Remembering Les Dawson | Ray Peacock to host three-hour tribute

Remembering Les Dawson

Ray Peacock to host three-hour tribute

Ray Peacock is to host a three-hour celebration of the work of Les Dawson.

The tribute, to air on Radio 4 Extra, will contain rare material of the comedy hero from the BBC archive, including the revealing In The Psychiatrist’s Chair interview recorded a week before his death in 1993.

There will also be an episode of his Radio 2 sketch show Listen to Les, footage of him reading his own novel, Come Back With The Wind, ad performing Marriott’s Monologues and Tubby the Tuba.

Contributors paying tribute to Dawson will include celebrity fans Ken Dodd, Neil Innes, David Nobbs, Gillian Reynolds, Robin Ince and Lee Mack.

Peacock is something of a Dawson expert, having spent many years working on a comprehensive biography of Les Dawson meeting Dawson’s colleagues and family.

He has previous contributed to several television biographies including Les Dawson’s Finest Hour for Channel 4 and The Many Faces of Les Dawson for the BBC.

He said: ‘It's been a proper surreal project to be involved in. From finding myself sat with Ken Dodd for two hours chatting about Les to sitting next to Neil Innes as he riffed Dawsonesque melodies on a piano, the whole thing has been rather dreamlike.

‘I never got to work with Les Dawson, so projects like this one are the closest I'm gonna get and I'm ridiculously grateful to BBC Radio 4 Extra for entrusting me with such an ambitious project. 

‘Les Dawson was such a massive influence on me from a very young age. He inspired me with silliness wrapped up in sulking, provoked a love of literature in me, and taught me that it is quite all right to undercut and undermine rules and regulations with mischief.’

As part of the show, Peacock took a trip to Manchester-born Dawson’s adopted home of Blackpool, visiting the memorial statue in Lytham St Annes and the archive of the Grand Theatre.

The celebration will air on Radio 4 Extra on Saturday September 14 at 9am, and repeated at 7pm.

Published: 19 Aug 2013

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