Press clippings

Inside Larry Grayson's personal life - from relationships to changes of name

Author Tony Nicholson says Larry Grayson's complicated personal life, with so many changes of name, and a struggle to find stardom, had always been a bit of a ­mystery.

Tony Nicholson, The Mirror, 13th May 2022

Door that inspired Larry Grayson to be preserved

The door that inspired Larry Grayson to create one of TV's greatest catchphrases is to be preserved for posterity, a council has announced.

The Generation Game host, who was one of showbusiness's biggest names in the 1970s and 1980s, was famed for exclaiming "Shut that door!"

Tom Wilkinson, The Northern Echo, 11th March 2019

Dave Allen at Peace; Larry Grayson: Shut That Door!

BBC Two remembers Dave Allen in a disappointingly flat biopic, while ITV3 pays homage to the enduringly funny Larry Grayson.

Rachel Cooke, The New Statesman, 5th April 2018

Why Larry Grayson is still the greatest game show host

"Shut that door." Nobody knew quite why it was funny but in the mouth of Larry Grayson, it just was. The high-camp comedian would sashay on-stage, dragging his trademark silver bentwood chair behind him, whinging about the draught making his lumbago worse - before barking his catchphrase at an imaginary off-stage lackey.

Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 1st April 2018

How Larry Grayson made way for later camp comedians

A new ITV documentary is lifting the lid on Larry's incredible life story as filmmakers gain unique access to his personal archive of letters, scrapbooks, photos and keepsakes.

Rachael Bletchly, The Mirror, 25th March 2018

Michael Barrymore returns to ITV for Larry Grayson doc

Presenter Michael Barrymore is set to make his ITV comeback 16 years after the body of Stuart Lubbock was discovered in his swimming pool.

The Daily Express, 23rd March 2018

ITV3 to broadcast Larry Grayson documentary

ITV3 will air new two-hour documentary Larry Grayson: Shut That Door! this Easter. It will feature never-before-seen footage of The Generation Game host.

British Comedy Guide, 6th March 2018

David Mills interview

Focus people! David Mills returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with brand new, razor sharp rants delivered with his signature cocktail swagger and his biting, acerbic wit. Martin Walker attempts to persuade this cross between, Dave Allen and Larry Grayson, not to quit comedy and take up alternative dance.

Martin Walker, Broadway Baby, 6th July 2015

What a line-up for a sitcom; three of our most accomplished actors - Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Frances de la Tour - star, and the writers are the super-talented playwright Mark Ravenhill and Gary Janetti, who used to work on Will & Grace, one of the classiest comedies on American television in decades. And what do you get? Well, not quite the laugh fest that it might have been (or may yet become), but an opener that had a reasonable hit rate.

Vicious is another back-to-the-future comedy, a one-room sitcom with two of the queeniest gay men to grace our screens since the dear departed Larry Grayson and John Inman. If Dick Emery's Clarence had made an appearance he wouldn't have looked out of place and, with De la Tour's presence, it could be called Rising Camp (sadly not my line - I nicked it).

Freddie (McKellen) and Stuart (Jacobi) are a bickering, gossipy gay couple who live in crepuscular gloom in their Covent Garden flat. Freddie is a never-has-been actor ("You may have seen me in a scene in Doctor Who") who has long since lost his Wigan accent; Stuart is a one-time barman who is still not out to his mother. He's waiting for the right time - "It's been 48 years!" cries Freddie.

Into the flat upstairs moves the attractive youngster Ash (Iwan Rheon), who attracts appreciative looks both from the men and their faghag friend Violet (De la Tour); most of last night's episode concerned their convoluted attempts to find out if he was gay or straight. Don't people just ask if they're interested to know?

The cast are clearly having fun with the bitchy lines, but Jacobi is overdoing the flounce and Ash is as yet underwritten. Too much of Vicious relies on tired comedy tropes; older people are gagging to have sex with people young enough to be their grandchildren, they don't know anything about youth culture ("Is Zac Efron a person or a place?" Violet asks); or they're deaf, dotty and fall asleep easily. Oh please. As for the double rape "joke" everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves, including director Ed Bye.

On the evidence of last night's first episode Ravenhill and Janetti can't decide if Vicious is lazy retro fun for all the family, or an edgy post-watershed show that's taking us to places never previously negotiated on British TV. Let's hope it's the latter over its seven-week run.

Veronica Lee, The Arts Desk, 30th April 2013

We do love a bit of camp, we Brits. Frankie Howerd, Larry Grayson, Dick Emery, Mr Humphries aka John Inman all perpetuated the non-threatening camp stereotype in the sixties and seventies - unlimited innuendo but no sex please, we're British.

That all changed in the eighties with the coming of alternative comedy and the black leather-clad Julian Clary. Camp's hidden agenda was well and truly outed, paving the way for Rhona Cameron, Graham Norton, Simon Fanshawe and others to do full-frontal gay comedy, warts and all.

In The Archive Hour, Simon Fanshawe traced the history of gay comedy over the past 30 years, from the double standards of Howerd and Grayson, always fearful of alienating the audience by appearing openly homosexual, through the overtly gay material of Clary and Cameron to today's more androgynous approach, where the quality of the material counts for more than any concerns about sexuality.

You got the impression Julian Clary quite missed the shock and awe days of the eighties - "I enjoyed the sharp intake of breath when I crossed the line" - though Fanshawe was in no doubt that today's open-minded audiences were much to be preferred.

Graham Norton said he soon got bored with doing gay jokes, having traded on his gayness at first, and consciously started to introduce other subjects. "I was lucky in that I could do Irish jokes as well as gay jokes," he said.

I'd never heard of the Australian Brendan Burns, a straight stand-up who does a funny line in anti-homophobic material, nor the Anglo-Bengali gay stand-up Paul Sinha, but their contributions sent me scurrying off to YouTube to see further exposure.

Nick Smurthwaite, The Stage, 28th September 2010

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