Comics. Photo: John Claridge, text Tim Turnbull (3/5)

Frankie Howerd, at home in Devon, 1991. Photo © John Claridge.

That’ll Only Make It Worse by Tim Turnbull

No. Stop it. Get a grip on yourself, Francis.
We know it’s not RADA or the RSC,
darling – [purse lips] hardly. No, the brilliance
is in the ooing and arring, campery,

cattiness, common-as-muck-i-ness
leavened with baritone working claas plum –
ideas above station, dear – and we’re blessed;
for are you not belovèd, pallay-di-um

of the national character – it’s true –
and repository – as I said to Thing –
of the cardinal comedic virtues:
Shame, Insubordination and Timing.

So, enough with the Grimaldian hangdog:
And now,
…………[lick teeth–compose–smile]
………………………………………….the Prologue.

… for The London Column © Tim Turnbull 2011