Sunday 12 February 2017

Celebrating Frankie's Centenary


As I've already mentioned here on the blog, 2017 marks a hundred years since that wonderful comedy genius Frankie Howerd was born. The actual anniversary is 6 March and I plan to bring you some special blogs celebrating Frankie's life and career. 

There was nobody quite like our Francis. From his early days of radio stardom on Variety Bandbox through some of those wonderful films he made in the 1950s to his career lows in the early 1960s, Frankie always bounced back and apart from his obvious talent, I think it's his determination to keep going that has endeared him to the British public. Frankie appeared in two brilliant Carry Ons and famously starred in Talbot Rothwell's Up Pompeii both on the small and big screen. A renowned stand up comedian, Frankie entertained generations and continues to make us laugh twenty five years after his death at the age of 75.

I think his comedy endures to this very day because it's still remarkably fresh and funny in 2017. He just doesn't date. I have several special blogs planned for early next month including an interview with Tessa Le Bars, Frankie's agent for many years who was with him until the end. I have also spoken to the talented Mark Farrelly about his adoration of Frankie and his forthcoming play, Howerd's End. I'll also be writing about why I love Frankie so much and why I think it's important he's remembered, not just on his centenary but for generations to come.

Recent conversations have highlighted the almost incredible fact that virtually no celebrations are planned to commemorate Frankie's life in this, his centenary year. I know most of his contemporaries are sadly also no longer with us, but so many of his fans are and I hope tributes are planned. I would like to think both BBC Radio 4 Extra and BBC 4 on television would share some of Frankie's best moments from their bulging archives. It would also be lovely to see some of today's comedy stars paying tribute to Frankie's legacy. 

I have already blogged a poll to find your favourite of Frankie's many film performances and I will reveal the result on 6 March. 

I hope you agree with me that Frankie's centenary should be marked, particularly by the BBC, an organisation he worked for countless times over the years. Let's hope Auntie is listening!


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