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Born in Dulwich, London, England on January 15, 1921.
Birth Name: Frank Thornton Ball
Son of William Ernestand and Rosina Mary (Thornton) Ball.
Married Beryl Jane Margaret Evans on June 5, 1945 in West Wickham, London; they have one daughter (Jane Higgs) and three grandchildren. Married 67 years!
Height: 6' 1".
Blue eyes.
Died 3/16/2013 peacefully in his sleep.



Daughter, Jane Higgs, has been honored by the Queen in her Birthday List.



TV Appearances

    (2015)The Best of British Comedy

    Both images ©Mill Creek Entertainment

    (2012)Run for Your Wife (Man debussing)
    (2007)"Richard & Judy" - Episode dated 8 March 2007
    (2007)"This Morning" - Episode dated 8 March (voice)
    (2007) Back in Business (Gardener) Picture from Behind the scenes

    (1997-2010)"Last of the Summer Wine" (Truly)
    All 4 images ©BBC

    (2005)The Funny Blokes of British Comedy
    (2004)"Britain's Best Sitcom"
    (2004)The Funny Ladies of British Comedy
    (2004)"Holby City" - We'll Meet Again(Douglas Archer)
    (2003)"Comedy Connections" - Are You Being Served?
    (2003)30 Years of 'Last of the Summer Wine'
    (2002)"This Is Your Life" - Bill Oddie

    (2002)Heroes of Comedy-Dick Emery
    ©Thames Television

    (2002)Gosford Park (Mr. Burkett)(Constance's Butler)

    All 4 images © Capitol Films

    (2001)Out of the Black (Philip Hart)
    (2001)"Casualty" - Heroes and Villains (Edward Gutteridge)
    (2001)Wendy Richard: A Life on the Box

    (1999)"Funny Turns" - John Inman

    (1998)What's a Carry On? at Re-Union
    ©The British Film Corporation PLC

    (1998)"This Is Your Life"- Frank Thornton
    See below under "Interviews"

    (1998)"This Is Your Life"- Trevor Bannister

    (1997)"Auntie's TV Favourites" - Ep 1.6

    (1997)What a Performance! Camp (Archives from AYBS)

    ©Carlton Television

    (1996)"All Rise for Julian Clary" (Judge Geoffrey Parker-Knoll)
    (1995)"The Upper Hand" - The Wedding (Reverend Hale)
    (1995)The Old Curiosity Shop(Mr. Witherden)
    (1995)"Telly Addicts" - Christmas Special
    (1993)"Telly Addicts" - Episode #9.9
    (1991)"Great Expectations" (Mr. Trabb)(miniseries)
    (1989)The BFG (Mr Tibbs)(voice)

    (1989)"T-Bag and the Revenge of the T-Set" - The Bard (William Wagadaggar)
    ©Jeremy Vines

    (1987)"The Ronnie Corbett Show"(Various roles)

    (1987)"T-Bag Bounces Back" - Ivan the Horrible (Count Boris)
    ©Jeremy Vines

    (1982)"The Gentle Touch"- Right of Entry(Leo)
    (1982)"Jane"(Commander L)
    (1980)Taming of the Shrew(Gremio)

    (1977)"The Goodies" - Punky Business/Rock Goodies(Master of Ceremonies)

    (1976)"The New Avengers"- House of Cards (Roland)

    ©IDTV Production/TV Productions/TF1

    You can see a collectible from this series here.

    (1976)The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones(Whitlow)
    (1972) Love Thy Neighbor (Barman)
    (1976)Seaside Special
    June 19, 1976
    Location: Gerry Cottles Circus in Blackpool
    Guests - Wendy Richard, Mollie Sugden, Frank Thornton, John Inman

    (1975)Spanish Fly/La Mosca hispánica (Dr. Johnson)

    (1975)Old Dracula /Vampira and Old Drac (Mr. King)
    ©World Film Services

    (1975)Side by Side (Inspector Crumb)
    (1975)The Boundary
    (1974)Holiday with Strings (Travel Agent)

