1 9 7 2 – 1 9 7 3 (UK)
13 x 30 minute episodes
Shut That Door featured Larry Grayson in his first starring vehicle (after making waves on the show Saturday Variety), produced and directed by Colin “Flash” Clews.
His guests on the show included Leslie Crowther, Les Dawson, author Margaret Powell, Diana Dors, ventriloquist Arthur Worsley, Linda Grant, magician David Nixon, Leslie Sarony, Bob Lackman, stuntman Nosher Powell, Dudley Moore, Max Bygraves, The Kaye Sisters, Max Wall, Des O’Connor, Tommy Platt, Tessie O’Shea, racing driver Graham Hill, Johnny Hackett, actress Sheila Bernette and comedienne Joan Turner. Jack Parnell and his Orchestra provided the musical accompaniment for all 13 shows.
With his camp mannerisms well to the fore and much talk of invented characters like Slack Alice and Everard, Grayson asked viewers to “make yourself at home for a gay evening . . . pull up a chair and let’s unwrap that surprise package . . . with everyone doing their own thing”.
Larry Grayson was born William White in 1923 to unmarried parents and adopted into a coal mining family in Nuneaton. He knew his birth mother only as Aunt Ethel until he was eight. His adoptive mother died when he was six, and he was bought up by his two adoptive sisters.
He started performing at school for the other children and charged them cigarette cards to see his act. When he was ten, a teacher spotted him impersonating Katharine Hepburn during class. Grayson thought he was in for the strap, but the teacher was laughing so much he let him off.
By 14 he was working under the name of Billy Breen as a supporting drag act on the comedy club circuit, and over the next thirty years, he toured Britain with various male revues and drag shows.
In 1968 he began as compere of the celebrated Gaiety Box Review at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. By this time he was getting regular spots on television variety shows, talking about the lives and adventures of his creations Everard and Slack Alice.
In 1972 he was voted Show Business Personality of the Year.
Larry Grayson passed away in 1995, aged 71.