Barbara Windsor Celebrates

Episodes

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Bob Monkhouse20170124

Comedy writer, comedian, actor, singer, presenter, game show host, film buff, articulate, clever, confident... Bob Monkhouse could do anything!

Bob Monkhouse began his career with his partner Denis Goodwin. They performed as a double act and wrote for Arthur Askey, Jimmy Edwards, Ted Ray, Max Miller and Bob Hope. Bob appeared in the first of the "Carry On" film series, "Carry On Sergeant" in 1958 and "Dentist in the Chair" (1961). As a game show host, Bob began in 1956 as the host of "Do You Trust Your Wife?", the British version of an American game show. He went on to host more than 30 different quiz shows on British television over the years. Bob appeared onstage in London's West End, singing and acting in the shows "The Boys From Syracuse" and Cole Porter's "Aladdin" and for years hosted TV's "The Golden Shot. In 1978, Bob was in court and was acquitted over charges of "conspiracy to defraud film companies" over his collection of old movies... Bob was an avid collector of absolutely everything! In the mid 90's, Bob's priceless collection of joke books were stolen, but to his immense relief they were eventually returned. Tragically, Bob was diagnosed with prostate cancer and passed away on the 29th December 2003. A posthumous TV ad campaign was launched warning of prostate cancer with Bob seen standing in a virtual graveyard.

New interviews will include: Barry Cryer, Denis Norden, Abigail Williams (Bob's daughter), Joe Pasquale, Jim Moir, Colin Edmonds, Russell Davies, and from the archive... Bob Monkhouse himself.

Danny La Rue20170110

Daniel Patrick Carroll began acting in female roles when he was a boy evacuated from London during the war. John Gielguld, the great classical actor saw Danny in the Navy in a female role in Singapore and recommended a professional stage career. After the war, Danny La Rue (as he was now known) built a reputation in nightclub revues alongside Barry Cryer, Ronnie Corbett, Victor Spinetti and...Barbara Windsor (Barbara and Danny became life-long friends). This led Danny to open his own highly successful Mayfair nightclub which attracted Royalty, the Underworld and the crème de la crème of show-business. Danny was a workaholic and at the height of his popularity from the 1960's to the 1980's, he regularly appeared on the West End Stage in musicals tailored for him; in his own spectacular West End Variety shows which ran for years; in Summer Season, Pantomime and on Radio, Records, TV and on the Big Screen. Danny was hit hard financially in the 1980's by unfortunate property investments and instead of taking a well-earned retirement, he was forced to work on to pay the bills, despite recurring health problems. Danny la Rue passed away in 2009.

New interviews include: Barry Cryer, Denis Norden, Richard Mawbey (Danny's hairdresser and personal assistant), Annie Galbraith (Danny's Dressmaker and personal friend), Toni Palmer, Victor Spinetti, Agent Laurie Mansfield, Russell Davies, Johnny Mans and from the Archive...Danny La Rue himself.

Dora Bryan20170117

Dora May Broadbent came from Oldham and her acting career began in pantomime when she was 12. Dora joined the Oldham Rep, changed her name to Dora Bryan and during the war, she joined ENSA in Italy to entertain British troops.

Back in post-war London, Dora began to get small dramatic roles in plays and films as "waitress-barmaid-floozy-goodtime girl" types as well as developing her scatty, comic blonde character. Roles in revue, stage musicals and major films followed including "Carry On Sergeant". Dora married the cricketer Bill Lawton and they purchased a hotel in Brighton, Clarges, which they ran for a number of years and which became quite well-known. In 1961 Dora appeared in the award-winning film "A Taste of Honey", winning the BAFTA for Best Actress.

Throughout her career Dora remained a versatile and popular stage performer, often appearing in musicals such as "Gentleman Prefer Blondes" (1962) and "Hello, Dolly!" (1966-68). She made her Broadway debut as Mrs Pierce in "Pygmalion" (1987) and other notable credits include her first Shakespearean role, Mistress Quickly in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" (1984), Mrs Hardcastle in "She Stoops to Conquer" (1985) and Carlotta Campion (singing "I'm Still Here") in the 1987 London production of "Follies".

In 1999 she made an appearance in "Dinnerladies" and in 2000 she joined the cast of "Last of the Summer Wine". In 2001 she was a guest star on "Absolutely Fabulous". Dora Bryan passed away on 23 July 2014 at the age of 91.

New interviews include: Paul O'Grady, Sons William and Daniel Lawton, Richard Mawbey, Agent Barry Burnett, Russell Davies, Johnny Mans, "Last Of The Summer Wine" director Alan JW Bell and from the archive... Dora Bryan herself.

Sir Norman Wisdom20170103

Norman Wisdom fought his way up from grinding poverty to become the leading British box-office star of his generation. His series of films for The Rank Organisation from 1953 to 1966, featured his hapless character Norman Pitkin "The Gump" and broke box-office records around the world, particularly in Albania, where he is still much loved. Norman conquered America, on Broadway and in the movies and back home, his later TV appearances included "Last Of the Summer Wine" and "Coronation Street" as well as a moving dramatic role in "Going Gently", set in a cancer ward. Norman finally retired from acting at the age of 90.

New interviews include: Denis Norden, Todd Carty, Biographer Richard Dacre, "Last Of The Summer Wine" Director Alan J.W. Bell, Johnny Mans, Russell Davies, Norman's daughter Jackie and son Nick, Entela Gjika (Charge d'Affaires of the Albanian Embassy in the UK), Bob Sinfield and from the archive, Sir Norman Wisdom himself.