Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The most expensive drag queen in the UK

As the faboo Television Heaven site put it:
For 25 years Stanley Baxter produced the type of television spectacular that Morecambe and Wise could only afford to put on as part of their Christmas specials. Those legendary song and dance routines that Eric and Ernie performed in their shows may well be the stuff of television legend, but for Stanley Baxter, spectacular musical-comedy specials, reminiscent of Hollywood's best extravaganzas, were part of every series. And they were so flamboyant, and proved to be so costly, that Baxter was sacked not from just one, but two TV channels, who simply couldn't afford to keep him...

He is one of the true creative geniuses in British television light entertainment, and as far as comedy goes... Stanley Baxter is the true King of Scotland.
With his background in variety theatre, the Combined Entertainment Unit of the army in the post-War National Service years (alongside Kenneth Williams, John Schlesinger, Gordon Jackson and Peter Nichols) and - of course - panto, he was almost destined for a career in the fledging world of television (starting out in the 1950s), where his comedic talents and in particular his talent for mimicry (and drag) became a staple of Britain's "light entertainment" genre.

Very much a product of his time - his ITV "spectaculars" won the BAFTA Best Light Entertainment Programme Award two years running in 1973 and 1974 - much of Mr Baxter's fondly remembered output would nowadays be considered extremely non-PC, so repeats (were there ever to be any anyway) would needless to say be heavily edited; hence the reason why he is largely forgotten. However, to mark this milestone birthday, here are just three of Stanley's memorable sketches (that still remain out there in the interwebs)...

Towering Quake '75:

The Fast Food Follies:

The Duchess of Brendagh:

Happy 90th birthday, Mr Stanley Baxter (born 24th May 1926)


Please leave a message - I value your comments!

[NB Bear with me if there is a delay - thanks to spammers I need to approve all comments at the moment]