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So, Anyway It's All Going Wonderfully Well. Brung Up Proper.

Remembering Ronnie Barker – Boadicea's Chariot

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Remembering Ronnie Barker

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Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable. Find Live comedy Where? As well as assistant stage management duties Ronnie was offered small parts in the plays. With this being weekly rep, plays came thick and fast but it was when he played a chauffeur in a play called Miranda that Ronnie got his first ever laugh from an audience in a professional theatre.


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    Ronnie Corbett: 'Comedy great' dies aged 85

    Aylesbury Rep unfortunately folded in the spring of but by this time Ronnie was in Rhyl where he was playing the lead in The Guinea Pig , and where he also encountered the eccentrics of the theatrical landlady. Feeling flush on six pounds a week he bought himself an eight-ounce piece of fillet steak and some asparagus, instructing his host that he would be back at 10pm to eat after the show.

    When he returned she proudly announced "I've made your meat into a lovely stew for you and put your flowers in water.

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    After Rhyl and a brief period of theatrical unemployment - during which he worked as a hospital porter - Ronnie joined The Mime Theatre Company, touring schools and village halls in Wales. This was not a glamorous tour and as audiences got smaller prospects got bleaker. Wages were cut and to top it all when they reached Cardiff Ronnie was struck down with a severe bout of flu, which left him house-bound in freezing cold digs. The company had moved on to Swansea for another date and Ronnie's landlady would only supply a jug of water.

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    Left with just a loaf of dry bread and without even enough money for aspirin, Ronnie sweated it out until he could re-join the troupe. By then however, things were again coming to an end. The ill-fated Mime Theatre Company finally ran out of steam and money in Penzance in the spring of The director had had the foresight to save enough money to pay for 5 train tickets back to London; unfortunately there were 6 players in the company and Ronnie drew the short straw, having to hitch-hike and walk back to Oxford.

    He arrived after 3 days on the road, exhausted but just in time for his sister's wedding. It wasn't long before Ronnie was back in employment again and for the next 15 months he spent his days as character juvenile and stage manager at the Tudor Theatre, Bramhall in Cheshire, in what he considered to be one of the turning points of his career.

    Here he felt he really learned the craft of comic acting, and also had the good fortune to meet a man who would influence him throughout the rest of his acting life. Ronnie credits leading man, and eventually director, Glen Melvyn with "teaching me everything I ever learned about comedy". The two became firm friends and as Ronnie learned his craft the parts he played got bigger and bigger, whilst all the time keeping up with his stage management duties. However, such was Ronnie's skill at organisation, it was Glen who suggested that Ronnie give up acting to go into theatre management full time.