Freddie Jones

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Freddie Jones
FreddieJonesSitting - (cropped).jpg
Jones sitting for a sculpture by Steven Whyte
Frederick Charles Jones

(1927-09-12)12 September 1927
Died9 July 2019(2019-07-09) (aged 91)
Years active1960–2018
Jennifer Heselwood
(m. 1965)
Children3, including Toby Jones

Frederick Charles Jones [1] [2] (12 September 1927 – 9 July 2019) was an English actor who had an extensive career in television, theatre and cinema productions for almost sixty years. In theatre, he was best known for originating the role of Sir in The Dresser ; in film, he was best known for his role as the showman Bytes in The Elephant Man (1980); and in television, he was best known for playing Sandy Thomas in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale from 2005 to 2018.


Early life

Jones was born in Dresden, a suburb of the town of Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, [3] the son of Ida Elizabeth (née Goodwin) and Charles Edward Jones. [2] Charles was a porcelain thrower, Ida a clerk and pub pianist. [4] [lower-alpha 1] He worked briefly at Creda, the consumer electrical goods vendors, in Longton before he joined the British Ceramic Research Association in Penkhull, where he worked for ten years. His girlfriend at the time suggested he join a drama course, after which he joined repertory theatre in Shelton, Staffordshire, and other local theatre groups. [4] [5]


Jones won a scholarship to the Rose Bruford Training College of Speech and Drama—where he shed his Midlands accent. He spent time in Lincoln rep before making his London debut in 1962 with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), performing at the Arts Theatre in Afore Night Come . [5] According to the theatre critic Michael Coveney, Jones was "immediately one of the ... [RSC's] most distinctive character actors". [5] In 1963 he played Stanley in the Harold Pinter-directed revival of The Birthday Party in 1963, [6] followed by Maxim Gorky's play Lower Depths at the Aldwych Theatre in 1964. [4] In 1964 he appeared as Cucurucu in the Peter Brook-directed production of Marat/Sade in a production that included Glenda Jackson, Ian Richardson and Patrick Magee. He reprised his role for the Broadway production, and again for the film version (1967). [4] [5]

He became more widely known to British audiences in 1968, after his appearance in the six-episode television series The Caesars , in which he played Claudius. [5] For this role, he won the award for the "World's Best Television Actor of the Year" at the 1969 Monte-Carlo Television Festival. [4] In 1970 he took the eponymous role in Charles Wood’s television film The Emergence Of Anthony Purdy Esquire Farmer’s Labourer, directed by Patrick Dromgoole for Harlech TV. Other television work included the 1995 BBC three-part adaptation of Cold Comfort Farm , the 1978 series Pennies from Heaven and the ITV children's programme The Ghosts of Motley Hall (1976–1978). [7] His cinema career developed, with support roles in the Cold War thriller Firefox playing an MI6 spy chief, and in the director David Lynch's films The Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984) and Wild at Heart (1990). [7] In the 1980s series, The District Nurse , he played the senior partner in a father-and-son medical practice in 1930s Wales, with the unrelated Nicholas Jones as his son. [8] [9]

In 1980 he appeared as Sir in Ronald Harwood's play The Dresser , first in Manchester, then transferring to the London stage; he later reprised the role on BBC Radio 4's The Monday Play in 1993. Coveney said of Jones in the role: "No subsequent performance in The Dresser – not Albert Finney in the 1983 film, nor Anthony Hopkins on television in 2015, nor Ken Stott in the West End in 2016 – matched the rumbling thunder of Jones". [5] Apart from a brief spell in 2001, Jones retired from stage work in the early 1990s. [4]

Jones played the character Sandy Thomas in ITV's Emmerdale from 2005 to 2018, when he left the programme. [10] He said he had been offered a contract extension but he declined as he felt it was the right time to move on. [11]

Jones also performed extensively in radio drama, including:

Personal life

Jones married actress Jennifer Heslewood in 1965. They had three sons, actor Toby Jones, Rupert, a director, and Casper, an actor. [20]

Jones was a Stoke City fan. [21]

Jones died on 9 July 2019 at the age of 91 in Bicester, Oxfordshire, after a short illness. [22] Following his death several of the cast members from Emmerdale paid tribute to Jones. [10] On 11 July both episodes of a double-bill of the soap were dedicated to Jones. [23]



