One of Tony Haygarth’s earliest TV appearances was as the ‘Jack the lad’ milkman in Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads ? (set in the North East but with barely a Geordie accent to be heard.) Another noted comedy role was as P.C.Wilmot in 4 series of the TV series Rosie and he made over 40 appearances in Emmerdale as farmer Mick Naylor. His face became a familiar one to viewers with appearances in The Bill, New Tricks, Midsomer Murders and Sharpe. But it was for his stage work that he received the most acclaim, becoming a respected and admired actor who worked with some of the biggest names in theatre.
He was born on 4th February 1945 in Liverpool, the only child of bus conductor (George) Stanley Haygarth and his wife Mary. The couple had married early in 1943 and initially lived at Davis House, Oakfield L4 (now demolished) later moving across the road to a semi-detached house at 15A Oakfield L4, where Tony Haygarth would live until moving to London in the early 1970s. He attended the nearby All Saints Catholic Primary School and then Marlborough College. (A small privately run school which dated back to 1891; initially located in Marlborough Road Tuebrook, it re-located to Hayman’s Green, West Derby in 1946).
After leaving school in 1963 he embarked upon a variety of occupations, all marked by a similar degree of failure. He spent time as a lifeguard in Torquay, a psychiatric nurse in Sefton General Hospital, and a fire-eater in a travelling circus. Inspired by an appearance in an amateur pantomime he set his sights on a career in acting and bank-rolled by a few pounds from his father he decamped to London to seek his theatrical fortune, accompanied by friend and fellow aspiring actor, Geoffrey Hughes (later to be Eddie Yeats in Coronation Street). His first film role was not slow in coming, although the vehicle, the 1971 comedy Percy, about a penis transplant was not the most highbrow debut. However, before the decade was out he would find himself playing alongside Laurence Olivier and Frank Langella as Renbourn in Dracula. Other film roles were in McVicar  and Britannia Hospital .
By the early 1980’s he was a member of the Cottesloe company at the National Theatre, appearing in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a season of Eugene O’Neill, the world premier of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, and as a memorable Sancho Panza opposite Paul Scofield’s Don Quixote. He continued to grace the London stage, appearing in 2011 in Twelfth Night, before the onset of Alzheimer’s in 2014 sadly brought down the curtain on his career. He died on 10th March 2017.
He married theatre director Carole Winter in 1985 and although they divorced in 2013 she continued to care for him in his final years, They had two daughters, Katie and Becky.
Tony Haygarth's home from the early 1950s until he moved to London in the early 1970s.
© Liverpool Footprints