Doesn’t it give you a warm feeling when you start a book and after a few pages you’re hooked?
I’ve just read the prologue of Bounder!, Graham McCann’s biography of the great comic actor Terry-Thomas, and it promises to be a real corker.
You always write better, I find, when you’re keen on the subject, and Graham obviously is, judging by his appreciative intro. The first few pages simply ooze enjoyment in this very English cad, with his trademark gap-toothed grin and wonderful one-liners.
“You’re an absolute shower.” “Oh, I say!” “Hard cheese!” “Bang on.”
My former chief-sub, Steve, used to love repeating them and I’m sure he’s not the only one!
Terry-Thomas or T-T, was born in North Finchley, in 1911 and died in 1990 in straitened circumstances. Apparently, he was struggling with Parkinson’s Disease and medical bills, and living in relative obscurity, until aid came in the form of a starry benefit concert organised by writer Richard Hope-Hawkins and Jack Douglas.
It was a poignant end for a comedian who’d given so much pleasure to cinema and television audiences – Steve and myself among them. Rather than dwell on T-T’s last days, I look forward to reading about the intervening years in a biog that seems sure to deliver.
To me, Terry-Thomas will always be the rascally Sir Percy Ware-Armitage in Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines – being caddish to his downtrodden manservant, Courtney, or beating poor Ian Carmichael at tennis in School for Soundrels.
Just thinking about them makes me smile.