Jones' film credits [7] [24] [25]
1967 Accident Man in Bell's Office
1967 Marat/Sade Cucurucu
1967 Far from the Madding Crowd Cainy Ball
1968 The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom Det. Sgt. Dylan
1968 Otley Philip Proudfoot
1969 Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed Professor Richter
1970 The Emergence of Anthony Purdy Esquire Farmer’s Labourer Anthony Purdy
1970 The Man Who Haunted Himself Dr. Harris, Psychiatrist
1970 Goodbye Gemini David Curry
1971 Assault Reporter
1971Horatio KnibblesGamekeeper
1971 Kidnapped Cluny
1972 Antony and Cleopatra Pompey
1972 Sitting Target MacNeil
1973 Son of Dracula The Baron
1973 The Satanic Rites of Dracula Professor Keeley
1974 Juggernaut Sidney Buckland
1974 Vampira GilmoreA.K.A Old Dracula
1975 All Creatures Great and Small CranfordTV movie
1975 Romance with a Double Bass Maestro LakeyichShort
1976 Never Too Young to Rock Mr. Rockbottom
1979 Zulu Dawn Bishop Colenso
1980 The Elephant Man Bytes
1982 Firefox Kenneth Aubrey
1982Captain StirrickMr. Leach
1983 Krull Ynyr
1983 And the Ship Sails On Orlando
1984 Firestarter Doctor Joseph Wanless
1984 The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood OrlandoTV movie
1984 Dune Thufir Hawat
1985 The Black Cauldron DallbenVoice
1985 Young Sherlock Holmes Chester Cragwitch
1986 Comrades Vicar of Tolpuddle
1987 Maschenka Podtyagin
1988 Consuming Passions Graham Chumley
1989 Erik the Viking Harald the Missionary
1990 Wild at Heart George Kovich
1990 Dark River The OfficialTV movie
1991The Last ButterflyKarl Rheinberg
1992Spies Inc.Filatov
1993 The Mystery of Edwin Drood Sapsea
1994 Prince of Jutland Bjorn
1994 The Neverending Story 3: Escape from Fantasia Mr. Coreander / Old Man of Wandering Mountain
1995 Cold Comfort Farm Adam LambsbreathTV movie
1997Seeing ThingsPrisoner ParkShort
1998 Keep in a Dry Place and Away from Children Voice overShort
1998 What Rats Won't Do Judge Foster
1998 The Life and Crimes of William Palmer Dr. Bamford
1999 My Life So Far Reverend Finlayson
2000 House! Mr. Anzani
2000Married 2 MalcolmJasper
2000 David Copperfield BarkisTV movie
2002 The Count of Monte Cristo Colonel Villefort
2002 Puckoon Sir John Meredith
2004 Ladies in Lavender Jan Pendered
2005 The Libertine Betterton
2008Caught in the ActCollingsworth Jenkins
2010Come on EileenDermot
2015By Our SelvesNarrator


