Great Lives - Stan Laurel. Image shows from L to R: Matthew Parris, Ken Dodd. Copyright: BBC.

Great Lives - Stan Laurel

BBC Radio 4 documentary. 1 episode in 2012. Features Matthew Parris, Ken Dodd, Glenn Mitchell, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

Great Lives - Stan Laurel

An episode of Radio 4's Great Lives in which Matthew Paris and Ken Dodd discuss the life and work of Stan Laurel

BBC Radio 4
Matthew Parris, Ken Dodd, Glenn Mitchell, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
Toby Field

In London in 1910, Stan Jefferson was understudy to Charlie Chaplin in comedy impresario Fred Karno's latest production Jimmy the Fearless. Chaplin decided it wasn't up-to-scratch and pulled out, on the eve of the opening. Stan stepped into the breach. The show was a tremendous and immediate hit, and Stan Jefferson emerged as one of the great comedy talents of the twentieth century. Or Stan Laurel, as he became known: the Laurel of Laurel and Hardy.

Ken Dodd, best-known for his marathon live shows, the Diddy men and the jam-butty mines of Knotty Ash cites Stan Laurel as his inspiration for going into comedy. He says that good comedians are admired, really good comedians are revered, but great comedians like Laurel & Hardy are loved. He praises his brilliance as a clown and a creator of gags, but feels that he was financially exploited and unlucky in love.

This is Episode 6 from Series 29 of Great Lives.

Production Details

Production company
Laugh track

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Saturday 4th February 2012 on BBC Radio 4 at 4:30pm
Episode length
30 minutes
Last repeat
Friday 11th January 2019 at 12:30am on Radio 4 Extra