Frankie Howerd's deathbed apology

'I have been difficult, I know'

Frankie Howerd made a deathbed apology for being so difficult to work with, a new documentary reveals.

Television producer Trevor McCallum, who was the last person to talk to the comedian before he died on April 18, 1992, has revealed his last words for the Radio 2 programme Titter Ye Not.

He revealed they chatted for about 40 minutes in Howerd’s London home about two hours before he died

‘It was almost as if he was atoning for all the things that he had done that had made people’s lives a little miserable, saying, “I have been difficult I know and I am sorry about that.” I didn’t say a word because I was so taken aback.’

McCallum says Howerd’s last words were: ‘Well, I’m just going to have a little lie down before I do the journey in the car to Somerset’ – a reference to his country home, Wavering Down House

The documentary also features an interview Griff Rhys Jones, who remembers Howerd being brusque when he stepped in as a producer for The Frankie Howerd Variety Show.

Rhys Jones remembers Howerd barking: ‘What happened to the old one?’

Told the producer had had a nervous breakdown, the comic saidd said: ‘Well I hope no one thinks I had anything to do with it.’

Comedy writer Maurice Gran described Howerd – who battled with alcohol as well as his secret homosexuality – as ‘a morose old bugger’.

  • Comedy Greats: Titter Ye Not – The Frankie Howerd Story is on BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday at 10.30pm

Published: 13 Sep 2009

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