Jones' television credits [7] [24]
1960Androcles and the LionChristian2 episodes
1963 Z-Cars CraigEpisode: "Pay by Results"
1963The VictoriansMaltbyEpisode: "The Ticket-of-Leave Man"
1963MaupassantBoisselEpisode: "The Inheritance"
1963, 1955 Our Man at St. Mark's Benson / George Gregory2 episodes
1964 Festival Unknown characterEpisode: "Six Characters in Search of an Author"
1964 ITV Play of the Week Arthur LoweEpisode: "Gina"
1965 The Wednesday Play TaylorEpisode: "For the West"
1966—1970 Mystery and Imagination Sweeney Todd / Vaudin / Parkes3 episodes
1967 Sword of Honour LudovicEpisode: "Officers and Gentlemen"
1967 The Avengers Basil / John SteedEpisode: "Who's Who???"
1967 The Baron LandlordEpisode: "So Dark the Night"
1967Half Hour StoryWalter BishopEpisode: "A Man Inside"
1967, 1973 Armchair Theatre Fiodor Dostoyevski / John Dolby2 episodes
1968 The Caesars Claudius5 episodes
1968 The Saint Martin GravesEpisode: "The Time to Die"
1968NanaCount Muffat5 episodes
1968 Cold Comfort Farm Urk / Dr Adolf Mudel2 episodes
1969 ITV Playhouse Wilfred EamesEpisode: "You've Made Your Bed: Now Lie in It"
1969 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) James McAllisterEpisode: "For the Girl Who Has Everything"
1970 The Importance of Anthony Purdy Esquire, Farmer’s LabourerAnthony PurdyTelevision Film
1970Sweeney ToddSweeney ToddTV film, broadcast 15 February 1970 on Thames TV, in the "Mystery and Imagination" anthology series.
1970GerminalMaheu4 episodes
1970 The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens William ShawTelevision film
1970MenaceElystan GriffithsEpisode: "The Straight and the Narrow"
1970 The Main Chance Prof. Ian AllardyceEpisode: "The Walls of Jericho"
1970—1978 BBC Play of the Month Gibbet / Uncle Vanya2 episodes
1970—1971 Jackanory Storyteller9 episodes
1971 Doctor at Large Sir Robert JoyceEpisode: "Let's Start at the Beginning"
1971 Six Dates with Barker Major Rupert YappeEpisode: "1915: Lola"
1971 Out of the Unknown LesterEpisode: "The Shattered Eye"
1971 The Misfit NitroEpisode: "On Paperback Revolutionaries"
1971The Trouble with LilianJackEpisode: "The Long Wash"
1971 For the Love of Ada David Llewellyn GriffithsEpisode: "The Admirer"
1971 Jason King Mr. QuirlyEpisode: "A Deadly Line in Digits"
1972 The Goodies Mr. SparklipegsEpisode: "Charity Bounce"
1972His and HersTom WallerEpisode: "Driving"
1972 Love and Mr Lewisham Mr. Chaffery3 episodes
1973 The Adventurer CallowayEpisode: "Mr. Calloway Is a Very Cautious Man"
1973 The Protectors RobardEpisode: "The Bodyguards"
1973Ooh La La!General IrriguaEpisode: "Kept on a String"
1973 Bowler Festival Hall ManagerEpisode: "On the Fiddle"
1973 Alice Through the Looking Glass Humpty Dumpty Television film
1973 Fall of Eagles Witte2 episodes
1974Baa Baa Black SheepUncle HarryTelevision film
1974 ITV Sunday Night Drama EthelredEpisode: "The Ceremony of Innocence"
1974 Marked Personal George Prewett2 episodes
1974 Play for Today Headmaster - 'Audience' / Joe Jones2 episodes
1975 This Week Lord LondonderryEpisode: "1844"
1975Centre PlayWalter / Tiny2 episodes
1975 A Journey to London Lord LoveruleTelevision film
1975 Thriller Arnold TullyEpisode: "A Midsummer Nightmare"
1975The Boy Dave'Old BillyTelevision film
1976 Shades of Greene LeverEpisode: "A Chance for Mr. Lever"
1976 Space: 1999 Dr. Charles LoganEpisode: "Journey to Where"
1976The Government InspectorMayor3 episodes
1976Brensham PeopleMr. ChorltonEpisode: "Master of Many Parts"
1976 Children of the Stones Dai5 episodes
1976–1978 The Ghosts of Motley Hall Sir George Uproar20 episodes
1977 Just William Sandy DickEpisode: "William and the Tramp"
1977The Galton & Simpson PlayhousePeterEpisode: "Cheers"
1977 Nicholas Nickleby Mr. Vincent Crummles2 episodes
1977 Duchess of Duke Street Professor StubbsEpisode: "Poor Catullus"
1977 Van der Valk Joop PaterEpisode: "Accidental"
1977 Target Det. Chief Supt. Neville CleggEpisode: "Carve Up"
1978 Hazell DobsonEpisode: "Hazell Settles the Accounts"
1978 The Mayor of Casterbridge Fall2 episodes
1978 The Nativity DiomedesTelevision film
1978 The Devil's Crown Bertrand de Born3 episodes
1978 Pennies From Heaven Headmaster2 episodes
1978BBC2 Play of the WeekVollardEpisode: "Renoir, My Father"
1978 The Talking Parcel ParrotVoice, Television film
