Derek Griffiths (born 15 July 1946) is a British actor who appeared in numerous British children's television series in the 1960s to present and has more recently played parts in TV drama.
Griffiths was known in his early years for his Play School appearances alongside the likes of Chloe Ashcroft, Johnny Ball and Brian Cant. A talented multi-instrumentalist, he voiced over and sang the theme tune to Heads and Tails, a series of short animal films for children produced by BBC Television, and also sang and played the theme tune to the cartoon Bod. Another children's TV role was in Granada Television's early 1980s series Film Fun, in which he played the entire staff of a cinema (the manager, the commissionaire (with the catchphrase "Get on with it!!"), the projectionist, the usherette and also himself) while also showing cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. He appeared on Crown Court (1973) as an accused fraudster Raoul Lapointe, from the Belgian Congo. In 1975, Griffiths played Ko-Ko in The Black Mikado at London's Cambridge Theatre. He was also the English voice of SuperTed (SuperTed was originally made in Welsh).
In 1997, Griffiths originated the role of Lumière in the original West End production of Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion Theatre and played the role of the Child Catcher in the West End run of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.
In 2014, Derek Griffiths was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge of Merit award. This was in acknowledgement of his unique contribution to music.
Children's TV work
- Play School (1971–81)
- Play Away (1971)
- Cabbages and Kings (1972)
- Various Look and Read stories as singer, including:
- "Cloud Burst" (1974) as singer.
- "The King's Dragon" (1977) as singer.
- "Sky Hunter" (1978) as singer.
- "The Boy From Space" (1980) as singer.
- "Dark Towers" (1981) as singer.
- "Fair ground!" (1983) as singer.
- "Geordie Racer" (1988) as singer.
- "Through The Dragon's Eye" (1989) as singer.
- "Earth Warp" (1994) as voiceover.
- "Watch It!" (1980–83) regular continuity announcer on children's ITV segment for Yorkshire Television.
- Bod (1975) where he composed the theme music for each of the main five characters.
- "Ring-a-Ding!" (1975) stories & singer
- "Heads and Tails" (1978) as voiceover and singer.
- Dinosaurs: Fun, Fact and Fantasy (1982) as the voice of Dil the Crocodile.
- SuperTed (1983-1985) as the voice of SuperTed.
- The Further Adventures of SuperTed (1989) as the voice of SuperTed in the UK version.
- Muzzy in Gondoland (1986) as the voice of Bob and Corvax.
- King Greenfingers (1989) as narrator.
- The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends (1993) as Simpkin in animated short stories based on the popular book series.
- Christopher Crocodile (1993) as narrator.
- Mio Mao (2005) as the narrator and all of the characters in the UK dub.
- Film Fun
- Little Red Tractor (2004) as the voices of Mr Jones and Walter
- Animal Antics (1997) as narrator.
- "Sarah & Duck" (2014) Series 2 Episode 3: Cloud Tower as Cloud Captain
Comedy TV work
- Please Sir! (1968)
- Till Death Us Do Part (1972 Christmas Special)
- The Cobblers of Umbridge (1973) as The people of Umbridge.
- Marty Back Together Again (1974)
- Don't Drink the Water (1974) as Carlos.
- Battle of the Sexes (1976)
- Hi, Summer! (1977)
- Terry and June (1985) as the Prince.
- The Funny Side (1985)
- Porkpie (1995) as Benji.
- The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (2012) as Pusweasel.
- Way to Go (2013) as Elroy.
- Man Down, Series 4 Episode 5 (2017), as Blind Jim
Other TV work
- Crown Court (1973) as Raoul Lapointe.
- Don't ask me! (1974)
- Casualty (1999) as Duke Baines.
- Holby City as Greg Martin (2004) and Ted O'Connor (2011).
- Doctors broadcast 15 May 2015, as shopkeeper Renton Miles.
- Silent Witness "River's Edge" broadcast 2 February 2016, as DS Malcolm Guillam.
- Coronation Street 2016-2017, as retired mechanic Freddie.
- Derek Griffiths appears in This Is Your Life
- Up Pompeii! (1971) as Steam Slave
- Up the Chastity Belt (1971) as Saladin
- Up the Front (1972) as El Puncturo
- Rentadick (1972) as Henson
- The Alf Garnett Saga (1972) as Rex
- Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! (1973) as Johnny
- All I Want Is You... and You... and You... (1974) as Taxi Driver
- Are You Being Served? (1977) as the Emir
- The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977) as Bus Conductor
- Watership Down (1978) as Voice of Vervain and Chervil
- Rising Damp (1980) as Alec
- Fierce Creatures (1997) as Gerry Ungulates
- Run for Your Wife (2012) as Actor on Swing
- Gallowwalkers (2012) as Mosca
In the theatre, Griffiths has been particularly associated with the Royal Exchange, Manchester. His roles include:
- Ko-Ko, The Black Mikado adapted from Gilbert & Sullivan. Directed by Braham Murray at the Cambridge Theatre, London (1975).
- Dick Whittington by Derek Griffiths. World premiere directed by Derek Griffiths at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1977).
- Athos, The Three Musketeers by Braham Murray and Derek Griffiths. World premiere directed by Braham Murray at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1979).
- Frontignac, Have you anything to declare? by Maurice Hennequin. British premiere directed by Braham Murray for the Royal Exchange, Manchester at the Roundhouse, London (1980).
- Rick, The Nerd by Larry Shue. European premiere directed by Braham Murray at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1982).
- Khlestakov, The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol. Directed by Braham Murray at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1983).
- The bluebird of unhappiness by Woody Allen. Directed by Braham Murray at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1987).
- Feste, Twelfth Night. Directed by Braham Murray at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1988).
- Oscar, The Odd Couple by Neil Simon. Directed by Ronald Harwood at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1989).
- Sergeant Kite, The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar. Directed by Braham Murray at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1992).
- Feste, Twelfth Night at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (1994) and the Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne (1994).
- Sebastien, Nude With Violin by Noël Coward. Directed by Marianne Elliott at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1999).
- Truscott, Loot by Joe Orton. Directed by Braham Murray at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (2001).
- Harpagon, The Miser by Moliere. Directed by Helena Kaut-Howson at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (2009).
- Lumiére "Beauty and the Beast" Dominion Theatre (1994)
- Rev. Tooker, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2009).
- The Engineer. Miss Saigon (1990's)
- "Sir Bob Geldof to be honoured by Gold Badge Awards - M Magazine". 10 September 2014.
- "Coronation Street: Derek Griffiths to leave soap". BBC.com. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- Animal antics on Channel 5 web site (retrieved 19 January 2013). Archived 4 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Man Down Episode Guide, accessed 22 November 2017
- "Derek Griffiths". 27 October 2009.
- Murray, Braham (2007). The worst it can be is a disaster. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 978-0-7136-8490-2.
- The Royal Exchange Theatre Company Words & Pictures 1976-1998, ISBN 0-9512017-1-9.