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The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse

The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse

A NEW documentary on Bob Monkhouse featuring a wealth of archive material the performer himself rescued from destruction is to be screened on TV.

The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse tells the “extraordinary story” of comedian Bob Monkhouse’s life and career, recounted for the first time through the “vast private archive” of films, TV shows, letters and memorabilia that he left behind.

The 90-minute programme, which airs January 3, 2011, has been made by the BBC with assistance from classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope.

Volunteers spent over a year sifting through the huge collection of film reels, videos, scripts, photographs and audio tapes amassed by the performer during his lifetime and passed on to the group following the death of his widow in 2008.

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope described the forthcoming BBC Four show as a “real gem”.

He said: “I’ve seen the show and it’s full of brilliant archive material from the Bob stuff we rescued.”

Bob Monkhouse was a prolific comic, writer and performer famous for his sharp one-liners, topical gags and “charming smile”.

In a career spanning over 50 years, he appeared in countless TV and radio shows including My Pal Bob, Mad Movies, The Golden Shot and Celebrity Squares.

Monkhouse died of prostate cancer in 2003, aged 75.

The performer was a keen collector of TV and radio shows throughout his life and thanks to his foresight, many hours of vintage comedy material featuring Bob, his writing partner Denis Goodwin, and stars such as Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, Tommy Cooper, Frankie Howerd, Arthur Askey, Benny Hill and June Whitfield have been saved.

  • The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse is on BBC Four at 9pm, January 3.

READ ON: The BBC Four website has a two-minute clip from The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse featuring Bob on the Golden Shot. Kaleidoscope Publishing has released a book containing the full list of what was found within the Bob Monkhouse Archive. Bob’s Full House is available in paperback, priced £19.99.

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Filed under BBC, Comedy, Kaleidoscope, Programmes of Interest, Television

Kaleidoscope Event Dedicated to Bob Monkhouse Announced

Classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope has just announced it is organizing an event dedicated to comedian’s comedian Bob Monkhouse.

Entitled ‘Bob’s Full House‘, the hotly-anticipated event will be a retrospective of the life and work of the hugely-talented comic, writer and avid TV, film and radio collector, who died of prostate cancer in 2003.

According to Kaleidoscope’s Christopher Perry, the event will feature Bob in some of his best-remembered programmes including ATV quiz show The Golden Shot, Mad Movies and My Pal Bob – a late ’50s BBC sitcom he co-wrote with Denis Goodwin.

These programmes have been recovered from the Bob Monkhouse collection (see Wiped story Missing TV/Radio Recoveries 2008) by Kaleidoscope, which continues its meticulous cataloguing operation of over 36,000 video tapes, not to mention film cans and audio recordings.

In addition to the programming, the event promises yet-to-be-announced special guests, afternoon tea and an auction in aid of the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation.

Fittingly, Kaleidoscope has chosen the event – to be held on Saturday, 24th October 2009 – to reveal ‘You Heard It First’, which according to Mr Perry (writing on the Missing Episodes forum here) is “the first ever publication of the full list of what has been found in the Bob Monkhouse Archive, held by Kaleidoscope, plus our usual October list of other missing material returned to TV archives.”

‘Bob’s Full House’ is being sponsored by the Monkhouse family and is to be held in the The David Lean Room of the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), London.

Entry will be free by ticket only and tickets are available from May 1st, by sending an SAE to Kaleidoscope. You can find the address here.

Closer to home, the next Kaleidoscope event is scheduled for June 6th, 2009 and will be held, as usual, in Stourbridge, West Midlands. A list of featured programmes and guests has yet to be released.

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