1978The Dancing PrincessesKingTelevision film
1979 Strangers EffinghamEpisode: "Friends in High Places"
1979The Strange Affair of Adelaide HarrisSelwyn Raven5 episodes
1979Of Mycenae and MenMenelausTelevision short
1979 In Loving Memory Jeremiah UnsworthEpisode: "In Loving Memory"
1979 Screenplay Richard MorrisonEpisode: "The Sound of Guns"
1979Brecht and CoMember of Brecht's company / AzdakTelevision film
1979 Secret Orchards Roger Ackerley / Uncle BodgerTelevision film
1980The Greeks: A Journey in Space and Time Socrates 3 episodes
1980 Spine Chillers Reader5 episodes
1981Tiny RevolutionsProf. Jan KalinaTelevision film
1981Theatre BoxNodding DogVoice, Episode: "Marmalade Atkins in Space"
1982 Murder Is Easy Constable ReedTelevision film
1982Eleanor, First Lady of the WorldUnknown characterTelevision film
1983A Small DesperationCharlesTelevision film
1984 Travelling Man Morgan ReesEpisode: "The Watcher"
1985 The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Mr. Scruton4 episodes
1985 Bulman Victor GarforthEpisode: "Another Part of the Jungle"
1985Lost in LondonLeo PorterTelevision film
1985 Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe Squire CassTelevision film
1986, 1990 Screen Two Agejev / Ulick Uniake2 episodes
1987 The District Nurse Dr. Emlyn Isaacs12 episodes
1987 Theatre Night EngstrandEpisode: "Ghosts"
1987 Vanity Fair Sir Pitt Crawley7 episodes
1987 The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole Mr. Scruton6 episodes
1988 The Return of Sherlock Holmes Inspector BaynesEpisode: "Wisteria Lodge"
1988Room at the BottomAndre ShepherdEpisode: "The Chef"
1988 How to Be Cool Dr. Benjamin Barnard Walters3 episodes
1989 Sob Sisters Leo7 episodes
1989 Boon David TredegarEpisode: "Walking Off Air"
1990TECXSir Neil MilvertonEpisode: "A Soldier's Death"
1990 The Paper Man Sir Charles LlewellynMiniseries
1990 Hale and Pace Dr. PrattEpisode: "Season Three, Episode Three"
1990 Screenplay PoliticianEpisode: "Shoot the Revolution"
1991 Inspector Morse Harry Field SeniorEpisode: "Who Killed Harry Field?"
1992 Screen One Old SquireEpisode: "Adam Bede"
1992 On the Air Stan TailingsEpisode: "Episode 1.4"
1992True Adventures of Christopher ColumbusHerald
1993 Hotel Room Lou BocaEpisode: "Tricks"
1993 Lovejoy Arnold TapieEpisode: "Goose Bumps"
1993 The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes PedlarEpisode: "The Last Vampyre"
1993Mr. Wroe's VirginsTobias4 episodes
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Birdy SoamesEpisode: "Young Indiana Jones and the Phantom Train of Doom"
1993–2009 Heartbeat Howard Druce / Fred Braithwaite / George Woodford / Mr. Parrish4 episodes
1994 A Pinch of Snuff Dr. Gilbert HaggardTelevision film
1994 Just William Sir Giles HamptonEpisode: "William and the Great Actor"
1995 Cold Comfort Farm Adam LambsbreathTelevision film
1995Tales of Mystery and ImaginationFortunatoEpisode: "The Cask of Amontillado"
1996 No Bananas Perce2 episodes
1996 Neverwhere The Earl2 episodes
1996 The Bill Arthur GordonEpisode: "Old Codgers"
1997 Dalziel and Pascoe FrenchEpisode: "Ruling Passion"
1997Drovers' GoldMoc MorganMiniseries
1997The Temptation of Franz SchubertUnknown characterTelevision film
1998 The Life and Crimes of William Palmer Dr. BamfordTelevision film
1998 Duck Patrol CyrilEpisode: "The Spirit of the Deep"
1999 Sunburn Mr. DawsonEpisode: "Episode #1.5"
1999 The Passion George
2000 David Copperfield BarkisTelevision film
2000 The League of Gentlemen Dr. Magnus PurblindEpisode: "The League of Gentlemen Christmas Special"
2000 Casualty Henry WallowskiEpisode: "Sympathy for the Devil"
2001 Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) Carodoc EvansEpisode: "Revenge of the Bog People"
2003Broken MorningUndertakerTelevision film
2004 The Royal Sebastian Fox-Kirby2 episodes
2004 Midsomer Murders BenbowEpisode: "The Maid in Splendour"
2004 Casualty Iain RolesEpisode: "Passions and Convictions"
2005 Casanova Bragadin / Bragani2 episodes
2005–2018 Emmerdale Sandy Thomas 776 episodes (final appearance)

Notes and references


  1. Jones' description of his mother's piano playing was: "She played piano in Longton the way most people play rugby, as though she had a grudge against it." [4]

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