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Showing 1-10 of 27 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on 6 October 2008
I recently bought two books on characters who could be thought to have significant similarities,including one of their catchphrases, "Hello", and both living and working in roughly the same era. These were the autobiography of Lesley Philips,entitled "Hello" and "Bounder!". Fortunately I read "Hello" first and then "Bounder", so that I finished on a high!

The following are some of the positive aspects of "Bounder!", and possibly of many biographies over autobiographies:
There is a wealth of detail showing meticulous research, culled from a wide range of sources.
Relationships with significant characters who appear in both books, e.g. the Boulting Brothers, are seen and recorded from a detached viewpoint.
The innovative and imaginative contribution to different developing and international media (T-T in radio, fledgling UK TV and film)is much better documented.

Finally, the book is just a delight to read, through reading it T-T will be remembered by me as not just an entertainer that I enjoyed on radio and film (I missed the TV) but as an incredibly talented and creative artist, a true Alpha male, with all of an Alpha's strengths and weaknesses. His illness and death were tragic both for him and his family/friends but even in that he was a pioneer through publicising and raising the profile of Parkinsons.
His irony resounds throughout the book, as he commented he was, after all, Parkinson's first guest on his chat show.
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on 13 March 2010
From most of the films that he is known for, Terry-Thomas must surely be Britain's most lovable cad, albeit at the risk of having become something of a sterotype. The prologue in Graham McCann's biography quotes Vic Reeves declaring his hope that T-T really was a bounder and most of his fans probably share that view. This book, however, succeeds in bringing us the man behind the screen rogue and reminding those who have forgotten, or telling those who never knew, of his other achievements over and above the comic baddie.

Much is made of the great man's decline due to Parkinson's Disease and the resultant collapse in his fortunes. The full story is related here, as well as a hopeful indication that, before he died, he knew how much he was loved and appreciated around the world. On a much more positive note earlier on, however, McCann delights with the story of the transformation of the young Tom Stevens, via minor public school, dandified Smithfield Market clerk, travelling salesman and professional ballroom dancer, into Terry-Thomas. The story of his pioneering work in British television comedy is thoroughly recounted and is truly fascinating - making one feel sorry that, most TV being live in the late 40s/early 50s, no recordings survive as testament to T-T's massive contribution. The film career will be familar to most who read the book, but is related in clear form interspersed with the course of his private life - perhaps not so caddish and not, in fact, the stereotype as many might have come to expect.

This is an excellent, highly entertaining and infomative biography of a performer who deserves nothing less.
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on 25 December 2008
This is a terrific biography. As with his books on Dad's Army and Morecambe and Wise, McCann manages to write an informative yet lively book on the inimitable Terry-Thomas. He quite properly highlights T-T's true genius as a comic actor, whilst superbly capturing his zany antics and showbiz friendships through the 60s and 70s, and onto his sad demise living and dying in penury. A great read.
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on 19 January 2010
One of the films that I will always remember from growing up is "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines". The reason I love this film is not just because of the French taking the mick out of the German team but Sir Percey Ware-Armitage, the lovable British rogue who was out to win the race by nobbling as many of the competitors as possible. Sir Percy was played by Terry Thomas. Terry Thomas or TT to his friends was the architype British cad, but reading the book he was not a real cad, but loved life, good food, an excellent wardrobe and women. Taking you through from when he started in acting to when he died the book is incredibly interesting. Infact I couldnt put it down. My only criticism was that it didn't go into much detail about some of the key films he made like "Those Magnificent Men". However, the general discription, ease of reading and illustrations make up for this. I definantly recommend this.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 4 November 2014
This frightfully fine book about the man from Finchley (a mile or so from where I was born) whose whole persona was dreamed up when a very young man, and whose whole manner, voice, acting style and presence was a unique bonus to any of the many British and American films in which he appeared, is an engrossing read and does full justice to this treasure of a man.
Terry-Thomas was a more accomplished actor than he was often given credit for, who rarely looked like he was acting, and even when playing high - or low - comedy, invariably played it with a truthfulness and a kind of ebullient, enthusiastic integrity. (One or two of the Carry On stars could have learnt a lot from him in that respect.)
I learnt so much I didn't know about this amazing, implausible man, particularly about his early life. For example, he was the first comedian who had a featured show on the BBC, in the forties, not long after its inception.
He made a lot of people's lives the richer for his mere presence, including the many thousands who relished his film performances. The final chapters are all the sadder for that, the ignominious, tragic end to his mostly joyous life hard to read about after so much laughter and gap-toothed mayhem.
I loved Terry-Thomas, and after reading this I think you will too.

Highly recommended - whether you're 'an absolute shower' or not!
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on 10 January 2010
Really loved this book - for introducing me to T-T's role in British TV in the 1950s, and his international profile. Many may be aware of these already, but I had little idea, and the details help to really understand who he was at the time. It seems he was almost too generous to others and maybe as a result wasn't considered for more leading roles, which is a shame. But we can still enjoy the perfect pitch of many supporting roles. His decline with Parkinsons disease is heartbreaking.
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on 16 August 2009
I enjoyed this book immensely. I am not old enough to remember Terry-Thomas in his pomp, being a child of the 70's, but knew him through films such as 'Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines', 'How To Murder Your Wife' and 'School For Scoundrels' all cheerfully watched on rainy Sunday afternoons as a kid.
Boy did I have my eyes opened to this likeable, brilliant and much loved star. Admired by his fellow professionals on both sides of the Atlantic as a person and a performer, and a ground breaker in early television comedy that saw his influence on subsequent comedy acts from Monty Python to Ronnie Corbett to The Fast Show.
You may be familiar with the man as a contemporary of the 40's, 50's and 60's or not as a film watching kid of the 70's like myself, but you will wish above all to have been a friend of such an amazing person as T-T.
An excellent read, very informative, and very amusing.
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on 10 August 2012
This is a thoroughly engrossing study of a man who, to those like myself who grew up in the Fifties and Sixties, was part of our background. He was the quintessential rotter, the cad who was always looking out for number one, the man whose grin was always a little too wide and whose blazers always a little bit too sharp. No matter what kind of rogue he played, he did however always have you on his side. That was part of his magic. He enhanced every film he appeared in.

Despite his on-screen familiarity, I knew very little about him. And I count myself as a movie buff of that era. The book reveals a man of considerable depth, of a talent that was broader than most of us realised, and whose end was a tragic one. I am now, having read "Bounder", searching through YouTube for all the clips of the great T-T that I can find.
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on 28 May 2011
I read this book in hospital recovering from a leg op.and found it very entertaining (which I needed), and informative. Although I have always enjoyed Terry's performances, I suspected that beneath the posh exterior he was probably a typically shallow showbiz fellow. How wrong I was, not only was he a reliable friend, but he almost singly fashioned radio and TV comedy into what it later became. The reason this is not commonly known is because his shows went out live, so they only exist now in script form. Of course there isn't a happy ending to all this due to his illness later in life, but it was a measure of how well he was liked that his peers contributed to a fund to make his last days more comfortable.
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on 10 March 2013
I`'ve always liked T-T, GAP-toothed grin,the twinkling eye,the very essence of the English gent,sometimes gallant,sometime sneaky but always light hearted and genuine,the book made me laugh quietly with him during his many tales of his fame and fortune and brought me near to tears as Parkinson's took hold of him in his later years,but he was not abandoned by his ever faithful wife and his many true friends and his legacy to the world of comedy will live on in his many performances.
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