    (1974)"Fall of Eagles" (Prince Albert of England)

    (1974)"Crown Court" - A Case of Murder Part 1 (Prof McIver)
    (1974)Keep it up Jack! (Mr Clarke)

    (1974)Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (Estate Agent)

    ©Walter Shenson Films/City Investing Company

    (1973)The Three Musketeers (Lucky man in small carriage)
    © Este Films

    (1973)"Steptoe and Son" - The Party Christmas Special (Travel Agency Clerk)
    ©British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

    (1973)"The Gordon Peters Show"(Regular)

    (1973)No Sex Please: We're British (Glass Shop Manager)

    All 4 images © Columbia Pictures/BHP/John Woolf Productions

    (1973)Keep It Up, Jack! (Clarke)

    (1973)Bless This House (Mr Jones)
    Both images ©Thames Television

    (1972)That's Your Funeral (Town Clerk)

    (1972)Steptoe and Son Ride Again (Mr. Russell)

    All 6 images © Associated London Films

    (1972)Our Miss Fred (British Colonel)
    (1972)"Sykes" - Dream (Dr. Taplow)
    (1972)"The Reg Varney Revue"

    (1971)"The Goodies" - Farm Fresh Food(Waiter)

    (1971)"And Mother Makes Three"- Birthday Bike ( Salesman)
    (1971)"Some Matters of Little Consequence"

    (1971)Up the Chastity Belt (Master of Ceremonies)
    © Anglo-EMI Film Distributors Ltd.

    (1970)The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer(Stoddart)

    Frank Thornton (left) with Jonathan Cecil (right)
    All 7 images © Warner Brothers/Seven Arts

    (1970)"Here Come the Double Deckers!" (Robbie the Robot)

    (1970)The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (Porter)
    ©Compton Films

    (1970)The Other Reg Varney (Various Characters)
    (1970)"The Troubleshooters"- Camelot on a Clear Day (TV Interviewer)
    (1970)Some Will, Some Won't (Hotel Manager)
    (1970)All the Way Up (Mr. Driver)
    (1970)Sophie's Place/Crooks and Coronets (Cyril)

    (1969)The Magic Christian (Police Inspector)

    Both images ©Commonwealth United Entertainment

    (1969)The Bed Sitting Room (BBC man)
    ©Oscar Lewenstein Productions

    (1969)Crooks and Coronets (Cyril)

    (1969)The Assassination Bureau (Elevator victim)
    ©Paramount Pictures

    (1969)"The Champions" - The Night People (Clerk)

    Both images ©Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    (1968)Till Death Us Do Part/Alf 'n' Family(Valuation Officer)

    (1968)"The World of Beachcomber"(Various)
    (1968)A Flea in Her Ear(Charles the Butler)
    (1968)The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom (Factory manager)
    (1968)If There Weren't Any Blacks You'd Have to Invent Them ( Undertaker)
    (1968)30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia (Registrar)
    (1967)Ride of the Valkyrie

    (1967)Danny the Dragon (Sergeant Bull)
    ©Ansus Films

    (1966)Lucy in London
    (1966)The Wild Affair (Manager)

    (1966)A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Roman Sentry)

    (with Zero Mostel)
    All 6 images ©Quadrangle Films S.A.

    (1966)Carry on Screaming! (Mr. Jones)

    Both images ©Peter Rogers Productions

    (1966)"The Liars" - Episode #1.6 (Alvardo)

    (1966)The Murder Game(Radio Announcer)

    (1965)"Steptoe and Son" - Pilgrim's Progress (The Frenchman)
    © British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

    (1965)The Early Bird (Drunken doctor)

    Both images ©The Rank Organisation

    (1965)The Big Job (Bank Official)

    Both images ©Warner-Pathé Distributors

    (1965)Gonks Go Beat (Mr. A&R)
    (1965)"Frankie Howerd" - Episode #1.4

    (1965)The Tomb of Ligeia/Tomb of the Cat (Peperel)

    Both images © Alta Vista Film Production

    (1965)Gonks Go Beat (Mr. A&R)

