Stanley Unwin (comedian)

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Stanley Unwin (7 June 1911 Pretoria, South Africa – 12 January 2002 Danetre Hospital, Daventry, Northamptonshire[1]), sometimes billed as Professor Stanley Unwin, was a British comedian and comic writer, and the inventor of his own language, "Unwinese," referred to in the film Carry On Regardless as "gobbledegook".

Unwinese was a mangled form of English in which many of the words were corrupted in playful and humorous ways, as in its description of Elvis Presley and his contemporaries as being "wasp-waist and swivel-hippy". Unwin claimed his gift came from his mother, who once told him that on the way home she had "falolloped over and grazed her kneeclabbers".


Early life

Unwin's parents emigrated from the United Kingdom to South Africa in the early 1900s, and Stanley was born in Pretoria in 1911. Following his father's death in 1914 his mother arranged for the family to return to the United Kingdom. By 1919, Stanley had been sent to the National Children's Home at Congleton in Cheshire. In the late 1920s he studied radio, television and languages at the Regent Street Polytechnic.

In the 1930s he married Frances, with whom he had two daughters and a son. (Unwin later stated that Unwinese had its roots in enlivening the bedtime stories which he told his children). In 1940 Stanley got a job at the BBC working on transmitters and was stationed at the Borough Hill transmitting station in Daventry, England. Stanley, Frances and nine-month-old daughter Marion, moved to Long Buckby in Northamptonshire, where Stanley lived for the rest of his life.

Comedy career

His early career and training introduced him to wireless and radio communication, and this, coupled with work in the BBC's War Reporting Unit from about 1944 was ultimately to prove to be a conduit into the media.

It was whilst based in Birmingham, between 1947 and 1951, that Unwin got his first accidental broadcast. Whilst testing equipment, Stanley handed the microphone to broadcaster F.R. "Buck" Buckley who ad-libbed a spoof commentary about an imaginary sport called "Fasche". Buckley then encouraged Unwin to join in and introduced him as "Codlington Corthusite", handing back the microphone - he continued in Unwinese.

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