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Death's Head

Bob Monkhouse: The Last Stand, BBC4

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This is on now and it's utterly brilliant. Bob regaling a room full of comedians in 2003 with some great material and stories.

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Always loved watching this. Bob was just perfect with his timing. A real comedians comedian.

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Absolutely. I think performers in general can learn a lot from watching him. Hilarious.

 

Loved the bit where he name checked League of Gentlemen in the same breath as the Goons and Python with Reece Shearsmith sitting right there. He must have almost fainted!

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I flicked over to this out of lack of anything else on, and was so glad I did. As you said, it was brilliant but also shocking to me as I can’t believe he’s been gone so long - over 16 years now, bloody hell. Just really liked how open he was about the old famous names of his day, and his illness.

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I think he was one of the few comic from that generation that survived the rise Alternative comedy in the 80's. And people like Tim Vine owe him a huge debt.

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This was great...been on BBC4 a few times I think?

 

They seem to be doing some sort of comedy / variety season on BBC4 atm, night before last they had an amazing show about the history of Blackpool summer seasons with a pantheon of Northern club legends on, no idea what it was called but I bet it’s on iplayer if you search for Blackpool.

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41 minutes ago, ZOK said:

They seem to be doing some sort of comedy / variety season on BBC4 atm, night before last they had an amazing show about the history of Blackpool summer seasons with a pantheon of Northern club legends on, no idea what it was called but I bet it’s on iplayer if you search for Blackpool

 

Yeah I watched that, it was amazing. Cannon and Ball sold out what was it, 3000 seats I think, every night for 22 weeks. Be still my showbiz heart :wub:

 

I loved all the stories about sharing digs and getting the landladies in. Reminded me of my summer down in Worthing last year, albeit mine was marginally less glamorous!

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God I love this performance, I could watch it endlessly. I always loved Bob Monkhouse and this was him somehow at the top of his game despite his age and ill health. Comedic, tragic, fascinating, brilliant. :wub:

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5 hours ago, Death's Head said:

 

Yeah I watched that, it was amazing. Cannon and Ball sold out what was it, 3000 seats I think, every night for 22 weeks. Be still my showbiz heart :wub:

 

I loved all the stories about sharing digs and getting the landladies in. Reminded me of my summer down in Worthing last year, albeit mine was marginally less glamorous!

 

What were you doing my neck of the woods last summer? Something fun?

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I was! I was doing a Shakespeare double bill of Twelfth Night and Othello at Highdown Gardens. It was a punishing two weeks (!) rehearsal in East Worthing but I loved being down there. Can't argue with seeing the sea every morning, specially when you're a Londoner!

 

I stayed with friends so I didn't have any dodgy landlady stories personally but my mates certainly did. I was meant to be back this summer but alas the Miley Cyrus has knocked that on the head.

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16 hours ago, Art Vandelay said:

That's reminded me not to read this bloody awful article again.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2000/aug/20/features.magazine27

 

His joke about his dad only hitting him once as a child – but it was in his Volvo – makes me laugh every time I let it drift into my memory. 

You are not wrong. That is a terrible article. The journalist clearly doesn't like him but is not accomplished enough to actually ask anything meaningful. Instead she just bitches about him in a really unprofessional way. I'm surprised that even got published.

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Is that article terrible? I found it an interesting read, and it made me want to read his autobiography. 


It’s clear the journo doesn’t like him, but so what, it was written in 2000 and he hadn’t been culturally revised yet. I much prefer that kind of thing to hagiography, even when it’s obviously unfair.

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He hadn't been culturally revised because he never had to be.  He wasn't that sort of Manning-esque 70s comedian with casual racism and "a bit of blue for the dads".

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52 minutes ago, Plissken said:

He hadn't been culturally revised because he never had to be.  He wasn't that sort of Manning-esque 70s comedian with casual racism and "a bit of blue for the dads".


Indeed not. But he was universally regarded as a tired game show host by anyone under fifty, rather than the legendary gag merchant he’s regarded as today.

 

Which is why, as I stated, he’s been culturally revised.

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Yeah, that's how I remember it too. He was definitely considered past it at one point.

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Not universally at all.  He did get caught up in the 90s "sweep everything old away" that did for Radio One and Saturday night BBC TV but up until 1998, he was still doing the Lottery show which was one of the biggest on TV.

 

He was adopted by the comedy scene in that time, from Gagtag (1994) to various standup specials.  As for the "tired game show host by anyone under fifty"... did you see the list of people at that gig?  Reece Shearsmith, Mark Steel, Fiona Allen - in the aforementioned Gagtag, you had a lot of (then) up and coming standups basically sitting back and learning from the master.

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Yes, but you are taking the fact that a few comedians had eventually realised there was more to him than his universally accepted image of the time, and imagining that’s how he was perceived culturally, which means in the common culture.
 

‘The comedy scene’ is not the UK, it’s the comedy scene. A bit silly to argue otherwise, but crack on if you’re bored I guess.

 

 

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Well, we could look into what he was actually doing, what everyone else was actually doing, the shows he was doing and how he was managing to stay relevant and popular during a time when most culture was turning over the old and in search of the new, or you could just be a twat.

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Alright then Plissken! :lol:


I hereby rescind all memory of living through the time period specified, and am forced to admit that the journalist in question must have been writing an article based on a purposeful ignorance of Bob Monkhouse’s then current place in contemporary culture, rather than simply reflecting the times.
 

I hope you can relax now.

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Thought this would be a good place to put this genuinely unique look at Bob Monkhouse' obsession with taping the telly: 

 

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We watched the Jonathan Creek he featured in recently. An altogether overwhelmingly 90s experience, but he was really good playing it straight. 

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9 hours ago, ZOK said:

Is that article terrible? I found it an interesting read, and it made me want to read his autobiography. 


It’s clear the journo doesn’t like him, but so what, it was written in 2000 and he hadn’t been culturally revised yet. I much prefer that kind of thing to hagiography, even when it’s obviously unfair.


Really? Monkhouse’s synonymity with smoother-than-smooth light entertaining is one thing but the article is one ad hominem snipe after another. Play the ball, not the player, you know? It makes for really uncomfortable reading, I don’t see what bearing it has on the latter-day reappraisal and recognition of his dedication to his craft, which is undeniable. I do completely understand that he and his contemporaries went badly out of style for 20 or so years but surely now with the benefit of time and distance we can look a bit more objectively at what it was that made Bob Monkhouse such a huge success. 

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Well obviously we can @Popo, which is why people recognise him as brilliant. But the article being referred to was written twenty years ago, so it does not benefit from that same objectivity. 

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The Last Stand was filmed in 2003 and that was 17 years ago. ;)

 

His reputation as a professional was probably restored around the millennium or slightly before, which would have been about 20 years since comedy in the traditional sense had been deposed (rightly) in the 80s. 
 

I do get that he had a reputation for insincerity, though I don’t think I did or do believe that, but in any case the article is a stinker and out of step with the times even for when it was written. 

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Yes, it was filmed in 2003, but the programme we are talking about, when it was actually broadcast, was made in 2016. Can you imagine why that might be?

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