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Frank Skinner makes George Formby documentary

Frank Skinner is to examine the life of George Formby in a one-off documentary for BBC Four.

The comic is a big fan of his prolific banjolele-strumming forebear, who made 19 films and more than 200 records, including the innuendo-laden With My Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock, which was so rude it was banned by the BBC.

Skinner interviewed fellow fans, attended Formby conventions and visited his grave in Warrington as part of the documentary, which will air on October 27as part of BBC Four’s music hall season.

Producer and director Daniel Wiles has previously said: ‘Frank was given a ukulele for his 50th birthday by David Baddiel. He learnt to play and has performed songs as part of his stand-up routine.

‘Frank is a genuine George Formby fan and suggested doing a programme on him because Formby had such an interesting life.’

Formby was one of comedy’s first megastars, earning the equivalent of £3 million a year, more than 80 years ago, much of it thanks to the efforts of his formidable manager and wife Beryl – who once told South African politician Daniel François Malan, the architect of apartheid: ‘Why don't you piss off you horrible little man?"

Skinner believes Formby’s music is what makes him so enduring, saying: ‘As long as ukuleles exist people will come to George Formby conventions to watch those solos: every little move of the finger, every little twitch of the wrist.  We all want to play like that and that will keep George Formby’s memory alive forever.’

Here is Skinner playing musical tribute to Formby on a recent edition of QI.

Posted: 12 Oct 2011

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