    (1964)"Steptoe and Son" - Steptoe a la Carte (Butler)
    © British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

    (1964)The Comedy Man (Bit part)(uncredited)
    (1964)"HMS Paradise" (Commander Fairweather)
    (1964)"The Villains" - Time (Fowler)
    (1964) A Hard Day's Night (Beatles Film) (Chauffeur) (Scene was deleted)
    (1964) The Comedy Man (Producer)

    (1964)Wild Affair(Manager)
    © Seven Arts Pictures

    (1963)The Sentimental Agent-Scroll of Islam (Tailor)
    © Associated Television (ATV)

    (1963)"Steptoe and Son" - Sixty-Five Today (Barman)

    Both images ©British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

    (1963)"Benny Hill"
    ---- The Visitor (John Kenwood)
    See video to the right under "Videos".

    ---- The Vanishing Man (Frindyke/Korsikoff)
    (1963)The Wild Affair (Manager)

    (1962)"Steptoe and Son" - The Economist (Seller)

    All 3 images © British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

    (1962)The Dock Brief/Trial and Error(Photographer at Fowle Wedding)
    (1962)The Tell-Tale Heart/The Hidden Room of 1,000 Murders(Barman)
    (1962)It's Trad, Dad!/Ring-a-Ding Rhythm (TV director)
    (1962)The Apple Cart

    (1961) Victim (George (Henry's assistant))(uncredited)
    All 4 images ©Allied Film Makers (AFM)

    (1961)"The Avengers"-Death on the Slipway (Sir William Bonner)
    (1961)His Polyvinyl Girl

    (1961)"Hancock's Half Hour" - The Blood Donor (Patient)

    (1961)"Danger Man"
    ---- The Hired Assassin (Pepe)
    ---- Find and Return (Airport Official)
    (1961)Tarnished Heroes
    (1960)The Tell-Tale Heart
    (1960)"It's a Square World" (Various)

    (1959-60) "The Four Just Men"

    ---- The Boy Without a Country (Policeman)
    © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ---- Money to Burn (Enrique Vidal)
    © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ---- The Prime Minister/The Man in the Road (Gendarme)

    All 3 images © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ---- The Survivor (Home Secretary)
    © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ----The Beatniques
    © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ---- Marie (Azim)
    © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ----The Crying Jester (Coroner)
    © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ---Dead Man's Switch

    Both images © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ---The Princess

    Both images © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ---National Treasure
    © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    ---The Man with the Golden Touch
    © Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

    (1959)"William Tell"
    ---- The Surgeon (Heinburgher)
    ---- Landslide (Tax Collector)

    (1958)Missles from Hell/The Battle of the V-1 (British Scientist)(uncredited)
    ©Eros Films

    (1957)"Dixon of Dock Green" - The New Skipper (PC Cox)
    (1957)Cloak Without Dagger/Operation Conspiracy
    (1956)Johnny, You're Wanted
    (1956)Operation Conspiracy
    (1955)Stock Car
    (1955)Portrait of Alison/Postmark for Danger

    (1955)Radio Cab Murder (Eros) (1st credited role)
    © George Maynard Productions

    (1954)Scotland Yard-The Silent Witness (George (The Barman))(uncredited)
    ©Merton Park Studios

    (1951) The Passing Show– 1930-1939: The Days Before Yesterday

    (1935)Secret at the Chateau
    (1935)The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo
    (1934)Gambling Lady (Manservant)
    (1931)Cracked Nuts

    (????)Visitors and Visitees
    (????)Time and the Conways
    (????)Mind Your Own Business
    (????)Noel's House Party
    (????)The Big Business Lark
    (????)The Apple Cart
    (????)The Tommy Cooper Show
    (????)The Queen's Diamonds
    (????)Domes Day at Eleven
    (????)The Return of the Musketeers
    (????)One Last Time (Gardner)
    (????)Doctors (Gerard Mears)

    Shows/movies in which his appearance were left on the cutting room floor:

    (April, 1964) A Hard Day's Night (Fab's Chauffeur)

    Images in this section used with permission from:

    Steptoe and Son site(Website no longer exists) (Website no longer exists)

    anonymous contributors

AYBS Stats

AYBS timeframe : 1972-1985

Famous Quote: "Are you being served, sir?"

