Tim Brooke-Taylor looks back at Harrogate Theatre

Tim Brooke-Taylor.
Tim Brooke-Taylor.

Interview by Graham Chalmers

Having chosen its rising star earlier this week with the help of the Harrogate Advertiser, it’s the turn of a quiet giant of British comedy to headline Harrogate Comedy Festival this weekend.

Mickey P Kerr.

Mickey P Kerr.

Star of The Goodies and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, Tim Brooke-Taylor is bringing hilarious tales and rare TV footage of his incredible 50 years in comedy to Harrogate Theatre tomorrow, Friday, October 16.

Meanwhile, a face familiar to music fans from gigs in Ripon in recent years won this year’s Harrogate Comedy Festival New Comedian of the Year Award.

Indie-acoustic singer Mickey P Kerr, who has played numerous major festivals and recorded a live set on BBC Radio One, triumphed on Monday night in a final sponsored by Harrogate independent brewers Daleside.

Leeds-based Kerr’s assured and relaxed mix of one-liners, poetry and songs certainly impressed judges Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser, Vincent Staunton of Daleside and Alex B Cann of Stray FM.

He narrowly defeated promising newcomers such as Rod Shepherd Conspiracy Theorist and the sharp-tongued Richard Massara, though the real star, as always, was fearless compere Danny Duggan.

As for Tim Brooke-Taylor, he told the Harrogate Advertiser his show was a rare chance to see clips from his career in top TV and radio shows from the early 1960s onwards.

As a man who starred in The Goodies and wrote scripts for the likes of Spike Milligan, Tim Brooke Taylor has quietly influence most of British comedy history from the days he would listen to Round the Horne on the radio as a teenager.

At the age of 75, this jovial, quietly-spoken veteran is happy to admit to being as boyish as ever .

“In my head I am still a boy, just not in my body.”

Now best known for being a regular member of the long-running BBC Radio 4 panel game I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, he says the show’s regulars still miss its original presenter, the late Humphrey Lyttleton whose last-ever appearance was at Harrogate International Centre.

“Jack Dee is fantastic but we can still hear Humph’s voice uttering filthy lines.

“Actually, I’d better say uttering ‘double entendres’.

“He was irreplaceable - until we replaced him.

“Some people said ‘you can’t carry on without Humph’ but, eventually, we said ‘why not try?’”

Friday night’s show is sure to be a treasure trove of clips and memories.

Tim said: “The BFI have just found footage of an unseen sketch from At Last The 1948 Show recently in Sweden or somewhere like that.

“There’s me and John Cleese with Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman. It’s great fun to watch it again.

“The audience are certainly going to get their money’s worth. If they don’t, they can claim it back from Chris Serle who will be asking the questions on Friday night!”

Other shows coming up in the final weekend of this year’s Harrogate Comedy Festival include The Thinking Drinkers Guide and Morgan Berry tonight, Thursday, Andrew Lawrence tomorrow, Friday and the Hyena Lounge Comedy Club Closing Gala on Saturday.