Freddie Starr ( born Frederick Leslie Fowell ) first made it big after appearing regularly on the '70's LWT show 'Who Do You Do?'. His first major television series was 'Freddie Starr's Variety Madhouse' but it only lasted one series ( after he quit, Russ Abbot replaced him and it became 'Russ Abbot's Saturday Madhouse' ), afterwards he moved on to do a string of stand-up shows and television specials. The best thing he ever did was this hilarious series for Central Television. It had the man performing slapstick comedy sketches, doing impressions, singing and even interviewing celebrities.
Many of the sketches were filmed in sped-up motion, with over-the-top sound effects, corny innuendo, and cheesy music, strongly reminiscent of 'The Benny Hill Show'. In fact, two of Benny's regular supporting actors, Derek Deadman and Bod Todd, both appeared here joining in the fun with Freddie.
One of my favourite sketches featured Starr as an accident prone man in a tearoom who virtually destroyed everything he touched. Another particularly brilliant sketch saw Starr impersonating the brilliant ( and sadly deceased ) Adam Faith, only for the man himself to walk on stage and angrily confront him. Adam was not the only celebrity to be sent up by Freddie though, Mick Jagger and Elvis Presley also got similar treatment.
Also hilarious was Starr's unique rendition of Don McLean's 'Vincent'. Though my favourite sketch saw Freddie enrolling in 'The Starr Olympics' who whenever performing an activity resulted in either himself or another athlete becoming seriously injured.
A number of famous names were happy to come along and be with Freddie, among them were Frank Bruno, Gloria Hunniford, Les Dennis, Graham Crowden, Norman Collier, Bella Emberg and Windsor Davies. Freddie wrote the sketches in collaboration with the show's producer, the late Dennis Kirkland. Each edition closed with Freddie sporting a cheeky grin to the camera.
After the show's conclusion, Freddie next regular series ( which turned out to be his last ) came in 1996 - the much less funnier ( and probably best forgotten ) 'The Freddie Starr Show'.
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