Idols

TV Legends: Charlie Drake

Pint sized (5’1″) funny man Charlie Drake, like many early television personalities got his start first in radio and then in a series of programs for children before breaking out as one of Britain’s most popular comic actors. Drake first came to the attention of Britain’s kiddies as a member of Mick and Montmorency, a comedy team which paired the diminutive Drake with the rather taller (6’5″) Jack Edwardes as a pair of bumbling blokes who stumble and crash through a never ending series of jobs from which they always get sacked.

The best of these sketches appeared under the “Jobstoppers” title on ITV in the late fifties. After their considerable success children’s the pair split up to pursue solo projects, Edwardes went on to another children’s series (Herlock and Sholmes) and an eventual attempt to resurrect the Mick and Montmorency act with a new partner replacing Drake (Felix Bowness later better known as Hi-de-Hi’s Fred Quilly). Drake, on the other hand, had graduated to entertaining the kiddies mums and dads.

Charlie Drake in The Worker

Drake in popular comedy The Worker.

Drake’s first full solo series was 1957-8’s “Drakes Progress” which co-starred, during it’s first season, the prolific Irene Handl and Warren Mitchell. 1958 also saw the premier of, perhaps, Drake’s best TV work “Charlie Drake in…” each episode of which Drake got to play different characters in different comic situations. “Charlie Drake in..” was also a big ratings winner for him and helped firmly establish himself as one of Britain’s biggest comics.,

Throughout the sixties and into the late seventies Charlie Drake continued to perform on television in a number of series and one off appearances including a trio of series (in ’65, ’69, and ’78) called “The Worker” that returned Drake to his Mick and Montmorency roots as a hapless loser forever bungling the myriad jobs handed him by the labour exchange. In the seventies Drake left, for the most part, comedy to become a reasonably respected dramatic actor appearing in such high brow productions as the BBC’s 1985 Dicken’s adaptation “Bleak House”, but it is as the lovable little slapstick comedian that he is and will always be best known.





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