Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" an old scriptwriter and laughter-maker called Jeremy Lloyd

Jeremy, acclaimed film and tv comedy writer who once said "I would sing and dance and without any training. I never had training for acting, writing or anything", has died at the age of 84.

What you possibly didn't know about Jeremy the child, that he :

* was born in Danbury, Essex in 1930, to a Mother who had danced on stage as a Tiller Girl' and always believed she had danced on the London stage in the late 1920s with Fred Astaire in 'Evergreen' and 'Blue Skies' and who had "wanted to rush her off to America", when in reality the first was a 1936 film which he didn't star in and the second a 1946 film in which he did, and so, perhaps, did not need to muse in later life that he'd "loved to have asked him what went on between them ? "

* believed, that instead of going to America, his Mother "married my father, and I arrived, extraneous to requirements, and was shipped out when I was about one-and-a- half to Manchester, to live with my elderly Grandmother and I was brought up by her occasionally seeing his Father who introduced him to people as the son of bandleader Joe Loss with : "You've heard of Joe Loss? Well, this is my son - dead loss." "

Jeremy the teenager, that he :

* packed off to boarding school where he spent "quite the unhappiest days of my life", where puny, large of nose and wearing glasses with one glass blacked out to help his 'lazy eye', he was bullied until at the age of 13 in 1943, during the Second World War, was told by his Father, a petroleum engineer, who apparently became a colonel during the War and a man who made him cry asking maths questions he couldn't answer : "As you can't learn anything at school, you're leaving" and was placed into a home for "retired old generals and naval people which was a wonderful experience, you were left on your own a lot and that was rather good as you had a lot of time to think" and later thought "it was the best result" he could have had and was "a stronger person as a result " and "probably 'improved' my accent from Manchester to posh southern."

* back with his Grandmother, worked variously to keep both of them as a metal sorter in Watford foundry, a road digger for a company of plumbers and a paint salesman  who, at the age of 19 in 1949 "was up factory chimneys and down the drains and shipyards of London selling industrial paint and I survived it all." 

Jeremy the young man in his twenties in the 50s, that he :
* saw the film, 'Down Amongst The Zed Men' and "thought if that's comedy then I think I can have a go at that. While I was supposed to be selling paint I was busy, writing in my report book, a big a film script" and in 1958 at the age of 28, phoned the American film producer for the Rank Organisation at Pinewood Studios, from a public phonebox.

* said to 66 year old, Earl St. John : "Look, my name's Jeremy Lloyd and I've written a film and been turned away at the gate and I don't know how you make movies", put forward his idea of a story based in the Loch Ness Monster and got himself invited to tea, where surrounded by directors and producers was introduced by Earl with : "Mr Lloyd's going to read you a very amusing film script"  to which he replied ""I am" and I read the whole thing and he said "Crikey, that's just what we want for Adam Faith" and finished the 1950s with his first and minor film part playing 'Dingle' in the film comedy, 'School for Scoundrels' in 1959.

Jeremy in his thirties in the 1960s, that he :

* after 'What A Whopper!', and credited with it being 'based on an idea by Trevor Peacock and Jeremy Lloyd' : , met Jon Pertwee at a party who said "My writer's left me, will you write for me, I'm on Six-Five Special next week?" and having secured the job rang his predecessor, said : "I've got your job and I don't know how to do it. I'll give you half the money" and after being shown the ropes, wrote successfully for two years :

  * started writing for tv director, Brian Tesler on 'New Look' for Bruce Forsyth and Lionel and Joyce Blair at the Wood Green Empire and at the same time wrote for Eamonn Andrews and the kid's show, 'Crackerjack' (left) and then, while writing for the 'Billy Cotton Band Show', started tv acting because "they were looking for an idiot in a bowler hat who could speak well as opposed to Billy Cotton who was all sort of 'meat and veg'. And so I would go on and do stunts, fencing, wrestling, anything. The most unlikely person to be doing it. "

* in 1962 played Dewberry Jnr in the film comedy 'We Joined the Navy' : and '63, was offered the role of the homosexual master in 'The Servant' by Joseph Losey, who said : "I just know you'd be perfect in this film", but turned it down because "suddenly thought that I wasn't really good enough for it." and later reflected that his decision to stick to writing "turned out to be a far better thing emotionally because I'm not being bossed about by anybody or told what to do or told that I'm ' crap' and I get residuals which I wouldn't have done as an actor. So I'm very happy."

