33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
An Engaging Genuinely Funny Man,
This review is from: The Trials and Triumphs of Les Dawson (Hardcover)
Louis Barfe's in depth well-researched biography of Les Dawson is a tribute to its subject as well as its author. Humble upbringing in Collyhurst, Manchester, taking jobs wherever they came, national service, learning piano and trying singing, life deposited him in civvy street. His early round of the venues saw him as a frustrated filler in of comedy.
Aged 25, he pondered on his future. Johnny Ball worked on the same circuit and describes Les as being 'one of the lads' on stage and off, as funny in the bar as not (apparently if he was not buying). The big break was 'Opportunity Knocks' in 1967 (aged 36 and a veteran of the clubs). A huge hit, within 2 years 'Sez Les' was peaktime television. Loved by the public and fellow artists (John Cleese loved him, Bernard Manning did not,says a lot). Les Dawson played his infamous mother-in-law jokes, facial contortions as Ada but was much more (Mr Guerner, boxing jaw-broken dramatic). Barfe's biographical portrayal of Les Dawson is unusual in that there is not any bone of contention that he was anything other than 'a nice bloke'. No contoversy. No Sunday paper exploits. He had none of the obvious life-slides (up and down) affecting Milligan, Cooper, Hancock, Cleese etc (all brilliant), although a heavy smoker and a user of whisky (doing 'Blankety Blank', what else, 'I'm not going out there to face that lot without').
His loyalty to his wife Meg and family are described in the context of his career. Also his second marriage to Tracy Roper are set in his short life (died aged 62). The meat and bones of Les Dawson are here. His talent is undeniable and it is a privilege to have been there and reap his legacy. A fitting reminder of the man and his life. His droll persona is reminiscent of Ken Platt (for olders), but not copied and far more recently we see his dryness in interpretation with Jack Dee. A worthy read about a man who kept scripts (Tommy Cooper did the same). Highly recommended.