1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 3 (UK)
1 9 6 7 – 1 9 6 8 (UK)
The diminutive Charlie Drake, who had a fine line in slapstick and pathos and a catch-cry of “Hello my darlings”, featured in this BBC comedy series (which followed his successful 1959 – 1960 Charlie Drake programme).
The Charlie Drake show was scripted by Drake and Richard Waring, and produced by Ronald Marsh.
It featured slapstick-style sketches and situations which brought out the pathos and genius of this much-underrated comedian.
Meanwhile, on ITV, Charlie featured in a comedy-music series (also called The Charlie Drake Show) in 1963 under producer Colin Clews with scripts by Drake and Lewis Schwarz. A very young Olivia Hussey also appeared in some of the routines.
Drake also starred in The Worker from 1965 – 1970 and then in the early ’70s had a show called Slapstick and Old Lace in which he involved viewers in singalongs and madcap sketches in a Vaudeville-style (7 x 30-minute episodes).
Charlie Drake was no stranger to accidents, but his narrowest escape was in the first of a new series entitled Bingo Madness. The plot called for Drake to be hurled through a bookcase by two villains, feign unconsciousness, fall to the floor and then be picked up and thrown out of a window.
The stunt nearly ended in tragedy as Drake really was knocked unconscious when he came through the bookcase.
It was a live show and the actors, not realise anything was amiss, carried on, picking him up and bundling him through the window.
Drake’s head crashed into a stage weight. After the initial applause, there was a hush as everyone realised something was wrong.
The director blacked out the screen as millions of people witnessed what could have been the death of Charlie Drake. He lay in a coma for days, and the rest of the series was cancelled.
Charlie Drake also enjoyed a successful career as a recording artist, releasing a number of comedy singles during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s – The most famous (and my personal favourite) being My Boomerang won’t come back.
The others were:
- Splish Splash b/w Hello my darlings (1958)
- Volare b/w Itchy twitchy feeling (1958)
- Tom Thumbs tune b/w Goggle-eyed gee (1958)
- Sea cruise b/w Starkle starkle little twink (1959)
- Naughty b/w Old Mr Shadow (1960)
- Please Mr Custer b/w Glowworm (1960)
- My boomerang won’t come back b/w She’s my girl (1961)
- Tanglefoot b/w Drake’s progress (1962)
- I bent my Assagai b/w Sweet Freddie Green (1962)
- I’ve lost the end of my yodel b/w I can cry can’t I? (1963)
- I’m too heavy for the light brigade b/w The reluctant tightrope walker(1964)
- 007 b/w Bumpanology (Bump head blues) (1964)
- Don’t trim my wick b/w Birds (1966)
- Who is Sylvia? b/w I wanna be a group (1967)
- Pudgywudgie b/w Toffee & tears (1971)
- You never know b/w I’m big enough for me (1975)