Bill, Ben and Stan

This period between Christmas and the New Year is one in which I prefer not to get too serious. Nevertheless I still browse for interesting speeches and interviews. Thus it was that I happened upon a late and lamented performer, whom I had known slightly, interviewing a man who had contributed generously to my very small childhood.

Though I earn my living helping people to speak I am a fan of nonsense-speak.

Peter Hawkins was a voice-artist who supplied the speaking for many famous TV stars, including the Daleks. But many years earlier my infant self used to hear him speaking “Oddle-poddle” (yes, they even gave it a name), the language spoken by Bill & Ben the Flowerpot Men. I even dared to speak it a bit myself.

Stanley Unwin was a hero to my youthful self. I would clamour never to miss his appearances on television and loved his performance in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Again I would try to imitate. In the nineties, when I produced and presented an arts programme on BBC Radio, I recorded with him a long-form, broadly biographical, interview. The recording subsequently required heavy editing, as we would regularly dissolve into laughter. He was a lovely man.

I will leave you with the one interviewing the other. It is introduced by the late Robert Robinson.

Happy New Year.

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