Arthur Haynes was born in London, the only child of a Fulham baker. From humble beginnings, his professional career began inauspiciously, taking on a number of small part-time jobs including painting, plumbing and joinery until the outbreak of the Second World War. When conflict struck, he became an entertainer, putting on shows for the troops while serving with the Royal Engineers during the war, alongside fellow comedian Charlie Chester, who has many an anecdote to tell about Haynes' antics at the front line of battle.
Chester and Haynes were part of the British Army's concert party troupe Stars in Battledress, and once the war was over, they continued to work together on the BBC radio series Stand Easy], forming a successful double at.
Haynes' ATV series The Arthur Haynes Show, networked on ITV, made him the most popular comedian in the entirety of Britain. His most famous character here was a working-class tramp, created by Johnny Speight, now better known for the Alf Garnett character. According to Speight, the idea came from a real tramp who climbed into his Rolls Royce when it was stopped at a traffic light. Early set design was limited, due to reduced budgets, but as the show gained traction they could afford larger, more expansive, and more elaborate backdrops. The stars sometimes forgot their lines, and would ad-lib them. There would also be frequent musical guests, such as the Springfields, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, and the Rolling Stones. Many shows ended with Haynes driving a horse and cart along a narrow country lane, whistling and (unconvincingly) playing the harmonica. The show made household names of Arthur Haynes and Nicholas Parsons, and also gave early appearances to several actors who would later become very successful indeed, including Michael Caine in 1962.
Haynes would win the Variety Club's award as ITV Personality of 19612 and appeared on the Royal Variety Performance in that same year. In 1963 he released the novelty songs "Not To Worry" and "Looking Around".
- Thursday 14th May 1914
- Saturday 19th November 1966 (aged 52)
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Non-comedy TV and film credits might be found here:
Arthur Haynes on IMDb