Saturday, 3 May 2014

Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This

I got round to watching this "docu-drama" a few days ago (I'm usually a couple of weeks behind with TV programmes).

I'm too young to remember Tommy Cooper in his prime, and I didn't see the infamous Live From Her Majesty's performance (from memory, I think we were watching the other side), but he is one of my comedy heroes.  He's one of those people (along with Eric Morecambe) that can make me laugh just by looking at him.

About 10 years ago, we went to see Jerome Flynn in "Jus' Like That" in London, a fantastic performance, Flynn sounded and looked exactly like Cooper.

Whilst that show was a loving tribute to Tommy the comedian and magician (despite his act consisting of tricks going wrong, Cooper was in fact an accomplished magician, and respected member of the Magic Circle), the recent film was a warts and all look at Tommy the man.

Having read the biography "Always Leave Them Laughing", on which the film was based, I had some idea of what to expect - Tommy could be a violent man who drank to excess, and cheated on his wife whilst on tour.

The Olivier Award-winning actor David Threlfall took on the role of Tommy, with Amanda Redman as his long-suffering wife Gwen.

The film also looked at Tommy's difficult relationship with his agent Miff Ferrie (Gregor Fisher), who stayed loyal to Tommy, managing his career until the very end.

After witnessing Tommy's personal and career highs and lows, we ended up backstage at Her Majesty's Theatre on 15th April 1984, watching his son, his fellow performers, and the production gallery in utter disbelief at what unfolded in front of the curtain.

It can be sad to see one of your heroes revealed to have feet of clay, a reminder that we are all human, with our failings and problems.

An interesting film which despite the "difficult" moments, was still able to show Tommy doing what he did best - making people laugh.

He brought pleasure to people until the very end of his life - what a legacy.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to see it! He always makes me think of my Other Grandpa x