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Last on

Tue 27 Apr 2010 11:30 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 27 April 2010

In their first ever interviews Charles Hawtrey's inner-circle share with us compelling anecdotes and memories of the Carry On star, presenting a unique insight into one of Britain's most memorable comedy actors.

Charles Hawtrey is one the most recognisable characters from the Carry On film series, but it is his hidden talents and tragic decline that this programme reveals.

Hawtrey was a man destined for stardom: a silent film actor by five, England's leading boy soprano by twelve, a self-taught classical pianist, theatrical producer, film director and prolific radio star. He eventually moved into television and found a "worldwide identity" through his twenty four Carry On roles.

However during the latter part of his career he ended up an alcoholic appearing in low-rate stage shows.

His sad decline and life before the Carry Ons is revealed by writer and broadcaster Wes Butters, who after several years of research has collected recordings with the people closest to Hawtrey and has access to unseen private papers which uncover a remarkable story.

  • Charles Hawtrey at the BBC

    Charles Hawtrey at the BBC

    Hawtrey pictured in 1953 with Ted Ray and Patricia Gilbert. From 'Rays A Laugh', broadcast weekly in the BBC Home Service.


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