It’s with a heavy heart that we report the passing of Frank Windsor, who has left us at the age of 92.
Windsor starred in two different Doctor Who adventures in the 1980s. Firstly as Ranulf Fitzwilliam in 1983’s The Kings Demons and then later in 1989 as Inspector Mackenzie in Ghost Light.
Born in Staffordshire in 1928, Windsor attended Queen Mary’s Grammar School and later studied Speech Training and Drama at the Central School of Speech and Drama, which at the time was located at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
He would appear on television in a number of shows from the mid-50s. During this time, he seemed to specialise in playing historical characters, most notably in series like An Age of Kings. His big break came when he was cast in Z-Cars as Detective Sergeant John Watt. He would play the character throughout and then in its spin-offs Softly, Softly and Softly, Softly: Taskforce.
He would also star in episodes of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), The Avengers, Jack the Ripper, and Second Verdict; however, his lighter side came out in the pilot episode of the comedy series The Dustbinmen and as the Scoutmaster General in an episode of The Goodies.
In his private life, Windsor married Mary Corbett in October 1959 and the couple had two children. Tragedy struck in 1987 when one of his sons, David, was killed in a car accident at the age of 29.
But Windsor kept working and had a number of roles in television programmes like Casualty, EastEnders, A for Andromeda, Bleak House, Flying Lady, and Peak Practice. He also appeared in a number of films throughout his career, from This Sporting Life in 1963, until his final film credit in 2000, Between Two Women.
In Doctor Who, he appeared opposite Peter Davison in The King’s Demons, a two part adventure which saw the Master trying to interfere in the signing of the Magna Carta. More famous was his role in Ghost Light. Ghost Light is one of my favourite Doctor Who adventures and a large part of that is thanks to Windsor’s role as Detective Inspector Mackenzie. His lines are excellent and he has a superb chemistry with the leads, Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred, largely down to his having worked with McCoy previously. And Mackenzie’s demise at the hands of Light is as sad as it is disturbing, when he becomes the soup they serve at dinner.
In his later years, Windsor was the face of a number of life insurance adverts on television.
On 30th September 2020, Windsor passed away at his home in London and is survived by his wife Mary and his other son. When the news of his death broke his agent released this statement:
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our much-loved client, Frank Windsor, at the age of 92. As per Frank’s wishes and in keeping with Covid restrictions, there will be no funeral or memorial service, just a private cremation with his ashes being laid to rest with his beloved son David.”
Our thoughts go to his family and friends.