There have been many features and a few radio plays about some of the comedians who performed in Variety in that far-away era. Their wit and, in some cases, genius, shines through the crackle and hiss of their recordings.
J.B.Priestley's "Lost Empires" is worth a listen if
you're interested in Variety, and so is Stan Stennett's superb "Archive Hour" on the Music Halls, entitled "Twice Nightly", broadcast around 2000.
1974 Marie Lloyd - "Don't Dilly Dally", by Dan Farson and Harry Moore.
1989 Max Miller - The Cheeky Chappie, by Dave Simpson
1990 Marie Lloyd, Queen of the Halls, by Steve Trafford.
1992 Dan Leno - "Mad Dan", by John Scotney.
1993 Frank Randle - Randle's Scandals, by Trevor Hoyle.
1994 Lost Empires, by J.B.Priestley, dram Bert Coules.
1997 Hylda Baker - She Knows, You Know, by Jean Ferguson
DON'T DILLY DALLY....1974
R4, 11.5.1974/2030, Georgia Brown/Katherine Parr/David Sinclair/Sean Barrett.
The Cheeky Chappie....1989
By Dave Simpson,11.2.1989/1945, with Joe Melia/Barbara Marten. A biographical play, very well done, about the comedian Max Miller. There'll never be another.....
After colliding with a Blackpool tram in his Lagonda, Wigan's famous rude comedian Frank Randle is admitted to hospital in Rochdale for psychiatric observation. The play traces Randle's helter-skelter career and tragic end due to drink and TB -- for which Keith Clifford won the Sony Award for best actor in the title role. 90m.
LOST EMPIRES....2004(BBC7); orig. broadcast 1994
One of BBC 7's favourite dramatists is Bert Coules and, from his wide range of radio work, his personal favourite is his three-part dramatisation of J.B. Priestley's Lost Empires. Apart from Sherlock Holmes, Bert gets more enquiries about this dramatisation than any other. Lost Empires was broadcast from Jan 20-23, 04. The novel is set in the last years of pre-World War England and follows young Richard Herncastle as he embarks on a life of adventure, joining his uncle's illusionist act on the variety stage, and awakening to the worlds of love and sex. The dramatisation has an excellent cast which includes Tom Baker (as Ganga Dun, the Maharaj of Mystery) and Bridgit Forsyth. Director: Kate Rowland.
SHE KNOWS, Y' KNOW....1997
A re-creation of the life of Hylda Baker, by Jean Ferguson, accompanied at the piano by Michael Haslam. All other parts played by David Holt. R4, 2.30pm, 31 May 97. 90m
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
Above plays known to exist in VRPCC collections
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