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And I think to myself, what a wonderful 60-year career ; ON SONG: VETERAN ACTOR RELEASES SINGLE TO MARK ANNIVERSARY

September 19, 2013

YellowBrix

Bill Maynard - known for TV hits such as Heartbeat and Oh No, It''s Selwyn Froggitt - is celebrating his six decades on the small screen by releasing a single at the age of 84.

The veteran star has recorded a version of What A Wonderful World, which he released on iTunes last week to coincide with the 60th anniversary of his first TV appearance - or so he thought.

As it turns out, a bit of memory miscalculation from Bill - backed up by a Radio Times of the day - revealed the actual anniversary is today.

He made his first TV appearance in the BBC's Face The Music on September 19, 1953, although he began performing even earlier.

Bill, who has also clocked up appearances in Carry On movies and comedy series The Gaffer, has made a number of recordings over the years.

He even entered the 1957 Song for Europe - the forerunner of the Eurovision Song Contest - coming fourth in a line-up of some of the country's best singers of the day with big band number Don't Cry Little Doll.

He said: I have been making music for many years and I thought What A Wonderful World was a great way to put into words how lucky I feel to have been working in television for 60 years.

I made a mistake about the date though. I thought it was the 12th, but a copy of the Radio Times from September 19th, 1953 proves I was wrong.

Making people laugh and smile brings me a lot of personal satisfaction.

I am delighted to be still in the entertainment industry doing what I love most, 76 years after I began my career. I have had an amazing career and I consider myself to be lucky to still have the energy and enthusiasm to take on work.

The track came about after Bill's agency sent him a backing track, and he laid down a demo at Quad Studios in Leicester. They then sent a producer to my home in Burbage, who came with all his equipment which filled my lounge, and we recorded it here about a month ago.

I speak the words of the song, a bit like Telly Savalas when he recorded 'If '. I've tried to bring every bit of my acting experience into it, making it sound like the first time I've told the story - people tell me it's very emotional and makes the hairs stand up on the back of their neck.

Now they're asking me to put together an album of the sort of songs that tell a story, such as Wonderful World, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Wandering Star and The September Song.

In the 1970s Bill was known for his role as the bumbling title character in sitcom Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt and in the 1990s he became known for his role as Greengrass in nostalgic drama Heartbeat.

Despite closing in on his 85th birthday next month, he's busier than ever.

He has been sent a TV script by stand up comic Tony Rutherford about a disabled multi-millionaire widower who becomes the target of an upper class escort agency out to scam people like him.

He is also working on a film, Broken Nation - a post-apocalyptic drama being filmed in London and Cumbria.

HAVE A LISTEN FOR YOURSELF FOR BILL'S VERSION OF A CLASSIC GO TO... leicestermercury.co.uk

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