1 9 6 3 – 1 9 8 5 (UK)
A lavish sketch show in which Scottish comic Stanley Baxter specialised in impersonating famous women including the Queen (“the Duchess of Brenda”). Stanley had a perfect pair of legs and made a disturbingly attractive woman!
Typical gags were surprisingly risqué for the time, and naturally enough incurred the anger of Mary Whitehouse (the true mark of something being funny).
His jokes could be hilariously cruel and he wasn’t afraid of controversy – he was the first to mimic the Queen on TV and he even impersonated the Pope.
Baxter also mocked many big stars, including Liza Minnelli (who became Liza Mimammi), Malcolm Muggeridge (as Malcolm Gibberidge) and Joan Bakewell (who was transformed into Joan Bakelite). There were also uncanny spoofs of Upstairs Downstairs.
Glaswegian Baxter cut his teeth at the city’s Citizen Theatre and made his TV debut in 1951. In 1959, he fronted the series On The Bright Side with dancers including Una Stubbs and Amanda Barrie.
Film, TV and stage offers flooded in and he got his own show on BBC1 in 1963, plus a spin-off Baxter On . . . covering subjects as diverse as travel, law and the theatre.
Baxter became even more famous when he left the BBC and switched to ITV in 1972 and he was spoken of in the same breath as Morecambe and Wise, Dick Emery and Les Dawson in the 70s and early 80s.
The Stanley Baxter Show metamorphosed into The Stanley Baxter Big Picture Show at ITV – A golden age of TV which we will never see the like of again.