Good British Comedy Writers – George Layton

If there is just one matter that we are unsuccessful to acknowledge in this nation is our happy heritage. I understand the usefulness and even the benefits to acquiring a castle at each and every transform, a dysfunctional Royal Loved ones, a series of getting rid of sports activities teams and a prolific skill to solid apart some of the finest entertainers who have ever graced our screens, to the other aspect of the earth. Still there is a sure breed of Englishman who entertains us each individual 7 days who goes silently unnoticed. Every week in several circumstances – they make us snicker, cry, feel about ourselves and even be moved when we witness their craft.

It has occurred to me that there is a little something gravely erroneous in the items that we appreciate. Although I have been keen to keep abreast with the ins and outs of comedy above the very last forty many years in some, socially staved, passion of mine, it has appear to my recognize in my results that there are some greats in the environment of showbiz who are, or have, long gone suitable passed us with no as substantially as a mere thank you from us, allow alone a knighthood. I promptly imagine of Eric Sykes, who back in the late Fifties shared a cramped place of work someplace in a corner of Shepherds Bush with the manic and relatively not known, Spike Milligan. A picture forms in my head of these two young, nonetheless to be discovered geniuses with sleeves rolled up, frantically scribbling away on little desks, banging out foolish skits to make a several quid. This romantic notion has stayed with me and without end haunts me to the issue that I sense these heroes will continue on to die off with out, what I take into consideration, a first rate more than enough tribute. Dare I say it, we will get rid of the final a single of that certain partnership with out so a lot as a touch of the Queen’s sword on his shoulders if we are not also very careful.

So what is it that helps make, as a state, so unreflecting to admit the tricky doing work, sweating, sore fingered writers who have offered us such common comedy above the decades, still we are speedy to rejoice their accomplishments, but not the source from whence they arrived? We are fond of remarking on some wonderful lollipop lady who often saves the lives of hundreds of squashed hedgehogs all more than Derbyshire, or the smaller youngster who miraculously put out the blazing inferno that would have perished his college experienced he not been the only just one to be fast imagining. These beings all show courage in the confront of one thing along the lines of adversity but not 1 take note of recognition 2 times a yr goes to the final remaining couple of a technology now fading away. The persons who make us giggle. I apologise for not acknowledging Midge Ure for one more accolade in the battle from Establishing Earth poverty, but ample is more than enough. Sir Geldof only ever had one hit history…

Onward I vacation and delve into the pits of comedy to discover out who was actually behind arching sides, chesty coughs and stamping of ft., (well, that is what I do when I chuckle,) and mark a small tribute of my individual…

The problem comedy writer weaves a tangled website of laughter, tears and observation beyond our very own every day problems. We may possibly not even like what we see, even stay away from it or look at one thing else, but that is the probability they take. The writer may possibly treatment not to use his intellect with equivalent interest as the director or the producer may possibly, for it is the task of the script author to cast the magic and permit us in to a spouse and children or a situation in which we, from time to time really feel at household. We befriend their characters who we both adore or dislike. We sympathize with them, agree or disagree with them – possibly way, we might delight in their business, secure in the expertise that they will, if everything, simply make us smile. I will assure we have all, at some issue in our lives tuned in to minimal 50 % and hour programme each week to be eagerly entertained by a series of fictional characters in their hilarious situations. We are eager to indulge in a dribble additional of their misfortunes or their everyday responsibilities peppered with unconventional pitfalls. Nonetheless what is the attractiveness of the typical predicament comedy? A single issue that appears more powerful than the relaxation is the realisation that these programmes replicate, really deeply, our have life.


A specified younger jobbing actor arrived onto the scene by the stage striding faculty of RADA, hoping for a existence treading the boards or tripping above the camera wires. Back in the heady days of the Sixties, actors located a area of interest on tv in which they could, if they managed it, held work by hopping in and out of one serial to an additional. The planet of the BBC was full of serials, be them straight or amusing. A multitude of ‘family’ dependent sit coms had been using form, hence holding a broad greater part of basic actors in foods and heat. Numerous stayed fairly satisfied in the their slight roles, not wanting to go any even more out into the gloom. Other individuals struck gold in what the outdated darlings expression as ‘big crack.’ In this article, we uncover actors who then change into stars, and potentially discover grasping the reins even a lot more remarkable than just sitting down on the horse.

A person of these specific up and coming actors was George Layton. Yorkshire born, he experienced a twinkling smile and a charming tone. With these attributes at his disposal, he swiftly discovered himself in the initial knicker wetting collection full of all the greatest twinkling smiles on Television set – ‘Doctor In The House.’ Layton fitted in properly along side other Television hopefuls, Richard O’Sullivan, Barry Evans and Robin Nedwell. All making the most of good, typical comedies during the Seventies. It appeared that this show, even so, was somewhat cursed. Two of the afore mentioned actors died below tragic situations although Mr O’Sullivan now spends his daily life in a retirement home. From time to time the lifestyle of the comedy actor, is the one particular that has the least amount of money of laughs.

Stepping absent from the limelight to a place, Layton went about composing some of the scripts for the exhibit. Daring to split the unwritten legislation of ‘decide which stop of the digicam you want son, and adhere to it,’ Layton could not bare to make a preference. Acquiring all-around this he started writing episodes for ‘Doctor In The House’ underneath a distinctive name. By this, he discovered but a further string to his bow, and serials immediately adopted although performing, or in-among pieces. Still the pan adhere was to simply call for complete time motivation all over again. Jimmy Perry observed Layton as the Military Live performance Social gathering producer that he far too, when was therefore the job of ‘Bombardier ‘Solly’ Solomons in ‘It Ain’t ‘Arf Warm Mum,’ went to the beautifully expert George.

Leaving just after the 2nd series, he experienced presently began operate on an additional comedy clearly show. In the course of his job he had established up on and off producing home in the corporation of fellow actor, writer and old Cambridge Footlights member, Jonathan Lynn. Adhering to in parallels with the legendary Croft and Perry, the pair manufactured small comedies, but not as extremely acknowledged as the Croft/Perry collaborations. Notably, it was Lynn who went on to create and immediate the incredible ‘Clue,’ with Tim Curry and the humorous film comedy ‘Nun’s On The Run,’ with Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane. Like his counterpart Layton, Lynn dared by no means to sit down and stored pursuing his individual path from just one expertise to a further.

The Seventies was a time when after your deal with fitted amongst the combined veg and the pastries in the BBC canteen, you were being capable to unfold by yourself all over the creating round table. Lots of actors and budding script writers lent a hand, credited or or else, in a whole host of other displays. Potentially it can be mentioned that the Pythons were the biggest contenders for this kind of scribbling antics that people today followed suit. Messer’s Idle and Cleese were among the the pros previously trying their hand at radio as perfectly as Tv.

In a sport in which every person had after labored with everyone else, the doorways have been open up to attempt a hand at a bit below and a bit there. Layton located himself brushing comical shoulders with the most effective writers of the time, a single of which, he was expanding promptly into. His credits highlighted, ‘On The Buses,’ and ‘Robin’s Nest,’ naming the most unforgettable two. Still his real accomplishment arrived with the back breaking 39 episodes of the medical comedy, ‘Don’t Wait around Up.’ Enlisting movie actor, Nigel Havers and veteran comedy father determine, ‘Tony Britten,’ the display as a warming connection involving father , son and viewers. Exhibiting us a situation that could very well be common with it can be viewers, Layton touched on the highs and lows of a family members thrown jointly and at the exact same time, thrown aside, striving to get back with each other. The two Latimer Doctors, father and son (a single private, a person NHS respectively) uncover themselves in a flat with each other soon after both getting divorced. The functioning topic of this amazing series was the conflicting relationship among the two generations the two practising what the other objects to. Total of pathos, emotion and standard farcical British humour, it was an quick strike appealing to both classes. One admiring the similarities in their fellow associates, the other, poking exciting at the larger classes.

In direction of the stop of it’s operate which uncovered both of those medical professionals locating on their own in happier interactions, Layton was currently functioning his up coming task. In his standard fashion, he has labored on two at a time around lapping, in extraordinary continuity, two wholly distinctive scripts at the very same time. This time, what minor he had to spare, was moved into the direction of higher traveling ITV sit-com, ‘Executive Anxiety,’ an satisfying scenario of a profitable couple getting them selves doing the job jointly immediately after a long time of supporting their have occupations starring Penelope Keith and Geoffrey Palmer (sequence one particular) and Peter Bowles (series 2 onwards.) Keith and Bowles, now had shared excellent credibility from ‘To The Manor Born.’

If none of this had been more than enough to be credited as one of the most favoured, all spherical actors of equally phase, film and tv and one of the finest recognised British comedy writers, then it was also not astonishing that George Layton has managed to match in theatre course throughout the country on to his c.v as nicely as author of two perfectly received novels of developing up in submit war Northern Britain. Are their no ends to these abilities?

His theatre credits have involved Fagin in ‘Oliver!’ at the London Palladium and Felix in ‘The Odd Pair,’ at the Theatre Royal in Windsor – two characters of extreme attributes that couldn’t be any more apart in regard to acting demands. Just these two roles on their own, can conjure up a picture of an actor who is extra than capable of realising authentic performing identities in just himself. London’s West Close, has normally not been the only boards he has treaded. Australia and New York as well, of training course! Effectively, what did you count on? Lots of strings to the bow as well as a non avoidance to air vacation would have to be all section of the course if a single wanted to adhere to in his footwear. For any young, enthusiastic script writer, he is not only a squint producing dot in the sky, but a daily life that really handful of would look at making an attempt to match…

So what following for the restless career of this gentleman who is only a youthful and sprightly 64 this yr? He has lately created one more ebook (with the doing work title of ‘The Guarantee And Other Stories,’) and a comedy drama series for tv called, ‘The Boys.’ It would seem that we are but to continue to delight in the perform of George Layton – the man who are not able to sit however.

Closing Thought…

As all the ideal writers and performers are irritatingly the minimum smug and the most modest and George Layton is no exception. However regarded as a good guy, though way too tough doing the job, he sits again comfortably and is mildly contented with his do the job so much. It would appear all the best writers abide by this rule, (sweat like a canine over the typewriter, just don’t notify anyone about it).

A short while ago for the BBC 1 sequence, ‘Comedy Connections,’ showcasing ‘Don’t Hold out Up,’ he beamed when he claimed ‘No 1 admires my do the job a lot more than I do!’ Indeed, this statement does circulation with the milk of human smugness, but if any individual justifies to be, it is writers like George Layton. The men and women who refuse to retire. (If only Des O’ Connor would….)

The record of his achievements to date, is far as well long to print here. (George Layton that is, not Des O’Connor…)

Pleased Birthday Mr Layton for March the 2nd.

‘Don’t Wait around Up,’ can be identified on DVD from (sequence I and II) for £10.97
Also at for £11.98 and HMV I, II and III for £11.99 sent.
‘Doctor In The House’ collection I and II together on for £29.98
HMV for £16.99 (I and II)

©Michelle Hatcher (sam1942 on dooyoo) 2007