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Harold Wilson

  • English
  • Politician

Press clippings

Golden age when TV comedy shaped nation's future

To Harold Wilson's way of thinking, the father-and-son rag-and-bone men of Oildrum Lane, played by Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H. Corbett could cost him the election, if millions stayed at home to watch instead of going out to vote.

Andrew Vine, The Yorkshire Post, 14th January 2014

Hosted by Rory Bremner, Mike Yarwood: So This Is Him! profiles the first great impressionist, Mike Yarwood.

Yarwood was somewhat before my time, so this documentary was one of those chances to appreciate a comedian whose shows are never repeated. Of course, there is a reason why impressionism and satire isn't repeated that often...

My own knowledge of Yarwood before this programme was limited to knowing a handful of people he mimicked - Harold Wilson and Eddie Waring - and knowing that he fell into decline because he couldn't impersonate Margaret Thatcher. But there was so much that surprised me, including the fact that Yarwood invented the phrase "I mean that most sincerely, folks." It's associated with Hughie Green, but Green himself never used.

In the documentary for Radio 2, Bremner claims that one of Yarwood's great achievements was to humanise politicians. He wasn't as vicious and cutting as the later satirists on shows like Spitting Image, which probably didn't help him in his later career.

While Yarwood suffered due to changes in how people like to receive their laughs, there's no doubt he was a great comic. If only they repeated his stuff more often - and indeed Spitting Image for that matter...

Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 31st December 2012

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