Home Television Comedy Charlie Drake Show, The

Charlie Drake Show, The

1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 1 (UK)
12 x 30 minute episodes

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 In . . . programme).

The Charlie Drake Show was scripted by Drake and Richard Waring, and produced by Ronald Marsh.

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It featured slapstick-style sketches and situations which brought out the pathos and genius of this much-underrated comedian – from contending with hire purchase and insurance policies to trying to win the Premium Bonds or a few bob at the races.

Guests in the series included Patsy Rowlands, Hugh Lloyd, Bruce Seton, Frazer Hines, Pat Coombs, Frank Finlay and Sam Kydd.

Charlie Drake was no stranger to accidents, but his narrowest escape was in the first episode of the third series (Bingo Madness) which aired on 24 October 1961.

The plot called for Drake to be hurled through a bookcase, feign unconsciousness, fall to the floor and then be picked up and thrown out of a window by two villains. The stunt nearly ended in tragedy as Drake was really knocked unconscious when he was pulled through the bookcase because the shelves had been nailed in place instead of just resting loosely.

It was a live show and the other actors – not realising anything was amiss – carried on, picking him up and throwing him through the window.

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Drake’s head crashed into a stage weight. After the initial applause, there was a hush as everyone realised something was wrong.

The director rolled the credits and blacked out the screen as millions of people witnessed what could have been the death of Charlie Drake.

He was rushed to the hospital but could not be revived. His skull was fractured and he lay unconscious for three weeks.

The third series, which was scheduled for six episodes, was cancelled after the accident and Drake announced his retirement, suffering from an attack of depression and self-doubt for the first time in his life. He took up painting after his psychiatrist recommended it as a form of self-analysis, producing quite a number of canvases during his convalescence and proving to have a natural talent for abstract painting.

Charlie Drake was not seen on television for over two years.

Episodes

The Take-Over Bid | The Man Who Could Dream Winners | The Siege of Cyril Street | Love Locked Out | A Christmas Carol || The World of Charlie Frazer | Charlie the Kid | The Man Who Blew Himself Up | Jester Minute | Nine Little White Men | A Thousand and One Frights || Bingo Madness