1983

BEAU GESTE…Director Douglas Camfield… Producer Barry Letts BBCTV…
We recorded this in 1982 but this was the year it hit the TV screens.


THIS IS DUGGIES DIRTY HALF DOZEN…FROM L-R BACK ROW
RED, JOHN, AITCH, BARRY…FRONT ROW…PATSY AND LES.

So the dirty half dozen think they’re off to the sands of the Sahara for six weeks to play Legionnaires. (Wrong, this is the BBC)
How about Spain? (Wrong again) (One more guess).
Dorset. (CO-RRECT)
The BBC find a huge sand quarry down in Dorset in the West Country and we all trek down there for a few weeks of filming..
A huge fort is built and everything goes to plan except one thing. It never stops raining.
Even a blue sky would have been nice now and again.
Undeterred Douglas shoots all the interior shots while it’s raining and as soon as we get a break in the clouds we’re all outside marching up and down the desert. (We finished the shoot on schedule much to our surprise)
I meet up again with Christopher Malcolm and John Challis and we spend a few nights having a swift half in the hotel bar.
On set Douglas was so in control of both cast and crew it was a great pleasure to be working for him again.
It rained so hard one day that our dining marquee got flooded out, so the dirty half dozen decided to dig some trenches to take the water out. (Douglas was filming interiors)
It worked and by the time the crew came in for their lunch it was still damp but the water was gone.
The whole shoot was a great laugh and I’m glad I was a part of it.
Douglas let me off a day early because CBTV had been on the phone saying they wanted me back the next day to do a CBTV special and could I be spared.
I had already been killed in the fort and was just laying on the look out tower.
Douglas said he’d put someone in my place. (The pipe and monkey trick)
I finished work that day about six and when I got back to the hotel there was a taxi waiting to take me to a hotel in Teddington and pick me up in the morning and convey me to the studio. (Is this star treatment or what)
On CBTV that day the star guest was Kenny Williams and I think he half knew me from the Carry On days..
A few years later I bought a house a stones throw from where Kenny was born.
Every week on CBTV would get guest stars some pop, some like Kenny.
One week we had Madness on and they helped Jim and Steve trick me into letting them into the boiler room.. As they came in I saw one of them holding their latest L.P. and as they were on camera I said ‘’Can you sign that for my boy Stewart, he’s a big fan of yours’’ They couldn’t refuse and over a period of time I got a lot of L.P.s (And they called me dopey Harry) (Not so dopey)
Bob Todd (Who worked mainly for Benny Hill) and I became mates as did Jim Davidson. The three of us would pop into the pub next to the studio and have a swift half or three..
All the cast on CBTV would wind down after a show and have a couple of pints next door then we’d head for home and see one another the next week.
Jim Davidson employed me a couple of times when he did his own shows.
Thanks Jim.
I’ve got a video tape somewhere of about fifty extracts from CBTV and other shows and I sometimes watch them and the memories come flooding back.
Moving photos my grandson calls them and asks ‘’Did you used to dye your hair Grandad?’’ (I’m very grey now)
Bob Todd told me once that Benny Hill said I was the best ad libber in the business.
I never worked with Benny.

THE FALKLANDS FACTOR…Director Colin Bucksey…BBCTV…


Here I am cast as a ruffian in this story set in the South Atlantic in 1770.
Not really a lot to do but sing a few sea shanties and get drunk. (I knew all that rehearsing with the swift halves would pay off in the end)
A huge cast and a job well done..

THE YOUNG ONES…Director Geoff Posner…Producer Paul Jackson…BBCTV…
Cast Inc…Rik Mayall…Nigel Planer…Adrian Edmondson…Christopher Ryan…
I’d known Paul Jackson for many years from the Two Ronnie’s days when he was an Assistant Stage Manager and he was such a hard worker I knew he would get on in the business. (He proved me right)
I was booked for one episode to play a uniformed cop and to enter the Young One’s flat and bust up a drink and drugs (pretend) party.
It was an easy job and I’d like to wish Paul well because the last thing I read about him he was off to run a TV station down under.
We do work again together before he goes.

CBTV…Director Stuart Hall…Thames TV…Teddington…


I’m into my second year on the show and am having great fun.
Bob Todd keeps popping in and we’re having a great laugh ad libbing the sketches..
Sometimes I’m promoted to sitting behind the interview desk and that’s very nerve racking because as you speak it’s going out to a couple of million kids.


SOMEONE SAID "TAKE THAT UGLY SLIMEY THING OUT OF THE STUDIO AND TAKE THE SNAKE AS WELL." (People can hurt your feelings)

My character (Harry the Gateman) was getting dafter every week but the kids loved it. I was now getting fan mail asking me ‘’Why are you so thick’’.
‘’Let me be on the gate with you and I’ll help you stop them getting into the studio every week’’ (Bless).
Another presenter joined us for a while.
Gigi Garner (Daughter of James) and she was great fun to work with but after a while she went back to the USA. (I wish you well)
Les Dennis came for an audition as a presenter and I was surprised he never got the job but he went on to other things and became a millionaire.
We used to get all the top bands of the day on the show but I was still living in the past as far as music goes.
We had a teenager on one week doing an impersonation of Elvis singing ‘’Blue Suede Shoes’’… He was good and I wonder what he did with his life.
We used to have a part of the show as a ‘’ HOT SEAT’’ and the guests of the day would sit and have about twenty kids firing questions at them.
We had ‘’Roland Rat’’ on one week trying to take over the show but I soon put a stop to that. (I’ve still got it on video)
We filmed on episode down at Brighton with Harry trying to spoil all the fun.
That was a hot week weather wise and I ended up fully clothed in the English Channel.


