Frank Williams (actor)

Frank J Williams (born 2 July 1931)[1] is an English actor best known for playing Timothy Farthing, the vicar in the BBC comedy Dad's Army. Ian Lavender and Williams are the series' last surviving major cast members. He reprised the role of Farthing in the 2016 film adaptation of the series.[2]

Frank Williams
Williams in May 2011
Born (1931-07-02) 2 July 1931
OccupationComedy actor
Years active1953–present


Born in London, Williams was educated at Ardingly College, West Sussex, and Hendon School (then Hendon County School). He appeared regularly in the TV series The Army Game (1957–1960) as Captain Pocket. His film credits include the Norman Wisdom films The Square Peg (1958), The Bulldog Breed (1960) and A Stitch In Time (1963), together with roles in Inn for Trouble (1960), Just for Fun (1963), Hide and Seek (1964), Headline Hunters (1968), One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975), Jabberwocky (1977), What's Up Nurse! (1977), The Human Factor (1979) and Oh! Heavenly Dog (1980). He had a leading role in the BBC TV series Diary of a Young Man (1964), which was partly directed by Ken Loach, in addition to small parts in numerous TV series of the 1950s and 1960s.

It is, however, for his role in Dad's Army[3] as the vicar that Williams is best known. Coincidentally, while at Hendon County, William wrote in his memoir, he had played the lead in the school play of his final year, The Ghost Train, written nearly 30 years earlier by Arnold Ridley, who would become one of his fellow actors in Dad's Army.[4]

Williams featured with Tessie O'Shea in the short-lived sitcom As Good Cooks Go (1970). He appeared in an episode of All Gas and Gaiters as one of the vicars choral in episodes broadcast in 1967 and 1971. At the height of his Dad's Army fame, he had a cameo role in Monty Python's Flying Circus (1972), and later appeared as a record producer in the Rutles movie All You Need Is Cash (1978). He also had a recurring role as a Bishop in You Rang, M'Lord?[5]

For many years, Williams has lived in Edgware, Middlesex.[6] Until 2000, he was a lay member of the General Synod of the Church of England. He was a guest on This Morning on Thursday 31 July 2008, talking about Dad's Army with fellow cast members, Ian Lavender and Bill Pertwee. He also appeared on BBC1's Jonathan Ross Salutes Dad's Army show on Sunday 3 August 2008.[7][8]

With other surviving members of the Dad's Army cast he walked in the 100th Birthday parade for Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, whose favourite programme it had been. He is the author of several plays, including The Playing Fields and Murder Weekend, some of which have been performed in the pro-amateur theatre. His autobiography, Vicar to Dad's Army: the Frank Williams story, was published in 2002.

Williams is the patron of Veneratio, a charity established to counter the social isolation of the elderly.[9]


  1. GRO Registers of Birth: SEP 1931 1a 774 HAMPSTEAD – Frank J. Williams, mmn = Myles
  2. "Frank Williams". Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  3. Correspondent, By Nicole Martin, Digital and Media (9 July 2008). "Original cast of Dad's Army reunited". Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  4. Williams, Frank; Sidney, Chris (2003) [2002]. Vicar to Dad's Army: The Frank Williams Story. Norwich: Canterbury Press. pp. 50, 152.
  5. BBC Genome listing for 2 December 1990 episode
  6. Stephenson, David (4 May 2014). "Frank Williams reveals his excitement for the big-screen version of Dad's Army". Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  7. "Don't panic – it's our Dad's Army gallery". The Guardian. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  8. "Jonathan Ross Salutes Dad's Army (2008)". BFI. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  9. Veneratio Archived 2012-02-22 at the Wayback Machine; Retrieved 6 July 2012
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