Michael Staniforth

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Michael Staniforth
Born (1942-12-15)15 December 1942
Birmingham, England,  United Kingdom
Died 31 July 1987(1987-07-31) (aged 44)
Resting place 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.


Timothy Claypole[edit]

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.[1]


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."[2] For example, the line "At your party hold a séance" became "At your party be a smartie".

After Rentaghost[edit]

In 1984 Michael had a significant role as "CB the Red Caboose" in the original line-up in the long-running Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical Starlight Express. [3]

He died from an AIDS related illness on 31 July 1987.


  1. ^ "Rentaghost (1976-84)". BFI Screenonline. 1984-11-06. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  2. ^ "Cult - Classic TV - Rentaghost - Trivia". BBC. September 2005. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Rentaghost - Whatever happened to Timothy Claypole, Miss Popov and Dobbin the Pantomime Horse?". The Bubble Burst. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 

External links[edit]