Bill Maynard

Biography: When told that Williams was too common a surname to use professionally Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)He was forced to retire from acting in 2000 after suffering a number of strokes, the final one being while he was filming for "Heartbeat" (1992) in which he had played Claude Jeremiah Greengrass for ten seasons. The character of Claude was written out, mid-series, in such a way that Bill Maynard could return if his health improved: in the story, Claude had won the football pools and emigrated to the Caribbean to live with his sister. He returned to acting in 2003 playing the same character in _"Royal, The" (2002)_ , a spin-off from "Heartbeat" (1992). It is set in hospital and he is in bed a lot, but appears to have recovered.

Bill has specialized in playing character and comedy roles. When told that Williams was too common a surname to use professionally, he adopted the name Maynard after seeing a sign advertising Maynard's Wine Gums. Lost the middle finger of his right
When told that Williams was too common a surname to use professionally Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)He was forced to retire from acting in 2000 after suffering a number of strokes, the final one being while he was filming for "Heartbeat" (1992) in which he had played Claude Jeremiah Greengrass for ten seasons. The character of Claude was written out, mid-series, in such a way that Bill Maynard could return if his health improved: in the story, Claude had won the football pools and emigrated to the Caribbean to live with his sister. He returned to acting in 2003 playing the same character in _"Royal, The" (2002)_ , a spin-off from "Heartbeat" (1992). It is set in hospital and he is in bed a lot, but appears to have recovered.

Bill has specialized in playing character and comedy roles.

When told that Williams was too common a surname to use professionally, he adopted the name Maynard after seeing a sign advertising Maynard's Wine Gums.

Lost the middle finger of his right hand in a childhood accident with a mangle.

His second wife is Tonia Campbell, widow of Donald Campbell who died trying to break the world water speed record in 1967.

Two children with Muriel Linnett: Martin (born 1951) and Jane (born 1954). Tonia Campbell (4 September 1989 - present)Muriel Linnett (5 November 1949 - June 1983) (her death) 2 children.
Bill Maynard plays Claude Jeremiah Greengrass

Bill Maynard, one of Britain's best loved comedy actors, was a founder member of the cast of Heartbeat. His rôle as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass enabled him to win the title of Yorkshire Arts and Entertainment Personality of the Year in the 2003 Yorkshire Awards. As the citation explains:

Famous for his role as Greengrass in Heartbeat and The Royal, Bill Maynard is a living legend and much loved by the nation's TV viewers. Currently celebrating his 50th year on British television, Bill has been a comedian, a dramatic actor and a film actor. He's been in musicals and even opera. Although he doesn't hail from Yorkshire, his work over the years at Yorkshire Television certainly qualifies him for the title honorary Yorkshireman!

He left Heartbeat after suffering a stroke; but after making a recovery, bounced back the help launch the related medical drama series The Royal, still playing Yorkshire's craftiest rogue!

"I'd been out of work for eighteen months and had started to think that I'd never work again," he says. "It was wonderful to be offered the chance to return. I'm still slightly impaired, but everyone has looked after me so well. I didn't move around much when I was in Heartbeat. Greengrass was often found sitting on a bar stool, in his cottage or in his truck, so it's not that much different, I just get to relax in bed all day."

Being confined to the hospital certainly hasn't prevented him from getting up to mischief.

"He's still the same old rogue that he ever was. He never lets the chance to make a few quid pass him by. The opportunities may be a little more limited in a hospital, but he's still able to get up to his old tricks."

Working on The Royal also reunited him with the man who gave him his first theatrical break.

"Ian Carmichael auditioned me for my first professional job in the theatre in 1949," recalls Bill. "It was a review company and he was the director. It was nice to catch up with him after all these years."

Bill is thrilled that the viewing public are happy to see him back on their screens.

"I've received lots of letters since it was announced that Greengrass would be returning. People have been absolutely fantastic and they can't wait to see what scrapes he is going to get himself into."

Bill, who will be celebrating his fiftieth anniversary on British television in 2003, relished the chance to return to work and has no plans to retire just yet.

"Acting is a wonderful way of earning a living. I've enjoyed every moment of my career and I certainly don't have any plans to give up work. I'll continue as long as I can stand, sit or talk. I can see myself pegging it just after someone has shouted action."

As for his character, not much has changed since he was seen leaving Heartbeat to jet off to the Caribbean to help his sister spend the money she had scooped on the West Indies Sweepstake.

"He certainly isn't a model patient. He has a sort of love / hate relationship with the staff, especially Sister Brigid. She knows he's malingering, but she is powerless to do anything until she can prove it. Saying that, she rules her ward with a rod of iron and Greengrass certainly has to watch his step to make sure that he doesn't get on the wrong side of her."

Aiding him in his money-making schemes are the hospital's Head Porter Ken Hopkirk and Theatre Technician Alun Morris: "Ken and Alun are wise to the kind of person that Greengrass is. Although they are wary of him, they are still prepared to help him out with his scams. He tries to pull the wool over their eyes now and again, and there are a few fall outs, but they are more than able to get their own back on him."

