WILLIAMS, Leonard Arthur  [1914-1962]

I have a very clear memory of being on the Goodison Road terracing in the 1962-63 Championship Winning Season as the crowd recognised a celebrity sat in the directors’ box. Immediately the air was filled with cries of “get it down in the book” as the famous face was that of actor Leonard Williams who played the part of Sergeant Percy Twentyman in the new hit TV series Z-Cars. He was frequently heard to admonish his sidekick P.C.Sweet with these words which quickly became a catchphrase. He would have enjoyed the game as Everton ran out 5-0 winners. Sadly, he died the following Thursday, November 15th, suffering a heart attack at his London flat. He was aged just 48.

The nationwide recognition which came Williams’ way with Z-Cars illustrated how the medium of TV was dominating public life and its capacity to bring instant fame. Like many such actors his overnight fame had been years in the making.

Before Z-Cars his face was not so instantly recognisable but he had enjoyed a very full career with hundreds of TV and radio appearances plus parts in a number of prominent film comedies of the 1950’s. His screen roles included two Arthur Askey films (Ramsbottom Rides Again and The Love Match), the 1950 Ealing film The Magnet which was filmed on Merseyside, and Orders Are Orders (which was Tony Hancock’s first film appearance). He was a regular in the radio comedy series The Clitheroe Kid, playing characters Theododore Craythorpe and Harry Whittle. On TV he frequently appeared with comedian Harry Worth.

His character on Z-Cars was “loved by millions” and it seems that off screen he was also a popular and amiable man. Brian Blessed recalled him as the joker of the cast who kept everyone else amused. At the time of Williams’ death Ken Dodd, expressing his personal sadness, said “We both started at the same time. He helped me and, I hope, I was able to help him. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was a very good person to work with”.

At the time of his death Leonard Williams lived at 54 Baycliff Road L12. In the 1940’s he and his wife Imelda had lived at 80 Snaefell Avenue, moving later to a ‘prefab’ on the edge of Shiel Park, 9 Penally Way L6 (now demolished).

80 Snaefell Avenue L13

The Williams' family home c.1946

54 Baycliff Road L12

Williams' home at the time of his death in 1962.

Leonard Williams (on right)  as Sgt.  Twentyman, with actor James Ellis (Bert Lynch) and Terence Edmond (P.C. Sweet)


There is a complete episode of Z Cars on YouTube (Leonard Williams makes an appearance after 24 minutes). The Wikipedia entry is minimal. Most of the information I have found out has come from ancestry-com and newspaper searches.