Thursday, 2 July 2015

Thanks for the memories, Val Doonican

He was a wonderful easy-going host of a family entertainment TV show. But before the jumpers and the Irish comic songs there was a real rags-to-riches story. In fact, I can remember (without knowing his name then) the Four Ramblers of which he was a member when they worked for Charles Chilton on his radio serial "Riders of the Range", set in the Wild West.

One of my favourite stories comes from a reminiscence by Doonican of those days (knowing the BBC, the recording of the interview has probably been wiped, unfortunately). Like many programmes in the 1940s and 1950s, "Riders of the Range" was broadcast live (something that would horrify many performers today) and when Paul Carpenter, playing hero Jeff Arnold, spoonerised a warning of a stampede into "we're being attacked by a horde of wild hearses" it corpsed everyone in the studio except Carpenter who had to carry the show on his own for several minutes.

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