Frank Thornton, 92; ‘Captain Peacock’ in BBC comedy

Mr. Thornton played a pompous floor manager in ‘‘Are You Being Served?’’
Associated Press/file 1992
Mr. Thornton played a pompous floor manager in ‘‘Are You Being Served?’’

LONDON — British actor Frank Thornton — best known as Captain Peacock in the long-running television comedy ‘‘Are You Being Served?’’ — has died at age 92, his agent said Monday.

The actor is best remembered by British audiences for his comic role in the innuendo-laden hit sitcom, which ran from the 1970s to 1985. He played a mustachioed, pompous floor manager who oversaw his fellow shop workers in a department store.

Mr. Thornton’s agent, David Daly, said that the actor died in his sleep in his home in London in the early hours of Saturday.


Mr. Thornton had worked in insurance after leaving school but took evening classes to become an actor.

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He took up stage acting and played in London’s West End, before serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II. In the 1950s, he began to branch into television comedy. He appeared on ‘‘The Benny Hill Show’’ and other programs. In the 1970s — with the success of ‘‘Are You Being Served?’’ — Mr. Thornton became a household name in Britain.

‘‘He was a great friend and consummate performer who was the glue who really held ‘Are You Being Served?’ together,’’ said the show’s cocreator, Jeremy Lloyd. ‘‘He will continue to give people enjoyment.’’

Later Mr. Thornton also became known for his part in another long-running television comedy series, ‘‘Last of the Summer Wine.’’ He has made appearances in dozens of movies, including ‘‘No Sex Please, We’re British’’ and more recently ‘‘Gosford Park.’’

Mr. Thornton leaves his wife, Beryl; daughter Jane; and three grandchildren.