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Likeable autobigraphy of a sixties icon
on 26 February 2007
When people talk about icons of the Sixties the names usually mentioned are the likes of Lennon & McCartney, Jagger & Richard and Bob Dylan. As a boy growing up then I maintain that you should add to that list the names Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Connor and Leslie Phillips. As much as anything the saucy postcard humour of the Carry On and Doctor films defined the era. Back in the fifties British comedy films tended to be on the tame side but the Carry On and Doctor films changed all that.
Even today these films are often repeated on TV and remain popular. That is why even though Leslie Phillips as carved out an impressive career as a serious actor I for one will always think of him in is comedy persona - that of the upper-class, slightly lecherous, predatory male. To a degree, in this book Leslie Phillips writes a little like that too, as too many times his descriptions of the women he as worked come across as being a bit over lascivious. That is my only complaint about this book though, as I found it very entertaining and would highly recommend it.
Of particular interest to me were chapters about his early life in Tottenham, where because (or maybe despite) money was short his mother enrolled him at the Italia Conti stage school, and his days in the army during the war, where after qualifying to become an officer he was invalided out on health grounds.
As theatrical autobiographies go this book is very good.