Memory Lane: Father Ted’s winning formula

Singer Edmund Hockridge with his wife Jackie, and their sons Murray and Stephen, at the Talk of the Coast
Singer Edmund Hockridge with his wife Jackie, and their sons Murray and Stephen, at the Talk of the Coast
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ENTERTAINING became a family affair for internationally-renowned Canadian baritone Edmund Hockridge, who did four seasons at North Pier between 1958 and 1965, as well as several of Harold Fielding’s Opera House Sunday concerts in the 1960s.

For on his later visits – at the Talk of The Coast in 1989 and the Grand Theatre in 1991 – Edmund, or Ted as he was known to many fans, was happy that his own considerable singing talents were enhanced by the stage presence of his wife Jackie, and their sons Murray and Stephen.

Edmund admitted to The Gazette at the time: “I really had no idea they could sing so well. What’s more, they have the sort of pop star looks that drive girls wild.

“It gives us a tremendous balance, because while Jackie and I appeal to the mums and dads, they are loved by the youngsters.

“It means we have a family show both on and off stage, which is pretty unique by any standards.”

Edmund, who died in March 2009, spent the war years in Britain with the Royal Canadian Air Force, making more than 400 Forces’ broadcasts for the BBC.

He returned to Vancouver for a broadcasting job before the BBC invited him back.

Then he landed the role of Billy Bigelow in London’s Drury Lane production of Carousel, which opened in 1950.

Edmund held the West End theatre record for having starred in four consecutive hit musicals – Carousel, Guys and Dolls, The Pajama Game and Can Can – before turning to summer season shows, becoming one of Blackpool’s most popular showbiz visitors.

Of his first appearance, The Gazette noted: “The glorious singer makes a tremendous impression with a selection which includes songs from his shows. His use of the stage, as well as his voice, is admirable.”

Edmund, who also made concert appearances on North Pier in 1970 and the Ashton Theatre, St Annes in 1976, was incredibly modest about his talent and success, insisting: “It’s amazing how things happen. I was just in the right place at the right time.”