AYBS/A Stats

AYBS Timeframe: 1992-1993

Episodes: All


Quotes/Misc Info

AYBS/Movie/Other Show Based

-Has a tattoo that says 'Death before dishonour' on his right arm.

Real Life Based

-Educated at Alleyn's School and London School of Dramatic Art.
-Was an officer/navigator for the Royal Air Force for the National Service for 4 years starting in 1943. Discharged in 1947 (Rank: Flying Officer). Participated in the RAF entertainment unit as well.
-Worked for 2 years in insurance before going into acting.



Tribute Area

Memorial Service took place on July 12th 2013 at 3pm at St Paul’s Church.

You can see the tribute I made here under "Frank Thornton".

Magazine/Newspaper Articles


(Courtesy of Huddersfield Daily Examiner,












Audio/Video/Books/Official Websites/Magazines

Official Website (Dead link now)



The Benny Hill Show The Visitor 1963



(Thanks to Andrew Wiseman for letting me link to the text for the commercial).




Some Joe You Don't Know: An American Biographical Guide to 100 British Television Personalities

Book cover ©Greenwood Publishing Group

Author: Anthony Slide
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
Date: 1996
ISBN-10: 0313295506
ISBN-13: 9780313295508
# of pages: 271 pages


Walls 1967 advertisement


(1966-1968)The Embassy Lark


Links pertaining to Frank Thornton on Fan Forum



(2010)Tony who created a "This is Your Life" site has a section for Frank at:

Both images ©Thames Television International

Thanks to Tony who runs his TIYL site at:

Small Interview by Helen James

(1994)"A Conversation with Capt. Peacock"


Charity Events/Award Events/Other events

Masterchef (Series 8 Episode 12)

Image ©BBC


"Lunch with Frank Thornton" Sept 19, 2010 at Marriott Hotel near Regents Park

Oct 25-26 2008 Autographica (London, UK)

(These pages are reproduced by courtesy of World Land Trust who retain copyright. They are not to be used in any other format or by any other party without permission of World Land Trust).

October 29, 2006 -Comic Heritage/Tribute lunch in honour of June Whitfield w/
John Inman, Harold Snoad, and Jeffrey Holland.

Charities (Link to actual page is dead, but still a description of the event).


Kids Kidney Research

Cafe Society


Award Ceremonies

2008 The Heritage Foundation Awards

2008 The Heritage Foundation Awards 2

Other Events

April 25, 1993-"A Celebration of Wolfit"

(Used with permission from Betsy Vera at Bentley's Bedlam (

(2003)Bard's Night






(Image above used with permission from Bentley's Bedlam).

(Item above used with permission from ).


    (1940) French Without Tears (Brian Curtis) at Confraternity Hall inThurles, Ireland (Stage Debut)
    (1941) The Merry Wives of Windsor (Fenton and Bardolph) at Strand Theatre, London
    (1941) The Scarlet Pimpernel (Dewhurst) at various cities (Major Tour)
    (1941-1942) A Midsummer Night's Dream (Lysander) at Strand Theatre
    (1941-1942) Hamlet (Laertes) at Strand Theatre
    (1942) Volpone (Mosca) at St. James's Theatre, London
    (1942) Macbeth (Angus and Scottish Lord) at Piccadilly Theatre, London
    (1942) Flare Path (Corporal Jones) at Apollo Theatre, London
    (1947-1948) The Dancing Years (Franzel) in various cities (Major Tour)
    (1949-1950) One Wild Oat (Gregory Throstle (understudy)) at Garrick Theatre, London and various cities (Major Tour)
    (1956) The Empty Chair (Mouche) at Playhouse Theatre, Oxford
    (1957) The Hidden King (Dom Joao de Castro) at Edinburgh Festival in Scotland

    (1958)The House by the Lake

    Gary Watson, Frank Thornton, Daphne Goddard, Anne Woodward and Jocelyne Page

    Frank Thornton and Anne Woodward

    (Images above used with permission by The Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch).

