Heartbeat actor Bill Maynard dies at the age of 89

From left, the late Bill Maynard in later years and while working in Sunderland in 1959.
From left, the late Bill Maynard in later years and while working in Sunderland in 1959.

Heartbeat actor Bill Maynard has died at the age of 89, his family has confirmed.

The star, who played Claude Jeremiah Greengrass in the series between 1992 and 2000, died in hospital in Leicestershire shortly after breaking his hip in a fall off his mobility scooter, his daughter-in-law said.

Maynard graced North-East stages throughout his career as both a comedian and actor with his roles including appearances in pantomime at Sunderland Empire in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

His daughter-in-law, Jacqueline Reddin, who is also an actress, said: "He was larger than life and he just loved showbiz.

"He was so proud of the fact that he had been working for 81 years and he would have been 90 in October.

"He leaves a son and daughter, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren."

Maynard, whose real name was Walter Williams, chose his stage name as a reference to the sweet company, Ms Reddin said.

The actor also played the title role in Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt and starred in Carry On films Carry On At Your Convenience, Carry On Matron and Carry On Dick.

In 1980 he played Sergeant Beetroot in the TV series Worzel Gummidge and more recently made appearances in The Royal and The Moorside.

Ms Reddin said he had recently visited her and her husband in France and had also filmed an episode of the game show Pointless and was looking forward to watching it when it aired.

In 2013 the actor celebrated 60 years since his first TV appearance by releasing a version of What A Wonderful World.