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"Shut that door" - Larry Grayson remembered

Category: West Midlands TV

Date: 17.02.2005
Printable version

Inside Out, BBC ONE West Midlands, 7.30pm, Monday 21 February

Camp comic genius Larry Grayson still has no memorial in his home town of Nuneaton.

Inside Out finds out whether it is a lack of public support or prejudice that has prevented a physical celebration to one of the nation's favourite comics.

While most of us remember him as the King of Saturday Night, this was not always the case.

It was Larry himself who said that he had to work for 40 years to become an overnight success.

It all started at Fife Street Working Men's Club in Nuneaton. It was here in 1948 that Larry appeared as Billy Breen.

From a drag artist working the club circuit Larry transformed himself into an icon of British television comedy.

He is best remembered for hosting BBC ONE's The Generation Game. 18 million viewers regularly tuned in for their fill of Larry, cuddly toys and that famous conveyor belt.

He formed a new double act, this time with glamorous Scottish assistant Isla St Clair: "I found him flamboyant and extrovert. You've got this guy who's a camp comic, almost effeminate, and I'm this down-to-earth, practical girl-next-door type and one balanced the other."

But despite all his fame, no statue or plaque has ever been made to celebrate and remember Larry.

His nephew, Michael Malyon, believes that prejudice has prevented any such memorial: "It's been suggested to have a statue to Larry in Nuneaton. The problem is some years ago when Larry was alive, it was suggested in a council meeting that they would name something after Larry for the way he'd put Nuneaton on the map.

"Apparently, someone stood up and said they didn't think they should be associated with someone of that ilk.

"It was relayed back to Larry and it hurt [him]. And he said to me, 'You must make sure, Michael, that after I'm gone there's no statue to me. If that's what they think about me when I'm alive, then they can forget it.'

"Personally I'd love to see it."

In 1995, Larry Grayson died aged 71. Ten years on the only tribute to him is his gravestone and people's memories.

Notes to Editors

Larry Grayson was born William White. Born illegitimately he was put up for adoption and arrived in Nuneaton only 10 days after his birth.

Adopted by a mining family, his mother died when he was six leaving his sisters May and Flo to raise him.

Inside Out, BBC ONE West Midlands, 7.30pm, Monday 21 February



Category: West Midlands TV

Date: 17.02.2005
Printable version


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