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John Junkin Life story

John Francis Junkin was a British actor and scriptwriter who had a long career in radio, television and film, specialising in comedy.

John Francis Junkin (29 January 1930 – 7 March 2006) was a British actor and scriptwriter who had a long career in radio, television and film, specialising in comedy.

Life and work

Born in Ealing, Middlesex, the son of a policeman, he and his parents subsequently moved to Forest Gate so that he could attend St Bonaventure's Catholic School there, before qualifying as a teacher at St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill. He worked as a primary school teacher in the East End for three years before becoming a professional actor and scriptwriter.In 1960 Junkin joined Joan Littlewood's Stratford East Theatre Workshop and played the lead in the original production of Sparrers Can't Sing. A few years later he joined the Royal Court Theatre company and was the foil to Tony Hancock in some of Hancock's last work for British television. He played a diverse range of roles on the small screen; however, he is best remembered for his comedy roles and his appearances as a television quiz master. Worldwide filmgoers will remember him best for playing "Shake", the assistant to Norman Rossington, in the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night. In comedy roles, Junkin was rarely short of work, on account of his ability to play the stony-faced symbol of low level, petty-minded and unquestioning authority, whether the army sergeant, police constable or site foreman.

One of his rare leading roles was in the BBC series The Rough with the Smooth, in which he and Tim Brooke-Taylor played comedy writers (with both actors contributing scripts to the series as well). He also hosted his own afternoon television series in the mid-1970s. Titled simply Junkin, it was produced by Southern Television for the ITV network.Junkin has an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the voice of "Mr Shifter", one of the chimps in the PG Tips tea advertisement, the longest-running series of commercials on television.With Barry Cryer Junkin wrote for Morecambe and Wise from 1978 to 1983 as well as two Christmas special in 1972 and 1976.Junkin lived in Wendover, Buckinghamshire. He married public relations executive Jenny Claybourn in 1977 and had one daughter, Annabel. He and his wife separated in 1992. He died from lung cancer on 7 March 2006 in the Florence Nightingale House, Aylesbury, several miles from his home. A heavy smoker, he had also been suffering from emphysema and asthma. His life and work were honoured at the British Academy Television Awards in 2006.

Acting credits



Floggit's featuring Gert and Daisy

Radio Caroline first voice of the test transmissions in March 1964

Hello, Cheeky! with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Barry Cryer

Just a Minute as an occasional guest

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue

Junkin's Jokers


Winning Widows (1962, 1 episode)

Doctor Finlay's Casebook Series 1 episode 6 'Cough Mixture' 1962 – Dougal Todd

Hancock (1963, 1 episode) – Jerry Spring

The Plane Makers, drama series set in an aircraft factory, (1963) – Dusty Miller

The Avengers (1963–1967) – Sergeant / Sheriff

The Blackpool Show (1966 series with Tony Hancock). – Himself

Further Adventures of Lucky Jim (1967) –

Sam and Janet (1967) ITV 2 series Sitcom with Joan Sims (1)and Vivienne Martin (2)

Marty, a comedy television series with Marty Feldman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Roland MacLeod. (1968–69) – Various characters

The Goodies (1972) – Police Sergeant

The Shadow of the Tower (1972) – Master John

Looking For Clancy (1975) – Jim Clancy

Lord Peter Wimsey: "Five Red Herrings" (1975) – Mr. Alcock

Out (1978) – Ralph Veneker

The Sweeney (1978) – Taxi Yard Proprietor

Only When I Laugh (1979) – Landlord

Odd One Out (1982) – Himself – Voiceover (voice)

The Professionals (1983) – Hollis

Crosswits (1985, quiz panelist)

Ask No Questions (1986)

Picking Up The Pieces (1988) – Vinny

Mr. Bean (1990) – The Maitre D'

Inspector Morse (1992) – Chief Inspector Holroyd

The Thing About Vince (2000) – Frankie

The Sins (2000) – Archie Rogers

McCready and Daughter (2001)

Coronation Street (1981) – Bill Fielding (a short-lived boyfriend of Elsie Tanner)

EastEnders (2001–2002) – Ernie Johnson


External links

John Junkin at IMDb

John Junkin: reminiscences of making A Hard Days' Night


John Junkin Photos

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