Charlie Drake

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Charlie Drake (19 June 1925 – 23 December 2006) was an English comedian, actor, writer and singer.

With his small stature (5' 1" tall), curly red hair and liking for slapstick he was a popular comedian with children in his early years, becoming nationally-known for his "Hello, my darlings" catchphrase. The catchphrase came about because he was short, and so his eyes would often be naturally directly level with a lady's bosom. Because of this and because in his work he preferred working with the fuller, bigger busted lady, the catchphrase was born.

He died from complications from a stroke on 23 December 2006, aged 81.

Contents

Biography

Born Charles Edward Springall in the Elephant and Castle, Southwark, South London, he took his mother's maiden name for the stage and, later, television and film, achieving success as a comedian.

Drake made his first appearance on stage at the age of eight, and after leaving school toured working men's clubs. After serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II, Drake turned professional and made his TV debut in The Centre Show in 1953. He then joined his wartime comrade Jack Edwardes to form a double act, named 'Mick and Montmorency'. In 1954 he appeared with Bob Monkhouse in the film, Fast and Loose.

He appeared in the television shows Laughter in Store (1957), Drake's Progress (1957), Charlie Drake In… (1958 to 1960) and The Charlie Drake Show (1960 to 1961), being remembered for his opening catchphrase "Hello, my darlings!" Filming of the Charlie Drake Show by the BBC was cut short, however, by a serious accident that occurred in 1961, during a live transmission. Drake had arranged for a bookcase to be set up in such a way that it would fall apart during a slapstick sketch in which he was pulled through it. It was later discovered that an over-enthusiastic workman had "mended" the bookcase before the broadcast. The actors working with him, unaware of what had happened, proceeded with the rest of the sketch which required that they pick him up and throw him through an open window. Drake fractured his skull and was unconscious for three days. It was two years before he returned to the screen.

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