Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Frank Thornton RIP - minor characters.


 Captain Peacock

Frank Thornton (born Frank Thornton Ball; 15 January 1921 – 16 March 2013) was an English actor. He was known for playing Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served? and its sequel Grace & Favour (Are You Being Served Again), and as Truly in Last of the Summer Wine.

This guy was like many actors who are never great but ever present and undeniably talented within a certain sphere. I used to enjoy his upright very 'English' aura and it was obviously a requirement of a number of script writer's.

He also appeared alongside Benny Hill, Frankie Howerd, Harry Worth, Reg Varney and Spike Milligan in their comedy shows. He appeared in five episodes of Steptoe and Son during its original run from 1962 to 1965, and in 1973 appeared in the film Steptoe and Son Ride Again and that year's television Christmas special, the most recurring actor in the series other than the main stars Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H. Corbett. In 1974 he made a rare appearance in television drama, as Prince Albert in the second episode of Fall of Eagles. From 1966 to 1968 he starred in the BBC radio comedy The Embassy Lark, a spin-off of The Navy Lark.
He continued to appear in films, mostly comedies, during the 1960s and 1970s, including Carry On Screaming!, alongside Steptoe and Son star Harry H. Corbett, The Early BirdThe Bed Sitting RoomUp the Chastity BeltSome Will, Some Won't alongside Thora Hird, Wilfrid Brambell and Ronnie Corbett, and No Sex Please, We're British, as well as TV sitcom spin-off films. He also appeared, albeit uncredited, in the 1970 film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes as the one-armed doorman for the Diogenes Club.
Characterisation
Comedy sitcoms are great and they are often responsible for throwing up a star or two but the regular guys are essential. It's rather like the characters in stories. In my Steele novels the consistent people in the books, Bill and Stacey Fordyce and Ethan Small are as essential as Patrick, Naomi and Takuo. They provide the backbone in some degree that Patrick and the other superstars revolve around and can depend on. They also provide love and an emotional environment that compliments the relationships of the lead characters. When I'm writing the novels I maintain my awareness of how the minor characters will be reacting in a variety of circumstances. They are important. Example:-

 Lunar Lovegood in the Harry Potter novels is amazingly important and that comes out in the films. In a number of scenes she provides the link between Harry and the rest when everything appears to be falling apart and Harry is becoming increasingly isolated. She is also delightfully 'cookie'!

God Bless