Barry Cryer

Barry Cryer

Date of birth: 23-03-1935

While appearing in university revue, Barry was offered a week's work at the famous City Varieties Theatre, where he was spotted by a London agent.

His variety work led him to the Windmill Theatre in London, a legendary school for comedians, whose graduates include Sir Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers.

After seven months of six shows a day, six days a week, he left to appear in Expresso Bongo, a musical satirising pop music, and started making records. He was once Number One in Finland.

He then started writing for revues at the Fortune Theatre and for Danny La Rue.

While doing this, he met David Frost who invited him to join the writing roster on The Frost Report.

He has writtengags for some of the true legends of comedy, including Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Stanley Baxter, Dick Emery, Dave Allen, Les Dawson, Bob Hope, George Burns, the Two Ronnies, Kenny Everett, Sir Harry Secombe, Billy Connolly, Jasper Carrott and Richard Pryor.

He was made an OBE for services to comedy drama in 2001.

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© Steve Ullathorne

Barry Cryer pays tribute to comedy greats

...in a new series for Sky Arts

Barry Cryer is to celebrate some of the Giants of Comedy who he’s worked with in a new series for Sky Arts.

Comedy Legends will commemorate the lives and careers of stars including Tommy Cooper, Ronnie Barker, Joan Rivers, Bob Hope, Kenny Everett, Frankie Howerd and Morecambe and Wise.

Cryer, 83, has been involved in comedy since his student days at Leeds University, and got his big break when David Frost saw him at Danny La Rue’s London nightclub and recruited him to the writing team of The Frost Report, which also included John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman.

His most regular writing partner was John Junkin, pictured with him above, with whom he wrote for Morecambe and Wise. He also wrote for Kenny Everett with  Ray Cameron, father of Michael McIntyre

Cryer

Cryer has also written for Dave Allen, George Burns, Les Dawson, Dick Emery, Bruce Forsyth, Spike Milligan and many more’ while his performing career includes hosting the 1970s panel show Jokes Wild and being a regular panellist on Radio 4’s I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue since it began in 1972. 

Comedy Legends has been made by 3DD Entertainment, whose other credits include Murder Maps and Hitler’s Olympics for UKTV’s Yesterday channel.

Others contributing to the ten-part series, which starts on October 10, includes Tony Hawks Clive Anderson, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Steve Punt and Sunday Times comedy critic Stephen Armstrong.

Sky Arts has just started screening the second series of CNN’s History Of Comedy from the US, too, with the second episode airing at 9pm this Wednesday focussing on sketch comedy from Monty Python's Flying Circus to Saturday Night Live.

The full list of Comedy Legends episodes is:

1. Tommy Cooper

2. Frankie Howerd

3. Kenny Everett

4. Joan Rivers

5. Bob Hope

6. Ronnie Barker

7. Morecambe & Wise

8. Jack Benny

9. George Burns

10. Phyllis Diller

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Published: 3 Sep 2018

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