Friday, March 30, 2018

When Bill Maynard finished fourth in a parliamentary by-election

Earlier in the week I learnt an interesting fact about Bill Maynard and thought of writing a blog post about him.

And now he has died. It's Bob Appleyard all over again.

The interesting fact was that Maynard had played the baker in the famous Hovis television commercial. (Despite the Northern vibe, it was filmed on in Dorset - on Gold Hill in Shaftesbury to be precise.)

But there are many more interesting facts, some of them confirmed in an interview he gave to Harborough FM. He was well into his anecdotage, but we do learn that he did a lot of straight acting as a younger man.

From a local point of view, Maynard was born Walter Williams in Surrey. His family soon moved to Leicestershire, and he grew up in poverty in South Wigston and won a scholarship to Kibworth Grammar School.

I recall reading once that he had a job with R. & W. Symington, the Market Harborough corsetmakers, before he went into show business full time, but I cannot find a source to confirm that. His Guardian obituary confirms he was in the rag trade though.

But let's go national with three top Bill Maynard facts:
  • In 1957 he finished fourth in A Song for Europe, the British eliminator to choose our entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. You can hear him on Youtube. His son led the band Ryder who represented Britain in 1986 and came seventh.
  • In 1984 he stood in the Chesterfield by-election as an Independent Labour candidate to protest against the candidacy of Tony Benn. He finished fourth with 1355 votes in what was then a record field of 12 candidates.
  • In 1989 he married Tonia Bern, the widow of Donald Campbell. Campbell had died in 1967 when his craft Bluebird crashed on Coniston Water as he tried to break the world water speed record.

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