* became a member of The Beatles inner circle of friends and agreed to take part in 'A Hard Day's Night' in 1964, when asked : "Do you mind appearing and dancing with Ringo?" and in 1965,"Then I did "the next one Help! as well. I had some dialogue in Help! But they were just for fun really" as was playing Dr Lambert Symington in the comedy, 'Doctor in Clover' in 1966 :  

* found his most satisfying venture was the West End stage show of his children’s poems set to music by Jim Parker and when seen by emissary of the Archbishop of Canterbury, received the request : "All your animals, they'd be great to tell the story of the gospels for children. Would you write something that I can use on Christmas sermons?" responded and saw it go around the world, with a tour in America with it and reflected that "It was an amazing success and I think the best thing I ever did" and saw it published by Faber with a forward by the Archbishop.

* recalled that, before engineering himself a job writing for Rowan and Martin in the USA in 1969, he'd "had a taste of fame in America. 5000 letters a week, all from girls and some with saucy photos!" then, when answering the phone in an agent's office, found : "It was the Rowan and Martin show producer George Schlatter who said "It's my last day tomorrow in London and I'm desperately looking for a writer/actor and do you have anybody?" And I said "The best possible person you could get is Jeremy Lloyd and we handle him."
* writing and appearing on 'Rowan and Martins's Laugh-In', where they loved his patrician, upper-class depiction of an Englishman, "worked with all the best people. Danny Kaye, Goldie Hawn, Roger Moore, Sammy Davis, Sinatra, Bing Crosby. People were queuing up to get on the show, including Ronald Reagan who was Governor of California at the time."

Jeremy in his forties in the 1970s, that he :

* described the genesis of 'Are You Being Served ?' in 1972 when he was 42, as having originated when he returned from America with his wife, Joanna Lumley without much money because they "didn't actually pay you very much you just got a lot of fame. I was desperate to do something and Joanna said "You must think of something you know" and I said "I worked at Simpsons for a while, I could do something about a store" and based on his experience of working in Simpsons of Picadilly, attracted audiences of up to 22 million and went on,over the next thirteen years, to write 70 episodes.

Jeremy in his fifties in the 1980s, that he :

* in 1980 was behind the hit record 'Captain Beaky' which went to number 5 and led to spin offs in the shape of two books of poetry, a West End musical and a pantomime.

* after working for ten years with David Croft, was looking for a new idea and phoned him with one about the French Resistance to which he said : "My God, that's a good idea, can we start tomorrow?" and recalled "so we wrote 'Allo 'Allo! I didn't deliberately nick Secret Army, I just thought it was a very good setting. A cafe where everybody had to come with a problem. Like Are You Being Served? people had to come in, but a much wider range of things could happen in France" and went on to write 90 episodes between 1982 and '92 when he was sixty-two.

* had his spin-off of 'Are You Being Served ?, 'Grace and Favour' aired in 1992 and in 1993 at the age of 63, published his autobiography. 'Listen Very Carefully, I Shall Say This Only Once'.
 * once said : "I'm hopeful that people will realise in the end that everybody, whatever colour, creed or religion they are - we're all the same people. And that if we don't get on together then it's never going to be right."

and :       "You've just got to have great optimism."
"I'm one of the luckiest 'nearly orphans' in the world."

* read 'Teddy's Teatime' from Captain Beaky :

Unaware he's been abandoned,
That this is not the nursery cot.
The hills and sea just glass, old papers,
On a disused rubbish plot.

A telephone that no one answers,
Empty tins that once held tea.
The clock that still says nearly tea time,
Where can all the children be?

For ages now he's lain unwanted,
Saluting with a threadbare paw.
He'll never know he's been discarded,
'Till the clock reads after four.

Don't tell him that the clock is broken,
As long as Teddy doesn't know.
It will always soon be tea time,
As it was so long ago.

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