Emboldened by the publication of my recent letter to The Times (writes Freddie's cowriter Anthony Teague) I have seized another opportunity to spread the word about Freddie's autobiography.
An article about John Laurie and Dad's Army in the January edition of The Oldie mentioned two earlier roles of Arthur Lowe's: the don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it appearance at the end of Ealing classic Kind Hearts and Coronets, which some of you may have noticed over Christmas, and the rather more substantial role of shopkeeper Leonard Swindley in Coronation Street and a spinoff series in the early 60s. So here's what I wrote:
There is another footnote to Arthur Lowe's pre-Dad's Army fame ('Doomed, I tell ye', January issue). Lowe's Coronation Street character Mr Swindley was responsible for the creation of Samuel Tweet, the spluttering alter ego of comedian Freddie Davies.Will it be published? We must wait for the February edition of The Oldie, though for the full story of Freddie's time in the clubs - and much else - you will have to buy the book.
In 1963 Freddie was a fledgling comedian in the cavernous Manchester clubs thrown up by the Gaming Act. He had a homburg hat onstage for an impersonation of Swindley but when an audience member called out for a joke about a budgie Freddie seized the hat, improvised a funny voice ... and suddenly found the distinctive comic persona he had been seeking. Fame followed a few months later on Opportunity Knocks, and at the age of seventy seven he is still performing and promoting his autobiography Funny Bones, published on the fiftieth anniversary of his TV debut.
Buy Freddie Davies's autobiography Funny Bones from amazon (paperback) or direct from Scratching Shed Publishing (paperback or limited edition hardback; read an extract here.