More for Les

Johnny Vegas could play Dawson

Johhny Vegas is being lined up to play Les Dawson in a new TV film about his life.

The BBC is planning a number of biographies of dead comics, with Little Britain’s Matt Lucas already lined up to play Benny Hill in a screenplay written by John Mortimer.

Other films about Spike Milligan, Tony Hancock and Tommy Cooper are also being considered.

Former stand-up Danny Brown has written a script based on Dawson’s life for the BBC, although nothing has been confirmed yet.

And a source close to Vegas said: “Johnny's a massive Les Dawson fan, and fingers crossed that something comes from it.”

The films, which may be presented a series, would join the nostalgic trend of tributes to bygone comics. The story of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore was the highlight of Channel 4’s New Year schedules and there have been recent stage tributes to Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and Round The Horne, with another about Milligan on the way.

BBC comedy editor Kenton Allen has said: “The people I’m looking at are iconic characters who were stars when a lot of young comedians were growing up, and loom large in their childhood.

“A lot of them – like Benny Hill, Tommy Cooper and Les Dawson – were working-class performers from nowhere to achieve huge popularity. There are pretty interesting stories there, and even if your style is completely different there are obvious similarities in lifestyle between a contemporary performer and one from the Fifties or Sixties.”

Published: 11 Jan 2005

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