A number of the young men who made up the countless ‘Merseybeat’ groups of the 1960’s went on to pursue acting careers. Brookside’s Ron Dixon was portrayed by Vince Earl who had fronted Vince Earl & the Talismen, Geoffrey Hughes, Coronation Street’s Eddie Yates, had been in the Travellers, and Lewis Collins, Bodie in The Professionals, had been drummer with the Mojos. Another sixties band member who re-invented himself for a second show business career was Clive Hornby.
Clive William Hornby was born on 20th October 1944, the son of marine engineer William and his wife Daisy, née Brackley. At the time of his birth they were living with his mother's parents at 85 Stanley Park Avenue South L4. They then moved to 94 Bull Lane L9 and Clive lived there until the 1968 when, having married Valerie Heskett he moved to 80 Orrell Lane L9.
After attending Warbreck Secondary Modern he gained a scholarship to the Liverpool Collegiate School. After leaving school he trained as an accountant but had already been attracted to the stage, joining the Liverpool Playhouse to work behind the scenes. Along with four friends (Ray Scragg, Eddy Parry, Steve McLaren and Alan Willis) he formed a band called the Dennisons, the name coming from Dennison Street off Great Howard Street. Clive played the drums. They enjoyed a little success, getting two records into the charts. Be My Girl spent 6 weeks in the top fifty in 1963, reaching number 46. A 1964 release, Walkin’ the Dog, fared a little better, reaching number 36. Also of note was the fact that they appeared on the same bill as the Beatles on several occasions. Their third single, Nobody Like My Babe, failed to chart and in 1966 the group disbanded.
After working in the family taxi business Clive Hornby went on to train as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and by the late 1970s was beginning to gain TV roles, appearing in Minder and Get Some In. A turning point in his career came in 1980 when he was cast as Jack Sugden in the soap Emmerdale Farm (later just Emmerdale) a role he would play for 28 years.
Ill-health led to his leaving the show and he died on July 3rd 2008, aged 63. Following his divorce from his first wife from 1984 to 2000 he was married to actress Helen Weir, who had been his on-screen wife in Emmerdale.
The Hornby's home at the time of Clive's birth.
The Hornby family home at the time of Clive's birth and his home until 1968.
Clive Hornby's home after his marriage in 1968
The Dennisons, with Clive Hornby 2nd from left.
© Liverpool Footprints