My First Job: Actor Christopher Timothy

PUBLISHED: 14:25 08 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:00 20 February 2013

My First Job: Actor Christopher Timothy

My First Job: Actor Christopher Timothy

Chichester-based actor Christopher Timothy, star of All Creatures Great and Small, shares the story of his first job. Picture by Annie Timothy

As the star of All Creatures Great and Small, Chichester-based actor Christopher Timothy was one of the best-known faces on British television. But by his own admission, he was a poor student at Shrewsbury Grammar and left with just one O Level.

I was idle and lazy, and just sat in class looking out of the window dreaming about being James Dean, he says. The headmaster despaired. My report at the end said something like: He remains unreliable and has done little work.

I went to work as a trainee salesman at Frank Newtons, a gents outfitters in Shrewsbury, and remained there for three years.

This was the late Fifties, but even then it was an old-fashioned store. Everything was kept in drawers and brought out when a customer wanted to look at something. Service was paramount and it was your job to make the customer feel important, which is just how it should be.

He admits he might have worked there indefinitely, had it not been for his absentee father, who, after quitting his marriage before Christopher was born, went on to find fame as the straight-man announcer on The Goon Show.

He rang me out of the blue and said: Do you want to work in a shop all your life? I said: No, I want to be an actor. And he said: Why dont we do something about it then? So in the summer of 1958, I stayed with him in London and he introduced me to a lot of drama people.

Christopher was on his way, though he never forgot his humble beginnings in the gents outfitters.

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