John Talfryn Thomas (31 October 1922 – 4 November 1982) was a Welsh character actor, best known for supporting roles on television in the 1970s, including those of Private Cheeseman in Dad's Army (1973–1974) and Tom Price in Survivors (1975), while Thomas also appeared with Jon Pertwee in two Doctor Who serials.

Talfryn Thomas
Talfryn Thomas.jpg
Thomas as Mr Cheeseman in Dad's Army
John Talfryn Thomas

(1922-10-31)31 October 1922
Swansea, Wales
Died4 November 1982(1982-11-04) (aged 60)
Cardiff, Wales


John Talfryn Thomas was born in Swansea on 31 October 1922. He trained as an instrument mechanic but joined the local amateur dramatic society. During World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF), and was a rear gunner on a Lancaster bomber, flying on multiple raids into Germany. After surviving a crash in which all the other crew members were killed, he took up acting partly as therapy for the trauma, before training as an actor in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).[1]

For some time Thomas acted in provincial theatres. In the late 1950s, he began making television appearances,[1] and in the 1960s appeared in two episodes of The Avengers - A Surfeit of H2O (1965) and Look Stop Me (1968) - as well as with Roger Moore in The Saint (1968) and in The Persuaders! (as "The Poacher" in the episode 'A Home Of One's Own', 1971).[2] In 1973, Thomas appeared in the Seven of One episode "I'll Fly You for a Quid", appearing alongside Ronnie Barker in a community of Welsh gamblers.[3] Thomas also appeared with Jon Pertwee in the Doctor Who serials, Spearhead from Space (1970) and The Green Death (1973), and in the Worzel Gummidge episode The Scarecrow Wedding (1980).[4][5] Thomas excelled at playing quirky and sometimes seedy Welshmen. His distinctive appearance was enhanced by his protruding front teeth, which earned him the nickname 'Talf The Teef'.[6] Thomas is perhaps best remembered for his role as Mr. Cheeseman in the television series, Dad's Army (1973-1974).[7]

In 1975, Thomas appeared as Tom Price in seven episodes of the first series of the BBC TV series, Survivors, acting alongside main stars Carolyn Seymour, Ian McCulloch and Lucy Fleming, before the character of Tom was killed off in the tenth episode of the first series.[8] In 1979, Thomas appeared on The Ken Dodd Laughter Show with Rita Webb and Pat Ashton (and he was a regular on Ken Dodd's BBC radio comedy show).[9][10]

Talfryn Thomas' few films included Sky West and Crooked (1965) starring Hayley Mills, and Andrew Sinclair's adaptation of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood (1972), with Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O'Toole.[11][12] Like Burton, Talfryn Thomas had been in the BBC radio play.[13] He was also seen in Come Play with Me (1977) and the cult film, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (1980) from Vivian Stanshall.[9]

Thomas died of a heart attack on 4 November 1982, four days after his 60th birthday.

Selected television rolesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1960 The Citadel Chenkin's Henchman / Miner
1964 to 1974 Z Cars McCall / Greenough / Jake Morris
1965 The Avengers Eli Barker / 'A Surfeit of H2O'
1967 St. Ives Clausel
1968 The Saint Owen Thomas
1971 The Persuaders! The Poacher
1971 Edna, the Inebriate Woman Tramp
1971 to 1972 Coronation Street Dirty Dick
1970 Doctor WhoSpearhead from Space Mullins
1973 Doctor WhoThe Green Death Dave
1973 Seven of One – I'll Fly You for a Quid Mr Pugh
1973 to 1974 Dad's Army Private Cheeseman
1975 Survivors – 7 episodes
  • The Fourth Horseman
  • Genesis
  • Gone Away
  • Starvation
  • Spoil of War
  • Law and Order
  • The Future Hour
Tom Price
1975 Get Some In!Call-Up Corporal White
1977 Treasure Island Tom Morgan
1977 King of the Castle Vine / Vein
1979 The Ken Dodd Laughter Show Various
1980 Worzel Gummidge – The Scarecrow Wedding Soggy Boggart
1981 The Incredible Mr Tanner Cledwyn
1982 Hi-de-Hi! Gareth Davies



  1. ^ a b "Other Characters". The Dad's Army Appreciation Society. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Talfryn Thomas".
  3. ^ "I'll Fly You for a Quid (1973)". BFI.
  4. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Series Episode Guide - Cast and crew".
  5. ^ "Worzel Gummidge: The Scarecrow Wedding/Fire Drill (1980)on Pickwick (United Kingdom VHS videotape)".
  6. ^ "The Avengers Forever: Talfryn Thomas".
  7. ^ Perry, Jimmy (2 October 2011). "Dad's Army: behind the lines of a comedy classic" – via
  8. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Survivors (1975-77) Credits".
  9. ^ a b "Talfryn Thomas". BFI.
  10. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra - The Ken Dodd Show, From 07/09/1975". BBC.
  11. ^ "Sky West and Crooked".
  12. ^ "Under Milk Wood (1971) - Andrew Sinclair - Cast and Crew". AllMovie.
  13. ^ "Under Milk Wood". 3 October 1963. p. 61 – via BBC Genome.

External linksEdit