Looking behind the comic genius of Bob

Bob Monkhouse was regarded as a man with a ‘Teflon’ showbiz veneer, and at the height of his fame he divided the viewing public.

Monday, 14th September 2015, 9:00 am
The Man Called Monkhouse
The Man Called Monkhouse

Among many accolades that were bestowed upon him,he was simultaneously voted Most Loved and Most Hated Entertainer in a 1978 television poll.

In The Man Called Monkhouse, Alex Lowe (Barry From Watford, BBC Radio 4) writes and Bob Golding (Olivier Award winning - Morecambe) directs Simon Cartwright in the part he was born to play.

The Man Called Monkhouse is an affectionate, funny and moving exploration of the life and personality of one of this country’s best loved and possibly most misunderstood comedians.

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The play comes to The Court Theatre in Pendley near Tring at 8pm on Friday (September 18).

As a young journalist I met Bob Monkhouse in the beautiful old house near Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire. where he lived with his second wife Jackie. He was charm personified and made me feel very much at home, chatting in his spacious sitting room where the sofas were soft and squishy and the walls were lined with huge framed paintings, drawings and pictures.

The Man Called Monkhouse is set in July 1995 when, alone in his cramped study, among thousands of showbusiness artefacts, film stock and memories, the comic legend realises his treasured joke books have been stolen.

This is something of a disaster in the world of the obsessive performer and joke smith.As the reality of the situation sinks in, he is forced into an uneasy introspection.

The Man Called Monkhouse traces his life hrough a difficult childhood, via the vertiginous heights of television superstardom, the dent in his status during the ‘new wave’ comedy of the late 80s, and finishes with a re-born Monkhouse, back on television and finally feted as the comic genius he undobutedly was.

Simon Cartwright, who plays the role of the comic, actually performed with Monkhouse on Opportunity Knocks and was a contributor to The Monkhouse Amuseum for Radio 4 Xtra. Monkhouse has been a large part of his life and he formed a friendship with him, and over the years Monkhouse followed Cartwright’s career with great interest, once proclaiming, ‘You do me better than I do.’

Tickets £15 and £12 from www.get-stuffed.biz