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The death of Ian Wallace.

Eddie Mair | 15:22 UK time, Tuesday, 13 October 2009


(Ian Wallace on the left of this picture which also features Steve Race at piano and (l-r) Denis Norden, Frank Muir and John Amis during filming of 'My Music For Christmas' (transmitted 27th December 1981).)

Press Association reports:


Distinguished opera singer and long-running Radio 4 panellist Ian Wallace has died at the age of 90, it was announced today. The singer, also a celebrated raconteur, was well-known to a generation for the performance of his signature tune The Hippopotamus Song, otherwise known as Mud, Glorious Mud.

Wallace died last night at his home in Highgate, north London, after a long

Family friend Tony Halstead said: "He was an actor, singer, broadcaster and a
raconteur. He was a real all-rounder."

London-born Wallace, a bass-baritone, trained as a lawyer after being educated
at Charterhouse, but never practised. He made his operatic debut after the end
of the Second World War with the New London Opera Company.

He went on to become a regular at Glyndebourne and headed the cast, alongside
Robert Morley, in a production of Fanny at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the
late 1950s.

Wallace was also well-known for his touring show in which he would perform
musical excerpts and humorous songs, as well as material from Gilbert and
Sullivan, and Flanders and Swann.

One of his better known achievements was his extensive record of appearances on
the BBC Home Service, and then Radio 4, in the series My Music. During the
27-year duration of the programme, he did not miss a single show, notching up
more than 500 appearances as a panellist. Presenter Steve Race died earlier this

Wallace, who was awarded an OBE for his charity work, wrote two volumes of
autobiography, Promise Me You'll Sing Mud and Nothing Quite Like It - both
titles inspired by his association with the Hippopotamus Song.

He is survived by his wife Patricia."


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