Chambers & Nettleton
Chris Norton Walker
Colin and Rob
Although he originally tried to break into showbusiness as a singer, with his shock of red hair 5ft1in stature and strained Cockney voice, it was perhaps inevitable that Drake would find more success as a comic.
Like many others, he concentrated on a stage career afted demob for the RAF, and he first appeared on TV in 1954 as half of a children's TV slapstick duo Mick and Montmorency, with his 6ft 4in wartime comrade Jack Edwardes
The BBC then asked him to come up with an adult show, and the result, Laughter In Store, led to others, see left, including his most famous, The Worker, as well as a few unsuccesful films.
In 1961, he fractured his skull when a slapstick stunt on his live BBC show, in which he was pulled through a bookcase and thrown through a window, went wrong - leaving him unconscious for three days. He retired from showbusiness for two years after the accident.
Best remembered for his opening catchphrase Hello My Darlings!, Drake eventuallty returned to music, starting with a genuine rock and roll cover Splish Splash, but quickly giving way to a string of novelty tracks, including, most famously My Boomerang Won't Come Back.
In the Seventies, his star faded. According to his friend Eric Sykes the work dried up after he clashed with the powerful actors' union Equity over the casting of a girl in one of his pantomimes who didn't have an Equity card. 'There aren't many people who will put their career on the line for a principle,' he wrote in hs book Comedy Heroes. 'He has all my admiration’.
Among his last appearances were supporting roles in Jim Davidson's adult pantomime, Sinderella.
He suffered a stroke in 1995 and has now retired to a nursing home on the south coast.
I loved CD, he always made me laugh. He was cheeky and unruly and often improvised whilst looking direct at the camera, and you knew he was looking at you. What a loss.
It is a mystery to me why "The Cracksman" is not on TV regularly or on DVD. It is one of the funniest films of the era. That Charlie had a bust-up with Equity may be part of the explanation. A very funny and very clever man. If you ever read these comments Charlie, best wishes from a fan.
No swearing? Have you seen him in Sinderella? Genius imho
Having just heard that Charlie is now in a nursing home, I would like to congratulate him for all the years he made us laugh, and without the necessity of swearing (as most so-called comedians do these days). I can't understand why his shows are not repeated on television. I can only presume Equity has a long memory! Anyway, best of luck in the future Charlie
Oh – what a loss from our TV is Charlie, we don't have anyone today who can anywhere near fit his shoes. If they are not swearing they won't make it today. Charlie didn't have to do that you laughed at the way he looked at the camera. Pure genius. Good wishes to you Charlie
A great comedy performer,up their with Chaplin-Wisdom-Hill.I miss seeing him on the box.
I recall Charlie Springall when we stationed at Palam, Delhi,in 1946. There was a small group , about eight I think We were doing convoys to various places in the Punjab. The man in charge was Sergeant Murphy, ex aircrew.