At the tender age of nineteen I attempted to enter the world described in this book. It did not turn out nice for me and after thirteen months ‘dying the death’ as a stand-up comic in the northern clubs, I came to my senses and quit the business. Four decades later, however, I still savour those tough times, and relish both the other acts I witnessed and my encounters with Eric Morecambe, Jimmy Clitheroe and even a few of the hard-nosed backroom boys paraded in this bittersweet account.
Even without this personal experience, any history of light entertainment must make disturbing reading. It is, after all, mainly about the slow decline of the great old live variety world and its replacement with – among the gold – an awful lot of extremely second-rate radio and TV shows, a