Ian Hendry + Dick Emery Sketch – The Dick Emery Show [1976]. A Military Attache From The Russian Embassy Meets ‘Jack’ In A London Pub. Jack’s A British Naval Officer In Search Of A Spy And A Drink!

Firstly, a big thanks to Tim for sending me this video footage from Ian Hendry’s special guest appearance on The Dick Emery Show in 1976 [Season 14, Episode 2].

Picture: Ian Hendry + Dick Emery. The Dick Emery Show – Frames

The Dick Emery Show was a long-running British comedy series, based on some rather interesting and unique characters! It ran from 1963 to 1981, with 1978 being the only year that it wasn’t produced.

This video of Ian’s appearance on the show comes via an old VHS TV recording made in the 1990s, when the show had a rerun on UK Gold – a TV channel that first began broadcasting in 1992 showing repeats of classic programming, much of it from the BBC archives.

So a vintage TV show from the 1970s, recorded some years later on what is now vintage VHS home recorder technology gets a new lease of life in the digital era!

Ian plays the part of a military attache from the Russian Embassy. Dick Emery plays ‘Jack’, a naval officer eager to encounter a Russian spy in a London pub – and eager for a drink too!

Another notable actor who appears in this sketch is Patrick Newell. Educated at Taunton School, Newell completed his National Service with a fellow recruit called Michael Caine. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), alongside Albert Finney and Peter O’Toole.

More on his life and career below.

A trip back down memory lane and a reminder of one of the British comedy greats.

The Dick Emery Show [1976]

Video – Featuring Dick Emery, Ian Hendry + Patrick Newell

Stills From The Show

Picture: Patrick Newell + Dick Emery. The Dick Emery Show – Frames

Picture: Dick Emery and Ian Hendry meet in a London pub.

Picture: Dick Emery and Ian Hendry after a few vodkas.

Picture: Ian Hendry + Dick Emery. The Dick Emery Show – Frames

Dick Emery – A Short Biography

 

 

Dick Emery was a household name. The Dick Emery Show ran throughout the 60s, 70s and early 80s and I have many fond memories of watching his show. His memorable catchphrases spilt over into our daily lives when certain events seemed to mirror the words in his sketches – “Ooh, you are awful … but I like you!” is one that immediately springs to mind.

Emery’s humour is still admired by comic actors such as Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse. His influence can be seen in “The Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies” played by Kathy Burke and Harry Enfield, with their catchphrase “Ooh, young man!”, and in the performances of David Walliams and Matt Lucas in Little Britain. The “Elegant tramp” (College) bears a strong resemblance to “Sir Digby Chicken Caesar” of Mitchell and Webb.

Richard Gilbert Emery (19 February 1915 – 2 January 1983) was an English comedian and actor.[1] Beginning on radio in the 1950s, a self-titled television series ran from 1963 to 1981

Richard Gilbert Emery was born in University College Hospital, Bloomsbury, London.[4] His parents were the comedy double act Callan and Emery. They took him on tour when he was only 3 weeks old and gave him the occasional turn on the stage throughout his childhood, which was always on the move and disrupted, creating problems for the future, but at least set the scene for eventually going into show business himself. His parents split up when he was 8 and he chose to stay with his mother, who gave up show business.[5] He tried a variety of jobs before the stage: mechanic, office boy, farm hand and driving instructor.

During the Second World War he was called up to the RAF and rose to the rank of corporal. However, because of family problems, he returned to London joining the chorus line of The Merry Widow at the Majestic Theatre, London. He was recruited by Ralph Reader into the RAF Gang Show to entertain air and ground crew at bases in Great Britain.

At this time he created Vera Thin (the Forces’ Sweetheart), loosely based on Vera Lynn, later saying, “I was better in drag than combat gear”.[6] After D-Day, his unit toured forward airbases.

On leaving the RAF, he returned to the theatre as a comedian. He worked at the Windmill Theatre, though his name does not appear on the plaque commemorating the acts that played there. He toured his fledgeling act around the United Kingdom.

