Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me (BBC-4 2008, David Walliams, Rafe Spall)

Frankie Howerd Rather You Than Me (BBC-4 2008, David Walliams, Rafe Spall)

Rather You Than Me, which was part of the BBC’s Curse Of Comedy strand, told the story of comedian Frankie Howerd’s long term battle with homosexuality and his relationship with Dennis Heymer.

Walliams had the mannerisms down pat most of the time apart from the occasional lapse into caricature. Rafe Spall was actually the real star of the piece though as his long suffering chauffeur/manager/lover Dennis Heymer

At it its heart this was a love story. Flashbacks into the 1950’s after beginning with a 1990 gig at Oxford University and there was clever use of songs and tv show clips as time signifiers.

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As with all four of the curse of comedy productions there is a real air of sadness lingering over the whole thing and given the thanks that Rather You Than Me carried the acknowledgement – thanks to Dennis Heymer one would suspect that it was a reasonably truthful account.

production details
UK / BBC Four / 1×60 minute episode / Broadcast 9 April 2008

Writer: Peter Harness / Costume Design: James Keast / Music: Max Richter / Production Design: Patrick Bill / Director of Photography: Neil Harvey / Executive Producer: John Yorke / Producer: Ben Evans / Director: John Alexander

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cast
DAVID WALLIAMS as Frankie Howerd
RAFE SPALL as Dennis Heymer
PETER SANDYS-CLARKE as Sheridan
SALLY LEONARD as Jane
PAUL ANDERSON as Roger
BENEDICT MARTIN as Gunman
MELANIE HILL as Ruth
DILYS LAYE as Edith Howard
JEFFREY PERRY as Director
CHRIS NEW as Rent Boy
PETER HARNESS as Promotor
PAUL COURTENAY-HYU as Dr Ling
JAKE MASKELL as Don
DAVID REED as Peter Cook
TOM ALLEN as Lighting Technician

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.