Are You Being Served? actor Frank Thornton dies aged 92

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Media caption,

Watch clips of Frank Thornton in his best known roles

Frank Thornton, who played Captain Peacock in BBC comedy Are You Being Served? has died at the age of 92.

Thornton died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Barnes, London, on Saturday, his agent David Daly said.

He also played Truly in Last of the Summer Wine and starred in comedies such as Hancock's Half Hour and The Goodies.

Thornton is survived by Beryl, his wife of 67 years, their daughter Jane and three grandchildren.

Are You Being Served? co-creator Jeremy Lloyd said he was "very sad to hear this news".

"He was a great friend and consummate performer who was the glue who really held Are You Being Served? together," he said.

"He will continue to give people enjoyment," Lloyd added.

Thornton appeared in several episodes of Steptoe and Son, which made him the most recurring actor in the series other than the main stars Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H Corbett.

In later years, he had a role in ITV soap Emmerdale as Bert Dingle.

Thornton's film credits included Carry On Screaming!, Some Will, Some Won't alongside Thora Hird, Wilfrid Brambell and Ronnie Corbett, No Sex Please, We're British and Gosford Park.

But he was best known for his role as Captain Stephen Peacock in the long-running Are You Being Served?.

With its innuendo-laden comedy, the sitcom was a huge hit.

Image caption,
Frank Thornton appeared in Last of the Summer Wine from 1997 until it ended in 2010

Ratings hit

Set in a department store, it also starred John Inman, Molly Sugden and Wendy Richard.

Thornton played the pompous store walker, who bragged about his military exploits during the war and looked down on junior staff.

Are You Being Served? ran from 1972 to 1985 and often attracted audiences of more than 20 million.

Thornton reprised the role of Captain Peacock for the spin-off show, Grace & Favour, in 1992.

His theatre credits included the West End musical Me & My Girl in 1984, for which he was nominated for an Olivier award for his role as Sir John Tremayne.

Of the original main cast of Are You Being Served?, Nicholas Smith - who played Mr Rumbold - is now the only surviving cast member.

Thornton's role in Last of the Summer Wine was another long-running character for the actor.

Arriving in the 1997 Christmas special, Thornton was brought in to play Truly of The Yard, a retired Metropolitan Police Officer, replacing original actor Brian Wilde when was struck down by shingles.

He became part of the established line-up with Bill Owen and Peter Sallis - Compo and Clegg - until 2000, when Compo died in the series following the real-life death of Owen.

Thornton remained on the show until it ended in 2010, working alongside new characters played by Owen's son Tom, Keith Clifford and Brian Murphy.

Thornton's agent David Daly said: "I have been Frank's agent since 1986 and he has been the most wonderful client as well as being a great friend. He will be sorely missed."

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