William Franklyn

A profile of the actor William Franklyn
William Franklyn, star of stage, television, cinema and radio, died in 2006 from prostate cancer. William Franklyn will be remembered by many for his work on the iconic Schweppes television commercials ("Schh...you know who"). William, who was 81 lived in Putney, London.

William Leo Franklyn was born in London on September 22 1925, the son of Leo Franklyn and Mary Rigby, both of whom were also actors. William spent his early years in Australia and his father had wanted the young William to become a journalist. Following service as a paratrooper in the Second World War, William Franklyn returned to civilian life. His first work as an actor was in the comedy Arsenic and Old Lace on the pier at Southend. Leo Franklyn saw his son's performances and changed his mind about the career in journalism and suggested that William should indeed pursue his acting career.

William Franklyn's long career involved work in television, radio, films and theatre. His television credits include the popular 1960s spy series Top Secret, in which he played Peter Dallas. Master Spy, the ITV espionage game show with co-host Jenny Lee-Wright as Miss Moneypacker, and Paradise Island, in which he played an entertainments officer onboard a cruise ship.

William Franklyn also performed in several West End comedies. He
also worked on radio; as a reader on the BBC Radio 4 panel game Quote, Unquote and in 2004 to 2005 was the voice of The Book in BBC Radio 4's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. William Franklyn also stars as Sexton Blake in a 1967 radio series produced by Alistair Scott-Johnston for BBC Radio 4 which aired on Thursday evenings at 7 pm.

Mr Franklyn's hobbies included cricket, a sport to which he was devoted. He was twice married; firstly in 1952 to the actor Margo Johns, they had one daughter, the actor Sabina Franklyn. His second wife also in the acting profession was Susanna Carroll, with whom he had two daughters, Melissa Franklyn, also an actor, and Francesca Franklyn a film producer.

Following our initial telephone contact with William, we received a letter from him which mentioned his 1960s series Top Secret of which he had fond memories. However, the letter did not reach us by the conventional route; i.e. a delivery by the friendly regular postman.  The aforementioned letter had evidently been delivered to the wrong address, whose occupants had opened and read the contents and seeing the words 'Top Secret', thought it must be a matter of 'National Security'!  The letter eventually reached us, delivered by the friendly local constabulary in a police car!

Following some telephone conversations, William kindly invited us to his London home to record an interview, but he was called upon to do some voice-over work at the last minute and so the meeting was postponed. Before another date could be arranged, Mr Franklyn sadly passed away.

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