He also auditioned for various parts and in 1952 he starred in a role in a 15-minute Radio Luxembourg series on Saturdays at 7.00pm called Chance of a Lifetime. This was a quiz sponsored by Marshall Ward in which merchandise to the value of £30 was awarded to contestants. Other radio work around this time included several appearances on Workers’ Playtime on the BBC, a morale-boosting show that had started during the war to entertain factory workers in their canteens. Emery also made a guest appearance on the popular BBC radio programme The Goon Show, replacing regular cast member Harry Secombewhen he was absent for one episode in 1957.

During 1953 he briefly formed a double act with Charlie Drake.[7] His television debut came in 1950 on The Centre Show on the BBC. Throughout the 1950s he appeared on programmes including Round the Bend (BBC, 1955–56) and Educating Archie (ITV, 1958–59) and appeared with his friend Tony Hancock in several episodes of The Tony Hancock Show (ITV, 1956) and Hancock’s Half Hour (BBC, 1957).

He enhanced his reputation on two series with former Goon Michael BentineAfter Hours (ITV, 1958–59) and It’s a Square World (BBC, 1960–64). His role as Private Chubby Catchpole in the final series of The Army Game (ITV 1960) led to an exclusive BBC contract, and the long-running The Dick Emery Show(BBC, 1963–81) began.

The show involved Emery dressing up as various characters, “a flamboyant cast of comic grotesques”. These included the buck-toothed Church of England vicar, sex-starved, menopausal, man-eating spinster Hetty, and Clarence, an outrageously camp man who coined the catchphrase “Hello Honky Tonks”.

 

Other roles were gormless denim-clad bovver boy Gaylord (in a double act with his long-suffering father, played by several actors[8] including Roy Kinnear) where, each week, he would mess up and utter the catchphrase “Dad, I fink I got it wrong again”, the crusty pensioner James Maynard Kitchener Lampwick, College (a genteel tramp whose real name was Lancelot Orpington Penrose) and Mandy, a busty peroxide blonde whose catchphrase, “Ooh, you are awful … but I like you!” (given in response to a seemingly innocent remark made by her interviewer, played by Gordon Clyde, but perceived by her as ribald double entendre), preceded a hefty shove on the shoulder of the interviewer, and a prompt about-turn walk-off with a leg trip. “It was clever, pure vaudeville, in a television form.” (Michael Grade).

Compilation Video – Dick Emery as Mandy “Ooh, you are awful … but I like you!”

In a sporadic film career, he made his debut in the Goons‘ The Case of the Mukkinese Battle Horn (directed by Joseph Sterling, 1954). He also played bungling bank robber Booky Binns in The Big Job (directed by Gerald Thomas, 1965) and was known for vocal talents as an array of characters including “The Nowhere Man” Jeremy Hillary Boob, the Mayor of Pepperland and Max, one of the Blue Meanies in the Beatles‘ Yellow Submarine (directed by George Dunning, 1968)

Emery appeared in films including as Shingler in The Fast Lady (1962), as Peter Sellers‘s neighbour in The Wrong Arm Of The Law, as Harry in Baby Love(1968), as Mr Bateman in Loot (1970) and Ooh… You Are Awful (1972), in which he played many of the characters he had portrayed in his TV series. The plot of this comedy centred on Emery hunting down a bank account number. The digits of the number are tattooed on the bottoms of four young women. Emery has to see the girls naked, which requires disguises. One of the women is played by Liza Goddard.

Emery also recorded several novelty records during his career, most notably “If You Love Her” which reached number 32 in 1969, and “You Are Awful” which just missed the top 40 in 1973.[9] Other singles included “A Cockney Christmas” (1962), “You’re The Only One” (1974) and “Rocking Horse Cowboy” (1979). In 1979, Emery moved to ITV for three one-hour specials before returning to the BBC in 1980 and resuming The Dick Emery Show.

By 1982, Emery was tiring of the format for his BBC series and wanted to do something different. Using a new format and character, Jewish private detective Bernie Weinstock, Emery had a new outlet – two series of comedy thrillers under the banner Emery Presents (BBC, 1982–83), Legacy of Murder[10] and Jack of Diamonds.[11]

Personal life

Emery had a very difficult childhood initially, but following the departure of his father Laurie Howe, things settled down. He was devoted to his mother for most of his life and helped support her once he was able to work. This devotion could and did cause problems in his marriages.

He was very keen on “long legs and blondes” and was often in the newspapers with beautiful women. He was in six long-term relationships, marrying five times, and also had numerous affairs throughout his life.