    (1960) The Golden Touch (Bishop Zog) at Piccadilly Theatre
    (1960) Don't Shoot, We're English (revue) (ensemble) at Cambridge Theatre, London
    (1960) Hassan (Caliph) at the Dublin Theatre Festival in Dublin, Ireland
    (1960) Naked (Ludovico Nota) at Playhouse Theatre/Oxford Playhouse
    (1962) Five Players in Four Plays at Aldeburgh Festival

    (1965) Meals on Wheels (Edward) at Royal Court Theatre, London

    (1965) The Little Hut (Philip) in various cities (Major Tour)
    (1966)"Armchair Theatre" - Daughter of the House(Bert)(TV Play)
    (1966) Alibi for a Judge (Empton QC) at Savoy Theatre, London
    (1968) The Young Visitors (Minnit and Procurio) at Piccadilly Theatre

    (1969) Staircase (Charlie Dyer) at Richmond Theatre, London

    (Photos of Frank Thornton supplied by Trevor Danby from a production of 'Staircase' which he directed at Richmond Theatre in 1969).

    (1972) When We Are Married (Councillor Parker) at Strand Theatre
    (1971-1972) Winnie the Pooh (Eeyore) at Phoenix Theatre, London

    (1974) French Without Tears (Commander Rogers) at Lyceum Theatre,Edinburgh

    (1974) Twelfth Night (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) at Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-on-Avon
    (1975) Macbeth (Duncan) at Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-on-Avon and Aldwych Theatre, London
    (1975) The Doctor's Dilemma (Sir Patrick Cullen) at Mermaid Theatre, London

    (1975) Play By Play (Actor #1) at King's Head Theatre, London

    Frank Thornton with Sheila Hancock and Robin Asquith.

    (Credit: Collection of the author Robert Patrick, [email protected]. Used with permission).

    (1976) Are You Being Served? (Captain Peacock) at Winter Gardens Theatre, Blackpool, UK
    (1977) Roger's Last Stand (Roger) in various cities (Major Tour)
    (1977) Shut Your Eyes and Think of England (Sir Justin Holbrook) at Apollo Theatre and various cities (Major Tour)
    (1979) Bedroom Farce (Ernest) at Theatre Royal, Windsor & Haymarket Theatr, Leichester
    (1979) Jumpers (George) at Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead
    (1980)The Chairs at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
    (1980) Bedroom Farce at Windsor and Haymarket Theatre, Leicester
    (Feb 10, 1981) Frank Thornton at Lunch Frank Thornton Canberra Theatre Restaurant
    (1980-1981) Habeas Corpus (Dr. Wicksteed) in Perth, Australia and various other cities (Major Tour)
    (1981) The Heiress (Dr. Sloper) at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, UK
    (1981) Twelfth Night (Malvolio) at Watermill Theatre, Newbury, UK
    (1982) H.M.S. Pinafore (Sir Joseph Porter) at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

    (1982) Dial "M" for Murder (Detective Inspector Hubbard) in various U.K. cities (Major Tour)

    (1983) Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Barney Cashman) at Mill-at-Sonning

    (1984-1986)Me and My Girl (Sir John Tremayne) at Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, UK and Adelphi Theatre, London leading to Oliver Award nomination.

    Frank Thornton, Robert Lindsay and Emma Thompson Above picture courtesy Leicester Mercury.

