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TV Legends: Peter Brough and Archie Andrews

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Enormously successful comedy duo Peter Brough and Archie Andrews had been entertaining radio listeners for over a decade when they made the jump to telly. Brough and Andrews were a comedy team with a difference, a difference they shared with their American radio counterparts Edger Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. That’s right; Archie was a ventriloquist’s dummy, and the star of the show. (It’s nice to see American audiences weren’t the only ones to make an unlikely star out of a radio ventriloquist, I mean who pitched these ideas? a radio ventriloquist? who would have thought?)

Archie’s first TV exposure came while he was still hot on radio with 1956’s “Here’s Archie” on the BBC. It wasn’t until two years later when ITV premiered “Educating Archie” (named after the hugely successful radio show that would air steadily until 1960) that Archie came, literally, to life with special effects that were remarkable for their time. Audiences marveled as a fully articulated Archie moved about doing his naughty schoolboy shtick. Along with Brough and his wooden star the series featured the ever present Irene Handl and the soon to be legendary Dick Emery.

Educating Archie’s television success was short lived though, not because of viewer apathy but because of a bizarre and tragic twist of fate when Brough’s father passed away and Peter decided to leave show business to take over the family textile business. Thus came to an end the career of Archie Andrews, England’s greatest wooden performer.