At the beginning of the Second World War he married Joan (sometimes known as Zelda) Sainsbury and had one son, Gilbert Richard. After the failure of that marriage, he wed Irene (Pip) Ansell but the marriage barely lasted six months. While working in summer season in 1950, at the Winter Gardens in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight, he met Iris Margaret Tully who was also in the show. At the end of the season, they returned to London and set up home together in Iris’s flat in Shaftesbury Avenue. Iris changed her name to Emery by deed poll until 1955, a year after she had given birth to his second son, Nicholas William. She and Emery married in 1955.

The marriage was a rocky one because Emery had several affairs while away on tour. He met the woman who became his fourth wife, Victoria Chambers, in the mid-1950s. He was torn between the two women, but in late 1958 he left Iris and moved to Thames Ditton in Surrey to set up home.

In 1960, however, he returned to Iris and his son and moved them to Thames Ditton, but he could never settle, and in 1962 he left Iris for Victoria. Iris divorced him in 1964. By this time, he had set up home in Esher. Vickie bore him a son Michael and a daughter Eliza. His last wife was Josephine Blake[12] to whom he was still married at the time of his death, although he had left her to live with Fay Hillier, a showgirl, 30 years his junior.

Outside show business, he enjoyed flying and held a pilot’s licence from 1961 onwards. He also liked fast cars (it was a family joke that he changed cars when the ashtrays were full) and motorcycles. He was a keen maker of scale models and was president of the Airfix Modellers’ Club. He also wrote a review feature for Meccano Magazine during 1971.

While the public took him to heart, voting him BBC TV Personality of the Year in 1972, Emery suffered from severe stage fright and low self-esteem. He underwent analysis and hypnosis and took sedatives to try to cure the problems.[13]

He had four children: Gilbert, Nicholas, Michael and Eliza,[13] and was the half-brother of actress Ann Emery.

 

Patrick Newell

Patrick David Newell (27 March 1932 – 22 July 1988)[1] was a British actor, known for his large size.

He was educated at Taunton School and completed his National Service, where a fellow recruit was Michael Caine, before training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), alongside Albert Finney and Peter O’Toole.[2]

Newell began to be seen frequently on TV, usually cast as a fat villain or in comic roles. Given his rotund appearance and the ability for playing slightly stuffy types, he was a natural stooge in several comedy shows, first for Arthur Askey, in Arthur’s Treasured Volumes (ATV, 1960), then for Jimmy Edwards in Faces of Jim (BBC, 1962), with Ronnie Barker also supporting.[3]

He was originally cast as one of the inept recruits in the first of the Carry On films, 1958’s Carry On Sergeant but, according to producer Peter Rogers, Newell turned up on the first day of filming, only to recognise the real-life sergeant hired to drill the cast as the one who’d made his life hell in the Army. He then, so Rogers claims, got into his Rolls-Royce, drove off and was never seen again.[2]

In an interview with TV Times, in 1968, he claimed to have gained weight as a deliberate attempt to boost his career, marking him out for some niche roles.[4] In Who’s Who on Television in the late 1970s, Newell described himself as “Actor with a weight problem—the more he diets, the less work he seems to get.”

His most notable role was as “Mother“, the spymaster in The Avengers.[2] He had previously appeared in two earlier Avengers episodes: “The Town of No Return” (Diana Rigg‘s debut) and, as a Minister of the Crown, in series five’s “Something Nasty in the Nursery”.

Other cult television appearances included roles in MaigretThe Persuaders!Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), the Doctor Who story “The Android Invasion“, The Young Ones and Kinvig.

Newell played Inspector Lestrade in the 1980 TV series, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, made in Poland.[5] He also turned up as a Playboy Bunny in one of the Benny Hill comedy specials. Film appearances include the Gluttony segment of The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971).

In 1984, he landed a more significant role, as Sutton/Blessington in ITV’s well-received The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes production of “The Adventure of the Resident Patient“, alongside Jeremy Brett.

Ian Hendry + Tommy Cooper – Cooper [1976]

Ian Hendry appeared as a special guest on other comedy shows in the 1970s.  The sketch below has Ian playing a policeman and Tommy Cooper playing drunk!

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: ‘Send in the Clowns – The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry’ by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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