King of camp is given a new lease of life

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Look at the muck in ’ere. All the catchphrases of the late, great Larry Grayson, no stranger to Blackpool in his comic heyday, will be back on the Fylde coast later this month.

It’s all down to one-quarter of Jonathan Ross studio favourites 4 Poofs and a Piano – Ian Parkin.

He’s out to bring Slack Alice and Everard back to life in a behind-the-scenes look at TV presenter Larry.

His show Three Days and Three Minutes takes the audience of Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion backstage to Larry’s last performance in 1994 at the Royal Variety Show, when the camp comedian befriended a spiritual healer Mark to help him get his three-minute act together.

Mark is played by Manchester-based comedian Lee Peart, who has hosted Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend main stage for the past three years and performs as a warm-up for the Jeremy Kyle Show.

Ian, who portrays Larry, says the Generation Game host’s personal life took a back seat to his public persona in an age when presenters could not be openly gay.

The Grayson family opened up archives for researchers and give an often touching insight into the man behind the much loved entertainer.

It’s a labour of love for Ian, who met Larry once.

“I was about 22 years old and in a summer season at the Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth and he came to do a Sunday concert,” he says.

“We went to see him after the show and he was utterly charming, funny and a delight. He shut himself in the stage door keeper’s office, which had a slide up window, and he stayed there for ages chatting to us and a long line of people waiting for his autograph. I don’t know how long he was there because we had to leave but apparently, he didn’t leave until he’d signed everybody’s programme.”

It made a real impression on the young entertainer: “I was a big fan of Larry’s and I admire stand-up comedians, so I found the idea of exploring how a comedian might prepare for an appearance on a Royal Variety Show really interesting. Thankfully, neither the writer nor the director wanted an impersonation of Larry.”

The show’s on April 27. Tickets £15.50 adult, £14 concessions.