Memory Lane: Ooh you are awful

Comedian Dick Emery as "Hettie" the frustrated spinster
Comedian Dick Emery as "Hettie" the frustrated spinster
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OOH you are awful – but a lot of people liked you...

Readers will probably recognise the affectionate turn around for the catchphrase of one of Dick Emery’s comedy creations, brassy blonde Mandy.

Another of his “ladies” was the frustrated spinster Hettie (left) who was forever on the lookout for a man.

The former driving instructor, best known to millions as a brilliant character comic thanks to his self-titled BBC TV show, was no stranger to Blackpool.

In 1960 he was in an offbeat revue at the Grand Theatre, Michael Bentine’s Don’t Shoot, We’re English.

He had twice previously appeared in the resort – in 1947 as an emerging artist in the cast of Ralph Readers summer revue Out of The Blue, at the Grand; and in 1951 in Hollywood Party, a stars doubles show at the Palace Varieties.

Dick was back in 1964 to top the bill at the Winter Gardens Pavilion in George and Alfred Black’s Five Star Family Show.

His last Blackpool summer season show was in 1976 when The Dick Emery Show played to mixed reviews at the ABC Theatre.

Audiences did not see much of his TV characters, as the entertainer spent most of his solo spot singing.

During that run, stressing that he was not an extrovert people thought he was, Dick told The Gazette: “Blackpool isn’t my ideal place for a holiday because being as well known as I am, I can’t enjoy its facilities.

“I couldn’t go down to the beach. People would inundate me, taking photographs and asking for autographs, asking me to give their child £1 because they think I can afford it!”

Dick, who died in January 1983, aged 63, had such a fear of becoming “unfunny” that it was once brought him close to quitting showbusiness until he was saved by a psychoanalyst who also treated Spike Milligan.