Ca. y.. te.. m. h.. t. ge. t. th. Ho.ida. I.. pl..s.?

Hitchin emailed me yesterday to draw my attention to this succinct one-sentence summary of the career of the late Norman Collier:

BBC: Comedian Norman Collier dies aged 87
… Collier went on to make regular appearances on television and at theatres across the UK in the 1970s and 80s, and is arguably best remembered for his act featuring an intermittently working microphone - and his chicken impression.

I don't think there's any ‘arguably’ about it.

True story: I met Norman Collier once. I was walking down the street in Liverpool, when he pulled up alongside me in a Rolls Royce (a gold-coloured Rolls Royce, if memory serves, although that might be an embellishment). He asked for directions to the Holiday Inn. I told him to turn right at the bottom of the hill, carry on till the next set of traffic lights, etc. He thanked me and sped off. It was only then that I realised I had meant to say turn left at the bottom of the hill. I've felt bad about it ever since. I also deeply regret not thinking to pretend that my microphone was broken when I was giving him directions. Oh how he would have laughed!

Jen and I saw another comic Norman once. No, not my dad; Norman Wisdom. He was waiting for a plane at the Isle of Man airport. I dared Jen to shout “MISTER GRIMSDALE!!!!” at him. Jen told me not to be so stupid.

Jen and I bumped into another comedy legend at a different airport once. No, his name wasn't Norman. That would have been too much of a co-incidence. It was Stan Boardman. He looked very hassled. Tempted as I could see she was, Jen did not seize the opportunity to shout “THE GIIIIRRRRRRRRRRMANS!” at him.

And then there was the time Irish Mick and I saw Mike Harding struggling to light a barbecue in ridiculously strong wind. You couldn't make this nonsense up.

I could go on to tell you about my close encounter with Roland Rivron at the Albert Dock in Liverpool, but I've already done that, and I'd hate to repeat myself.

How about you? Have you ever had any random encounters with comedy legends?

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. When I was about five years old I won a model of a Rolls Royce for telling a joke to Frank Carson. I think this is how he got his new material and why his jokes are so corny. I still remember the joke, it wasn't good.

    1. Which reminds me... I saw/heard Frank Carson sing the old music-hall song 'Why Does a Red Cow Give White Milk, When It Always Eats Green Grass?' with a bunch of school kids on telly once. Believe it or not, that song was written by my grandmother's half-brother, who was a semi-famous comedian in his day. He worked with the Crazy Gang, and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

    1. No, that doesn't count, I'm afraid. No comedy here.

      Which reminds me, I saw Jimmy 'Oh-ho' Tarbuck's Rolls Royce (reg. no. COM 1C - do you see what he did there?) parked at Royal Birkdale Golf Club during the Open, back in the 70s. But I don't think that counts either.

  2. The Starbuck's sign in Poole had the capital S missing. I went back a some time later to record it for posterity, but they had replaced it. Jimmy would have been impressed!

    My uncle bumped into Tommy Cooper going into a bank. Tommy let out an enormous laugh & my uncle said 'what's funny?' Tommy said 'I'm laughing all the way to to the bank!'

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *