June Whitfield, comedy legend

Actress to receive festival accolade

June Whitfield is to be honoured with the first Comedy Legend award to be given out by Bristol’s Slapstick festival of vintage humour.

The star of Ab Fab, Terry & June and Tony Hancock’s Blood Donor episode will received the accolade at the festival in January. The award is jointly presented by Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations, who are also based in the city.

The festival, which runs from January 24 to 27, also feature Barry Cryer, Dara O Briain, Ian Lavender, Lucy Porter and all three Goodies – many of them introducing classic silent films from the likes of Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and Marion Davies – best known as the long-time mistress of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

O Briain is hosting the festival’s Friday night gala – which includes the UK premiere of a rare colour version of the classic 1902 film A Trip to the Moon by Georges Meliés. The only original hand-coloured print to survive was discovered in 1993, and painstakingly restored, finally getting its first public screening in Cannes last year.

In a separate event, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie reunite for a look back at rarely-seen scenes from their TV series. There will also be an audience with Whitfield and a ‘best of’ I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue session, marking 40 years of the antidote to panel games.

Festival director Chris Daniels said: ‘As ever, the 2013 programme provides a chance to meet some of today’s top comedy performers and find out which past professionals they most admire or have found inspiring. We’re really thrilled by our latest guest list. It reads like a Who’s Who of comedy talent.’

Published: 30 Nov 2012

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