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Son of a preacher man
on 8 February 2009
Kenneth Horne had a remarkable life. The youngest of seven children, his father was an MP and a renowned preacher who would fill churches with people wanting to hear his stirring orations. After Kenneth was sent down at Cambridge University he gained employment in the glass industry and was so successful at this that in time he became the Sales Director of the major car windscreen manufacturers, Triplex, and would have probably have become the Chairman and Managing Director (and therefore one of the most important figures in the British motor industry) had he not tendered his resignation on a point of principal. What makes Kenneth Hornes life remarkable though, is that at the same time as being a captain of industry, he led a double life because he was also an extremely popular figure in radio entertainment, starring in countless highly rated comedies and quiz shows. In modern day terms, this would be like Peter Kay being on the Board at Tesco's or Alan Carr running BT; I can't see this happening somehow!
It is now forty years ago since he died (almost to the day as I write this) and, apart latter day repeats of Round the Horne, I knew little of his work and nothing about his life. After reading this book though, I now know a great deal and to his credit, Barry Johnston does it in a very enjoyable way which for me, made this book a pleasure to read. I don't think that you could ask any more than this from a biography.
Any good show biz biography should provide the reader with a few quotable anecdotes, and this book has plenty of these. I was particularly amused to read that one of Hornes writing team was an official in the Salvation Army; not only that but she provided Horne, famous for his double intendres, with some of his fruitiest innuendoes.
Well worth a read for anybody who wants to read about a giant (and pioneer) of British comedy and an obviously very good man.