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Tom Mennard was born in February 1918 in Leeds and his first job after leaving school was as a bus driver in Brighton. A colourful and eccentric character, he was even known to drive the bus dressed as a nun. After working in amateur theatre, he was spotted by singer Donald Peers who recommended him to the BBC and in later life he wrote and performed the Radio 4 comedy series 'Tom Mennard's Local Tales' where he told stories about a group of fictional male friends. He also worked at the Windmill Theatre in London where he met future Coronation Street co-stars Jill Summers and Bill Waddington. He also appeared on television in the 1950s in the Arthur Askey series Before Your Very Eyes. Later television programmes in which he appeared included Dad’s Army, Bergerac, Foxy Lady, Sounding Brass, Oh, Happy Band! and Open All Hours.
He first appeared in the Street as pensioner Sam Tindall in September 1985 and continued in the part until May 1989, travelling up from his Dorset home by train for the weekly rehearsals and recordings. A frequent companion on these travels was his Lhasa Apso dog, Dougal, who was eventually written into the programme as Sam’s own dog. As well as appearing in the Street, he also appeared in two episodes of the spin-off The Brothers McGregor as a Police Sergeant.