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Whatshisname: The Life and Death of Charles Hawtrey Hardcover – 30 Apr 2010
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About the Author
Wes Butters was himself destined for great things, landing the prestigious UK Top 40 chart show on BBC Radio 1 at just 23. But after two years his contract was not renewed and he has spent subsequent years having to shoo away the albatross and resist being typecast as the chart kid. He has since won numerous awards, including a Sony, for his commercial radio work and has produced and presented a number of documentaries for BBC Radio 4 including The Pain of Laughter (on both Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey) and Twice Ken is Plenty. In 2008, Wes wrote Kenneth Williams Unseen with Russell Davies ( Enthralling, an unmissable account of a comedian who teetered on the brink of all-out lunacy Roger Lewis, Sunday Express) and is currently developing Whatshisname into a screenplay.
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This is an extremely well researched and well written book, written by an author who appreciates, understands and has such a feel for his subject; but who never flinches from showing us the most unpleasant sides to Mr Hawtrey's character. On screen, Mr Hawtrey was a delight, gleefully flitting about with a mischievous wit and naughty élan few could ever approach. Off screen, we learn of the darkness, the loneliness, the demons and of how he was often far from a delight. This biography is by no means a dish the dirt biography, it is just that it does not attempt a whitewash. It is a touching, sad story of a man who gave such much to entertain others and was so loved, yet whose story was in so many ways so tragic. A man who was frequently hard to love, but who had love in his heart - the part covering the death of his little cat illustrates this.
For anyone who is a fan of the Carry Ons; those joyous unashamed pleasures, (and how could you not be?) this is an indispensable work. It is superb, filled with insight, information, sadness and laughter. Even if you were not a fan of the Carry Ons, this is a very well written account of a very complex and interesting man. We learn so much and gain such insight into the life and character of Mr Hawtrey, this is an illuminating work and one to be heartily recommended.
Now Mr Butters should write about Sid James.