Bill is one of Britain's best loved TV comedy actors. He has been an entertainer since starting as a child performer in the Midlands before moving on to become a band singer and eventually headlining his own variety act. His most recent stage credits include the title role in the hit national tour of Hobson's Choice, Daddy Warbucks in Annie, the West End comedy Strippers and Orminroyd in the 1986 West End revival of J.B. Priestley's When We Are Married. His many hit television series include four successful series of Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggit, The Gaffer, The Life of Riley, the award winning Kisses at Fifty and a one-off special for Yorkshire Television Bill Maynard in Person. His memorable guest appearances in other hit series include Worzel Gummidge, Minder, Tales of the Unexpected and Till Death Us Do Part.
Bill Maynard first became involved with Heartbeat when Yorkshire Television invited him to play the rôle of Claude Jeremiah Greengrass, Aidensfield's larger-than-life layabout and petty criminal, and one of Nicholas Rhea's most enduring characters. "It wasn't the principal rôle, and the description of the character was 'a little ferret of a man' but YTV felt that I could do something with it," Bill recalls. "I thought the character had a future, so I accepted the offer."

He was proved right, and the character continued to play a large part in events in Aidensfield until July 2000, when Bill Maynard suffered a serious stroke during the filming of Heartbeat Season 10. He had previously recovered from earlier minor strokes, but was now very seriously affected. At first Bill feared that he would never be able to work again, but the character of Claude Greengrass was so popular that it was decided to construct a new series around his altered circumstances. The spin-off series, called The Royal features staff and patients of a small cottage hospital in the Yorkshire town of Elsinby - and one of those patients is Claude Greengrass! Also promised for The Royal are appearances from current Heartbeat regulars who come to the hospital to visit patients etc...

Although the character of Claude Greengrass was created by Nicholas Rhea, Bill Maynard had a lot of influence in building the character, from the clothing (the trousers are from a suit he used in other shows, and the ex-Canadian army boots were also used in many other shows before) to the Greengrass trademarks. "The facial twitch, another trademark, was something I got from the actual person on whom I based the characterisation of Greengrass. You could always tell when this bloke was lying because he twitched. And I use the twitch when Greengrass is telling lies or in a compromising situation. The twitch has become such an integral part of the character that the public believe it is something I do all the time."

"There are a number of things that I share with Greengrass, most notably his joy in putting one over on authority, in a humorous way. Nobody has found the answer to the question: why is Blaketon so intent on nicking Greengrass? We think he might have stolen Blaketon's bird when younger or given him a thumping at school! With Blaketon, it's an obsession. It makes him do absolutely stupid things." Getting to know Bill Maynard a bit better is useful in understanding his approach to the role. His autobiography shows a man with a rather colourful life, and a habit of going against the grain at times. The role of Greengrass has grown more important from series to series, and Maynard gives an explanation for this success: "I have been asked many times how you keep a television character going for months or, in Greengrass's case, for years and still keep him interesting. The best analogy I know is to compare it with a marriage: you must keep changing yourself slowly but surely or your partner will first get bored and then irritated. At first, she likes the way you stroke your nose, a little gesture I was to use in my early TV days, when you are thinking hard. By the time the honeymoon is over she is likely to rear up and snap: 'I wish you would stop stroking your nose - it's beginning to get on my nerves'." Stand Up...And Be Counted, Bill Maynard Rhea about Greengrass: "The very first fictional character about whom I wrote, way back in the 1950s, was called Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Not many people know this but Claude was then a young policeman and he was a thorough nuisance who spent his time upsetting the sergeant! He'd never admit to being a policeman now! Bill Maynard has made a wonderful job of fleshing out the Claude Jeremiah Greengrass in my Constable books - and now, I can't imagine life without the old rogue or his wonderful dog, Alfred!" Bill is one of Britain's best loved TV comedy actors. He has been an entertainer since starting as a child performer in the Midlands before moving on to become a band singer and eventually headlining his own variety act. His most recent stage credits include the title role in the hit national tour of Hobson's Choice, Daddy Warbucks in Annie, the West End comedy Strippers and Orminroyd in the 1986 West End revival of J.B. Priestley's When We Are Married. His many hit television series include four successful series of Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggit, The Gaffer, The Life of Riley, the award winning Kisses at Fifty and a one-off special for Yorkshire Television Bill Maynard in Person. His memorable guest appearances in other hit series include Worzel Gummidge, Minder, Tales of the Unexpected and Till Death Us Do Part.
Expand

Bill Maynard's Scores

  • TV
Average career score: N/A
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of
  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of
0 tv reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
tbd The Royal: Season 1 Jan 19, 2003 Claude Greengrass tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 10 Oct 22, 2000 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass / Claude Jeremiah Greengrass (1992-2000) tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 9 Sep 26, 1999 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass / Claude Jeremiah Greengrass (1992-2000) tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 8 Sep 6, 1998 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 7 Aug 31, 1997 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 6 Sep 1, 1996 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 5 Sep 3, 1995 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass / Claude Jeremiah Greengrass (1992-2000) tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 4 Sep 4, 1994 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass / Claude Jeremiah Greengrass (1992-2000) tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 3 Oct 3, 1993 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 2 Apr 18, 1993 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass (1992-2000) tbd
tbd Heartbeat: Season 1 Apr 10, 1992 Claude Jeremiah Greengrass (1992-2000) 10