Tuesday 14 April 2020

Roy Hudd and the Elephant's Bottom

I had meant to write about the great Roy Hudd when I read the sad news of his death last month, but somehow I didn't at the time. He was one of the nicest men in a business (show) that's not exactly abounding in them, and the only one I knew in my reviewing days who would always send a thank-you message (handwritten letter or postcard) whenever I spoke well of him. Which was quite often, as he was a very talented actor, both comic and serious.
  Hudd's first love, of course, was music hall, and I was delighted to hear him talking about this enthusiasm, and his life in general, on last night's Front Row (Radio 4 – an interview from the archives, obviously). Hudd was brought up in wartime by his Gran, in Croydon – the best start in life for any child, he says, as your Gran is 'the softest touch' you'll ever find. His Gran's highest term of praise for any entertainer she found amusing was 'He's a silly bugger', so when Roy achieved the 'silly bugger' accolade for a boyhood stage performance, he was more thrilled than he ever was by any subsequent review.
  Gran also introduced him to a music hall song that was her particular favourite – 'The Hole in the Elephant's Bottom'. I must admit this was a new one to me, so I was soon rooting around on YouTube. The song exists, I discovered, in many forms and at different lengths, but pride of place must surely go to Mr Hudd's own version –

And then there's this curiosity – no less a showbiz luminary than Mr Jeremy Irons delivering a splendidly straight-faced rendition of a slightly different version:

Follow that.

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