After the success of the masterclass at the Hippodrome in Leicester Square Freddie has scheduled another at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool, on June 30th. You are advised to book quickly as there is already a lot of interest; seats are limited as it's in a studio space.
Attendees at the London event included Mat Ricardo, David Benson (read his comments here) and new comedian Matthew Truesmith, who described the evening as "inspirational".
You can find out more and book for Freddie's Blackpool masterclass here.
Freddie and Blackpool go back a long way. He was brought up in Salford, which had many theatres, but Blackpool also helped give him the taste for performing: as a teenager he
would travel there for the day to see the shows, waiting outside the
stage door for a glimpse of a star and the chance of an autograph.
Freddie started his career as a Butlins Redcoat in Skegness, becoming entertainment manager at the
Butlins Metropole Hotel in Blackpool in the early sixties. "Blackpool was a great place to go if
you wanted to have a look at most of the premier acts of the age," he
says. "On a good day, there was nowhere nicer: a walk along the prom
then a star-studded show in the evening." And when he left Butlins in 1963 to try his luck as a full time
comic Blackpool was the obvious choice for a base: "There were about ten major summer shows there plus big
nightclubs and pubs, all needing acts."
Samuel Tweet spluttered his first in a
Manchester club, but the homburg hat which started it all was bought in a
nearly new shop in South Shore for two and sixpence (12½p). "It was for
an impersonation of Arthur Lowe, who was in Coronation Street at the
time, but when someone shouted out for a joke about a budgie I put it on
and the voice somehow just came out."
And thus began a career which still shows no signs of stopping. Freddie appeared in many summer shows in
Blackpool over the years, and there is footage of his 1966
appearance at the ABC Theatre, introduced by Tony Hancock: "I was
playing on the same stage I was working on every night," recalls
Freddie, "so it was easy - a home crowd."
Freddie lived in Blackpool until the
early seventies and returned to produce pantos there in the early
eighties. The Disney film Funny Bones (French title: Les Droles de Blackpool) was shot there in 1994,
featuring Freddie and George Carl as double act the Parker Brothers,
along with Jerry Lewis and Lee Evans, so presenting his masterclass at the Grand Theatre is a bit of a homecoming.
More information and booking for Freddie's Blackpool masterclass here.
More about Freddie's autobiography Funny Bones here.
For any Freddie fans who haven't come across it yet, here is the piece I wrote in June 2011 for my personal blog which led to my wor...
John Fisher, author of Funny Way to Be a Hero, biographies of Tommy Cooper and Tony Hancock and the man behind the exemplary Heroes of Co...
This is a slightly abridged version of the above article in the summer edition of The Call Boy , the magazine of the BMHS (British Music ...
As cowriter of Funny Bones I cannot pretend to be impartial, but for those who couldn't make it here are some notes on Freddie's per...
For those who couldn't make it, Freddie was on fine form at the British Music Hall Society's Day By the Sea at the Hippodrome,...
Freddie was interviewed live today by Bob Fischer of Radio Tees - it will be available on iplayer here at some point but in the meantime yo...
To the Palladium today for the Society for Theatre Research's Theatre Book Prize presentation. T hose in attendance included STR preside...
Michael Billington, writing today for the Guardian's "A book that changed me" feature, chooses Kenneth Tynan's He That ...
A reminder that Freddie will be appearing at the British Music Hall Society's Day By the Sea next Saturday, so if you are within reac...
In Funny Bones I quoted an advertisement which Freddie's grandad Jack Herbert placed in The Stage. But I didn't provide the context....