Sunday 19 November 2017

Kenneth Williams is Talking Comedy

Another little treat has surfaced on the fantabulosa BBC iPlayer. I am always missing gems like this when they are first broadcast and that's why I love the iPlayer so much. For the next month or so you can catch this wonderful show, "Talking Comedy" featuring the late, great Kenneth Williams.

Basically a clip show featuring loads of brilliant Kenneth Williams anecdotes from the archives, Talking Comedy focuses on the legion of appearances Kenneth made on BBC talk shows during his career. With the end of the Carry Ons in the late 1970s and Kenneth's decision to move away from stage work, Williams increasingly relied on BBC radio as a source of employment. He added to this with frequent turns on chat shows, becoming much more of a personality than a serious actor. 

Kenneth's diaries display a bubbling hatred of these performances as he felt he was eating away at himself and either telling the same old tales or becoming more and more outrageous in search of a laugh. I hate to think of him feeling so low but I also can't help but relish these appearances as he was a gift to the talk show and the master of the anecdote. He was quite simply never "off". 

During the 1970s and 80s he was a regular guest on the Parkinson show and also appeared regularly with the likes of Terry Wogan, Gloria Hunniford, Russell Harty and Michael Aspel. He even temporarily became the host of Wogan himself when Terry took a break in the mid-1980s. Those shows are described in more detail in the diaries and it makes for fascinating reading.

Anyway, do check out Talking Comedy on the iPlayer. You can watch it here

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