Saturday, December 11, 2010

Little man with a big dream

Ronnie Corbett considered giving up his dream to be in show business if he had not made it by the age of 37, according to an interview in the latest Radio Times.

Fortunately for fans of shaggy dog stories told by short men in Pringle sweaters, it was in his 37th year that Corbett got his big break on The Frost Report, met Ronnie Barker and the rest is Saturday evening history.

This gives me some reassurance as I agonise about my life's direction - three more years in which to polish my golf anecdotes and meet someone funny to hang out with - but after ten minutes' on Wikipedia (what passes for modern research in journalism) I can reveal why Corbett nearly gave up on the dream.

When he was 35, Corbett was appearing as Will Scarlett in a short-lived Robin Hood-themed musical called Twang!!

Despite a strong cast (well, Barbara Windsor and Bernard Bresslaw) and a score by Lionel Bart, creator of Oliver! (1960) and the moderately successful Blitz! (1962), who clearly thought that all you needed for a hit was a one-word title and a bit of punctuation, the play flopped and closed after three weeks.

Bart thus proved, as many people do every day on Twitter, that there is nothing that can't be made worse by adding an extra exclamation mark. Anyway, here's the title track. No wonder the 35-year-old Ronnie Corbett wondered if he was ever going to make it...

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