He trained as an instrument mechanic, but joined the local amateur dramatic society. During the Second World War, he was a rear gunner on a Lancaster Bomber, flying on multiple raids into Germany. After surviving a crash in which all other crew were killed, Thomas took up acting partly as a diversion from the trauma. Thomas excelled at playing quirky and sometimes seedy Welshmen. His distinctive appearance was enhanced by his protruding front teeth, which earned him the nickname "Talf The Teef".
He trained as an actor in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). For some time he acted in provincial theatres, and he began making television appearances in the late 1950s. Among his earliest television appearances were his roles in two episodes of The Avengers — A Surfeit of H2O (1965) and Look Stop Me (1968) — and with Roger Moore in The Saint (1968). He is probably best remembered for his role as Private Cheeseman, a member of the Home Guard in later episodes of Dad's Army with Alan Tilvern and Wendy Richard (1973-1974); it was hoped that his character would replace James Beck's character Private Walker when Beck died in 1973, but it did not work out. In 1975, he featured in several episodes of the first series of the BBC TV series Survivors as Tom Price. In 1979, he appeared on The Ken Dodd Laughter Show with Rita Webb and Pat Ashton. He was a regular on Ken Dodd's BBC radio comedy show.
Talfryn's few films included Andrew Sinclair's adaptation of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood (1972), with Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O'Toole. Like Burton, Talfryn Thomas had been in the original radio play. He was also seen in the cult film, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (1980) from Vivian Stanshall.
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