    (1987) Richard II (John of Gaunt) at Ludlow Festival. Ludlow, UK
    (1987) Pirates of Penzance (Major General Stanley) at Theatre Royal, Plymouth and London Palladium
    (1987) The Cabinet Minister (title role) at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, UK
    (1988) The Tutor (Privy Counsellor) at Old Vic Theatre, London
    (1988) Winnie (Godfrey Allingham, Charles De Gaulle and other various roles) at Victoria Palace Theatre, London and Opera House, Manchester
    (1988) Peter Pan (Captain Hook) at Connaught Theatre, Worthing, UK
    (1989)Ivanov (Count Shabyelsky) at Yvonne Arnaud & Strand
    (1989) Much Ado About Nothing (Count Shabyelsky, Ivanov and Leonato) at Strand Theatre
    (1989) Ivanov (Count Shabyelsky) at Richmond Theatre
    (1989)The Reluctant Debutant (Jimmy Broadbent) at Windsor as well as a Far Eastern Tour
    (1987) Pirates of Penzance at the London Palladium
    (1990) Best of Friends (George Bernard Shaw) Tour
    (1990+)Carousel (Dr Sheldon & Starkeeper) at International Festival of Musical Theatre in Cardiff
    (1992)Spread a Little Happiness at King's Head, Islington

    (1993)It Runs in the Family (Sir Willoughby Drake) at The Playhouse (Signed collectible can be seen here)

    Image ©The Playhouse

    (Thanks to Mr. Leslie Lawton for permission to use the image above from his site at:

    (1993)Music in the Air
    (1994)Strike Up the Band
    (1994)The Lost Musicals (Barbican)
    (1995)Take Me Along

    (1995-1996)Hobson's Choice (Henry Horatio Hobson) at the Lyric Theatre
    (1995)A Patriot for Me (General von Hotzendorf) RSC
    (1995)Harvey (Dr Chumley) at Shaftesbury Theatre
    (1996)Cash on Delivery (Mr Jenkins) at West End
    (1996)Of Thee I Sing (Matthew Fulton)
    (1996-97)Cash on Delivery at the Whitehall Theatre

    (2000)Jermyn Street Revue at Jermyn Street Theatre

    (All Theater related images not specifically stated are copyrighted to their respective owners.)

    TV Plays

    (1980)The Taming of the Shrew (Gremio)
    (1970's?)BBC-The Eleventh Hour-Boundaries (Bunyans)
    (1973)"Comedy Playhouse" - The Birthday
    (1973)"Armchair Theatre" - That Sinking Feeling (Father of the Groom)
    (1970)Who's Your Friend
    (1966)"Armchair Theatre"- Daughter of the House (Station Sergeant)
    (1964)"Comedy Playhouse" - Good Luck Sir, You've Got a Lucky Face (Jessop)
    (1963)"Comedy Playhouse" - Our Man in Moscow (Mortimer)
    (1962)"Comedy Playhouse" - The Channel Swimmer (Official)
    (1962)"ITV Play of the Week"- The Apple Cart (Pamphlius)
    (1961)"Armchair Theatre" - His Polyvinyl Girl (Mr. Leslie)
    (1950) BBC Sunday-Night Theatre-The Secret Sharer (Sailor)


    Radio Shows


    BBC RADIO started: 6th July 1959

    There were 8 programmes of this show. It was set in a British United Plastic LTD. The chairman and managing director was Sir Charles Bonniface played by Jimmy Edwards. He had a son called Frank played by Frank Thornton, who was also in the business. There was also a secretary called Mrs Edith Chalmers played by Gwen Cherrell.

    The Writer was: Lawrie Wyman The Producer was: Alastair Scott Johnson


    BBC RADIO started: 15th March 1966

    This was about the secretary to Her Brittanic Majesty's Embassy to the Kingdom of Tratuice. Henry Pettigrew played by Frank Thornton. He had to cope with blackmailing King Hildesrande III.

    The Writer was: Lawrie Wyman


    BBC RADIO started: 22nd December 1987

    This is about a business, where Frank Thornton plays a accountant called Russell Farrow







(Image used with kind permission from Joyce Powell who had a John Inman Tribute page at (Dead link now) with many more photos of John Inman).


Last of a Summer Wine related images:

(Images used with permission of Huddersfield Daily Examiner).

Robert with Summer Wine book co-writer Morris Bright, Frank Thornton and Peter Sallis in a break from filming Compo's funeral. It appears that Robert and Frank share the same tailor!

Image above used with permission from Robert Ross ( Taken from the official BBC book: 'Last of the Summer Wine - The Finest Wine'