16 August 2016

Audio of Freddie on 1968 Hughie Green show

I was delighted to learn that the audio for the programme Goodbye to Didsbury, broadcast on 30th July 1968 as ABC Television was preparing to merge with Rediffusion and become Thames Television, has been made available on the Transdiffusion website here.

Deprived of the visuals (the screengrab above is actually from Hughie's final Opportunity Knocks in 1978, tricked up to look older) you have to use a certain amount of imagination, but Freddie's appearance certainly sounds anarchic, and the audience is in an uproar throughout. Freddie appears at around 23'10".

And it's wonderful to hear, if not see, that the memory which I have carried around for almost fifty years of a touching moment of sobriety and sincerity which followed the clowning as Freddie came out of character proves to have been correct. I think he and Hughie finally sat down and Freddie removed his hat, as though to signify he was no longer in Tweet mode, as he talked about the special atmosphere of the Didsbury studios - where he had rocketed to fame at the end of the very first series of Opportunity Knocks on 1st August 1964.

For those who haven't yet read it, I originally described that moment of Freddie coming out of character in a blog post here. I sent a link to Freddie, not realising that it was, in effect, a calling card: he needed someone to help him with his autobiography. The book was eventually published on the fiftieth anniversary of his first appearance on Opportunity Knocks. Click on the "About" page for more details.