ERIC KENT, AITCH AND DON HANN PROTECTING OUR PLACE IN THE TEA QUEUE…(Job Unknown)

THE GATHERING SEED…Director Tom Clegg…BBCTV…
Cast Inc…James Ellis…Paul Copely…
A few days on this 1940s saga with not a lot to do but I’m back working for my old mate Tom Clegg again.

COWBOYS…THAMES TV…
Cast Inc…Roy Kinnear…Colin Welland…Dermot Kelly…


'ere missus, I've come to look at yer pipes....

Saying a few lines on this comedy show as a cowboy builder. (Audience show)
Roy gave me some good advice and said get everything under your belt and do every job that comes along.. It could be your pension money in years to come.

MINDER…Director Tom Clegg…Thames/Euston Films…
Cast Inc…George Cole…Dennis Waterman…

Me in the forground with George and Dennis at the bar   Minder again

I worked on a few Minders over the years but it was always nice to work on the ones that Tom directed because he would always find me something special to do or say.
My old mate Barry Summerford was standing-in for Dennis (and still is to this day) and ’’The Door Mouse’’ Alan Gibbs stood/in for George..
There was always plenty of work for Supporting Artists on this series.

Click for video clip!   Click for video clip!
Click on the two pictures above for video clips from 'Minder'

THE DAWSON WATCH…Director Peter Whitmore…BBCTV…
I’m back to do some very funny sketches with Les Dawson.
In one of them we’re back in the Roman times on a Galley and Les and the rest of the cast are dressed as Galley slaves rowing the boat using huge oars. I’m dressed as a Centurion and have lines to say like ‘’Put your back into it, come on slaves row harder’’
I crack my big black whip a few times very near to them then Les starts to camp it up with Roy Barraclough who’s sitting next to him.
Les (talking about me) ‘’ What’s he think he looks like with that big thing in his hand’’ ‘’And look how short that skirt (Toga) is, he hasn’t got the legs for that’’. ‘’ When we get back to Rome we must have a whip round for the driver’’
Now I don’t know if all of that was kept in the edited scenes but the audience were in uproars and I found it hard to keep a straight face throughout.
My wife and daughter Connie were in the audience that night and Les invited us up to the club bar after the show finished and made a fuss of us.
LES DAWSON AN ENGLISH COMIC HERO…

HART TO HART Episode: Two Harts Are Better Than One

Robert Wagner ... Jonathan Hart
Stefanie Powers ... Jennifer Hart
Lionel Stander ... Max
Peter Arne ... Brooks Kera
John Evitts ... Gerald
Simon Jones ... Calvin
Derek Martin ... Inspector Drootin
Ron Moody ... Charles Thompson
David Warner ... Mr. Bowlly
Harry Fielder ... PC with Drootin (uncredited)

Hart to Hart
Had a fun day filming around Tower Bridge...

STRONGBOW COMMERCIAL…TWICKENHAM STUDIOS…
Now I never write too much about Commercials but this one really stands out from the others in the fact that by now you will have gathered that I do love to drink the odd swift half of the black stuff.
This advert is for cider.
The night before I do this job I’m compering and singing in a pub in Islington. (I can still hack it) and as I haven’t got a car at the moment a good friend of mine who is on the job with me the next day said he’ll give me a lift to the studio in the morning. (Good old Jerry Judge, a non drinker.)
After a good night (and early morning) in the pub I grab a few hours sleep before Jerry’s banging on my door and we’re off on the twenty mile trip to the studios.
Now I don’t feel to clever so when I get on the set I’ll just hide my face at the back of the other thirty or more Supporting Artists knowing I’ll feel better as the day goes along. (It’s called a hangover)
However this is not to be and as the director searches through all the faces of the crowd, he comes across mine and decides that I will be the star for the day.
I’m sat directly in front of camera and a large pint of cider is placed in front of me.
Another couple of the boys are also placed at the bar.
Now the director tells us the plot.
Simon Williams will come into the bar with a pretty ex page three girl and order a couple of funny drinks.. (Pink Gin or Dakari or some silly name).
That’s my cue to give him a look, turn back to my cider and take a good swig.
After about ten takes the cider tastes a lot better and I’m beginning to feel better.
Now I’m only drinking a mouthful of cider on every take so it’s not that much.
As the crew move the camera to a new position for different angles I have a chat with Jerry Judge who is standing just along the bar from me.
I lean onto the bar to take the weight off my body and a prop man tells me to be careful because that’s where the arrows will be hitting the counter.. (Arrows?, what f***ing arrows!).
Of course this is the commercial where the arrows thud into the counter at the end.
The crew have set the camera for a different angle and it’s ‘’ First positions, we’ll go from the top again’’
Now this time I’ve got my eye on Simon Williams, ex page three girl, my cider and any signs of ‘’Injuns’’…
We do another ten takes on that set up and it’s time for lunch (I popped over the pub for lunch as I’ve now got the taste).
About six o clock we’re onto the last shots and the arrows are about to fly and by now I’m in the land of the don’t care..
All goes well and we finish about seven o clock and I’m asked to sign a form as a featured artist and would get repeat fees. (I made nearly 2000)
(Good game this acting game)

NEXT - 1984

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