In London in 1910, Stan Jefferson was understudy to Charlie Chaplin in comedy impresario Fred Karno's latest production Jimmy the Fearless. Chaplin decided it wasn't up-to-scratch and pulled out, on the eve of the opening. Stan stepped into the breach. The show was a tremendous and immediate hit, and Stan Jefferson emerged as one of the great comedy talents of the twentieth century. Or Stan Laurel, as he became known: the Laurel of Laurel and Hardy.
Ken Dodd, best-known for his marathon live shows, the Diddy men and the jam-butty mines of Knotty Ash cites Stan Laurel as his inspiration for going into comedy. He says that good comedians are admired, really good comedians are revered, but great comedians like Laurel and Hardy are loved. He praises his brilliance as a clown and a creator of gags, but feels that he was financially exploited and unlucky in love.
Producer: Toby Field.