Mike Yarwood: Thank You For The Laughs will air on Channel 5 on Saturday 21st October. The 90 minute special sees the impressionist's two daughters examining his rise to fame and his sudden exit from public life.British Comedy Guide, 12th October 2023
Yarwood, whose mother was Irish, lacked the carapace of confidence to protect him during tough times.The Irish Times, 23rd September 2023
The 1970s star blazed the way for mass-audience satire in Britain. But is there an appetite for it now?Vanessa Thorpe, The Observer, 10th September 2023
Star impressionist of the 1970s who poked affectionate fun at royalty, showbiz figures and politicians.Stephen Dixon, The Guardian, 10th September 2023
Mike Yarwood was arguably the king of light entertainment in the late 1960s and 70s.Mark Andrews, The Express and Star, 18th June 2022
Unlike other impressionists and satirists of the time, Mike Yarwood never resorted to ranting, offensive language or sexual connotations. He was old-school. He was a product of a gentler age. He just wanted to make people happy. That, and finish with a song.Andre Vincent, Chortle, 11th September 2014
It's strange how little the art of the impressionist has evolved since the heyday of Mike Yarwood. But this new sitcom written by Matt Morgan achieves the unusual feat of placing this variety club act in a fresh context. Terry Mynott is Martin Hurdle, a quiet, unremarkable middle-aged man with a hidden talent.
Hurdle's a freakishly good impressionist, prone to slipping into Terry Wogan in traffic jams or getting his own back on his boss over the intercom at work. So far, so ho-hum. But where "The Mimic" feels both promising and unusual is that Martin's mimicry is, at this point, a dead end. Martin has a rubbish job. He has a charming but, as far as we can tell, unfulfilled relationship with [p[Jo Hartley]'s Jean. And he has an 18-year-old son whom he's taking the first tentative steps towards getting to know. In other words, The Mimic is brave enough to be gently melancholy rather than uproarious - Martin's gift feels more like a product of confused identity and low self-esteem than any desire to entertain.
It will be interesting to see whether this ventures into more conventional sitcom realms as it progresses - on the evidence of this opener, it could be a subtle, understated treat.Phil Harrison, Time Out, 13th March 2013
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