Thursday, August 26, 2010

The star of the him

Finally got around to watching both those Unforgettable... programmes on Jeremy Beadle and Bob Monkhouse this week.

What do you think of when you hear those names? One's a beardy irritant with a withered hand and the other is a much-missed national treasure? Probably. That's what I thought. But the difference is Bob was lucky enough to be able to transcend his cheesiness, reinvent himself for a new generation and remain a comedy giant in the eyes of the public.

Poor Beadle was more or less hounded off the telly, reviled by all and not welcome on our screens at all. It was so sad, We never got a chance to see the real man and he never got a second chance to show us. Rehabilition was not an option. I wonder if people even know he's dead.

The show was most illuminating. Did you know, for example, that he put on the Bickershaw pop festival in the early Seventies? Not growing up in London, I had no idea he was an LBC radio regular which then led to his inclusion on Game For A Laugh which, like everyone else, I loved until all the good hosts left and Lee Peck turned up. And as I've said before, we don't have enough programmes featuring stools these days, especially ones in which people sit on them, laughing. There was some great archive footage.

Anyhoo, why did we all go off Beadle so much? The pranks certainly became tiresome, I didn't like him on You've Been Framed and it seemed he was on everything. But of course behind the scenes everyone loved him. I nearly cried when I saw the inscription on his gravestone - "ask my friends', the people who really knew him wouldn't hear a word against him. Turns out he was one of nicest men in showbiz, raising more than £100m for charity. And we never knew.

I'm never disliking a celebrity again...until next time.


Matthew Rudd said...

Unfortunately, it was the alternative comedy scene that blackened his name. He was the butt of every dreary joke going whether it had anything to do with him or not, and snobbishness over his popularity made the mud stick.

That "We All Hate Jeremy Beadle" song, for example, on Spitting Image was beyond all boundaries of satire. It was horseshit, and pure cruelty.

Chris Hughes said...

I think the pranks did become more charmless - in Game For A Laugh, you had things like the businessman who went to a cabaret only to find his wife up on stage, which is a great idea. Whereas in Beadle, it seemed to involve far too many cars and vans being crushed. Who wants to see that?

I love that picture of the Game For A Laugh team. There was a show that came out of absolutely nowhere and just slew everything in its path. Everyone was talking about it in the playground on Monday morning. And all of them were complete unknowns.

(Of course, it was so nearly on the BBC, with Paul Daniels, Pamela Stephenson and David Copperfield.)

Five-Centres said...

That's interesting Chris, I wonder if it would have worked as well?

The alternative comedy crowd did for a lot of our old favourites. Then Ben Elton had the gall to turn up at Ronnie Barker's funeral.

John Medd said...

And there was me thinking Elton was a big fan of The Two Ronnies.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I'm no fan of Ben Elton, but I heard him say more than once that he admired The Two Ronnies and Morecambe and Wise more than any acts from the (then) 'new wave' of comedy. I thought he was just saying it for surprise value at the time, but I now imagine he meant it.

Jeremy Beadle seems to have been a very emotionally intact bloke, who set his own priorities and got on with life regardless of what vitriol was being thrown at him by the wider media.

Suzy Norman said...

In my early twenties I worked on reception at the BBC. He was absolutely charming.

BPP said...

We, Five Centres, WE? I'll have you know I never went off The Beadle.

Or Noel Edmonds, Paul Daniels, Cannon & Ball or Russ Abbot.

I blame these BBC and ITV types who turned up after been radicalised (like these Islams) by Ben Elton and Alexis Carrington in the 'right on' '80s. Them buggers got hold of the reigns and all hell broke loose in the world of Saturday night light entertainment, the bastards.