sat 04/07/2020

The Story of Variety, BBC Four | reviews, news & interviews

The Story of Variety, BBC Four

The Story of Variety, BBC Four

Michael Grade's funny but poignant documentary about the bygone art form

Michael Grade: A good audience for the old troupers in his documentary

For those whose only knowledge of the form is the Royal Variety Performance, this programme (part of BBC Four’s variety season) gave a nice, if all too brief, overview. The first of a two-parter was presented by Michael Grade, whose family is variety royalty - generations of Grades were performers and agents, and latterly television executives.

A young Des O'Connor even pretended to faint at the Glasgow Empire rather than continue being barracked by the notoriously aggressive crowd

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''Quoth the Raven '' goes on ''Never more '' as written by Edgar Allen Poe . Its first use is attributed to George Robey. Other damning comments to land ladies were '' Thanks Mrs G you have done us proud '' and '' Multi kateeva Letti '' = '' Bloody awful digs '' often taken as a compliment as presumed being written in Latin

Great programme my only comment on the review is that the artist mentoined as Karimba is actually Koringa - the only female Fakir and mesmerist who worked with Bertram Mills Circus in the 1930s and other companies until the 1950s. For anyone interested in the variety history we have much material at the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield including 2000 posters from the 1880s onwards

Loved the show,Hope they will show Morton fraser harmonica gang in next program.I was lead harmonicaist All through the sixties Greatest time of my life.Ron Eadie

My grandfather was Archie Glen the comedian mentioned on this programme i would be most grateful if anyone could give me more information about him. Many Thanks Anne

Anne Archie Glen was my grandfather´s brother. I have started to do some research into the family. Do you want to get in touch? Pat

Hi Pat Put original message on in 2011 and didn't check back I now see you have posted and would be most grateful for any information you have Many thanks Anne

Hi Anne Like you, I came back to this page after quite a while as I have just picked up doing some family history again. If you'd like to get in contact my email is I hope you get this message.

Correct email address Pat

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