) as the voices of Bob and Corvax
  • King Greenfingers (1989) as the narrator
  • The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends (1993) as Simpkin in animated short stories based on the popular book series
  • Christopher Crocodile (1993) as the narrator and all of the characters
  • Dragon Tales (1999–2005) as the narrator for the audiobooks
  • Mio Mao (2005) as the narrator and all of the characters in the UK dub
  • Film Fun
  • Little Red Tractor (2004–2007) as the voices of Mr Jones and Walter
  • Animal Antics (1997–2015) as the narrator[4]
  • Tinga Tinga Tales (2010-2011) as the voices of Cricket and Skunk
  • Sarah & Duck (2014) Series 2 Episode 3: "Cloud Tower" as Cloud Captain
  • Hilda (2020) Series 2 Episode 8: "The Fifty Year Night" as Mr. Ostenfeld
  • The Dumping Ground (2021) as Larry Meadow

Comedy television work[edit]

Other television work[edit]


Advertising work[edit]

Griffiths has also frequently appeared in advertising. In the past, he has won the Italian advertising Oscar for a series of comedy commercials about a Christmas cake where he played the role of an entertainer with French accent.[7]

Film work[edit]


In the theatre, Griffiths has been particularly associated with the Royal Exchange, Manchester. His roles include:[8][9]



Griffiths was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to drama and diversity.[10][11]


  1. ^ "Sir Bob Geldof to be honoured by Gold Badge Awards – M Magazine". 10 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Coronation Street: Derek Griffiths to leave soap". BBC.com. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  3. ^ Maxwell, Dominic (12 May 2021). "Derek Griffiths — from Little Ted to The Mousetrap". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  4. ^ Animal antics on Channel 5 web site (retrieved 19 January 2013).Archived 4 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Man Down Episode Guide, accessed 22 November 2017
  6. ^ Timblick, Simon (31 May 2022). "Doctors spoilers: SHOCK for Sid Vere..." What to Watch. (Future plc). Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  7. ^ "Derek Griffiths". 27 October 2009.
  8. ^ Murray, Braham (2007). The worst it can be is a disaster. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 978-0-7136-8490-2.
  9. ^ The Royal Exchange Theatre Company Words & Pictures 1976–1998, ISBN 0-9512017-1-9.
  10. ^ "No. 62866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 2019. p. N18.
  11. ^ "Order of the British Empire, Derek Griffiths". The Gazette. 27 December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.

External links[edit]