Actor Bill Maynard, who had a career spanning eight decades playing the role of Heartbeat, has passed away at the age of 89.
Maynard was born in Heath End, Farnham, Surrey. His father Walter worked as a gardener, his mother Edith as a laundress. After moving to Leicestershire with his family, Maynard enrolled at Kibworth Beauchamp Grammar School.
By the age of 11, Bill was making more money than his father from club stand-up comedy.
Similarly, the actor has starred in Carry On films Carry On at Your Convenience and Carry On Matron, and has also co-starred in ITV comedy Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggatt. After playing Sgt. Beetroot in the 1980s television comedy Worzel Gummidge, he starred in the recently released spin-offs of Heartbeat, The Royal and The Moorside.
Maynard’s most recent role was in the drama The Moorside, which aired in 2017 and focused on the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Shannon Matthews.
What happened to Claude Greengrass in Heartbeat?
The character of Claude Greengrass was in no way influenced by the events of the Heartbeat show. Sadly, the actor who played the role died in 2018 as a result of a scooter accident.
ITV Studios in the UK produced the historical drama series Heartbeat from 1992 to 2010. Nicholas Rhea’s Constable series novels served as inspiration for this show. Early episodes of the series consistently drew audiences in excess of 10 million people, with the series eventually reaching its highest-ever audience of 13.82 million in 2001 and 12.8 million in 2003. The series was a hit from the start.
From the first to the tenth season, Bill played the role of the humorous Claude Greengrass. On the show, he constantly got into trouble for stealing animals from other farms, which was one of the reasons he was there. The actor had health problems and had to leave the series, but now he’s back on The Royal. Similarly, he appeared on the ITV show Heartbeat for eight years, playing the role of lovable villain Claude Jeremiah Greengrass.
Actor Bill Maynard died at 89: What illness did he have?
Maynard is believed to have died in a Leicestershire hospital shortly after breaking his hip after falling from his mobility scooter, according to his daughter-in-law. She also mentioned that he was larger than life and had a passion for the entertainment industry.
After his death, he received tributes from a variety of people, including athletes, fans, and other artists. Snooker player and commentator Willie Thorne, who hails from Leicestershire, tweeted the following: “The passing of Bill Maynard has made this a very sad day. He was a fantastic actor and a good friend and he was also a snooker fanatic living nearby in Leicester. REST IN PEACE.”
Tricia Penrose, who portrayed Gina on the soap opera Heartbeat and competed against Bill on the game show Pointless, also paid tribute to Bill. Penrose and Bill worked together on the show. She mentioned in her post that it’s only been a few weeks since they’ve worked together.
Additionally, another actor named Richard Willis shared the story of how he first met Bill. He wrote on multiple social media platforms: “My father owns a theater on the island of Guernsey and he invited Bill Maynard to perform his stunning one-person play about Charles Dickens there. I was 10 years old when I remembered him trying to dissuade me from pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. I never stopped being thankful for the opportunity I was given.”
Who replaced the character of Claude Greengrass?
Vernon Scripps, a Liverpool actor who took over Greengrass in his role as the village’s charming prankster, was portrayed by Geoffrey Hughes. In the 1970s and 1980s he was best known for his roles as Twiggy in The Royle Family, Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances and Eddie Yeats, the garbage man on Coronation Street. His fans were in the millions. In 2012, at the age of 68, he lost his battle with prostate cancer.
Claude Jeremiah Greengrass’s last appearance came in the episode of Heatbeat entitled “Cold Turkey”. Bill Maynard had to abandon his performance at the performance because he was unwell. However, he did appear in the Heartbeat spinoff series titled The Royal. Greengrass (Bill Maynard), the main character of this episode, has trouble getting paid for the gardening he did for Stringer.