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To wonder why Les Dawson was so popular?

(28 Posts)
Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 12:36:14

I listen to radio 4 extra a lot while I'm cooking/ironing and generally just let whatever's on wash over me - but they're repeating a Les Dawson series at the moment and I have to switch off - it's just so horrible - every joke or sketch is anti women, anti disabled, racist, xenophobic

I was a child in the 70s so I know what it was like then, but jeez it's awful. I caught an episode of Doctor in the House a couple of weeks ago, and the whole episode seemed to centre on attractive women in-patients happy to be touched up, or worse, by student doctors

It really is no wonder saville and the rest got away with so much for so long

StillDrSethHazlittMD Mon 25-Apr-16 12:55:26

I don't remember Les Dawson being offensive in any way except for possibly to mothers-in-law. His piano playing was a work of genius.

But, I will concur that a LOT of 70s comedy could be racist, sexist, homophobic, and every ist and ic you could think of. And was generally hugely popular. Almost all of us would be guilty of laughing at stuff we might not know. Different era, rightly or wrongly.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 12:56:40

I didn't either, but it's really bad

Buckinbronco Mon 25-Apr-16 12:56:58

Les Dawson was an awful pig- yanbu

LikeDylanInTheMovies Mon 25-Apr-16 13:02:22

YABU. Les Dawson was popular because he was funny, warm, clever and made himself the target of most of his own humour. He had a gift for language and his word play was phenomenal. Admittedly on the radio you lose the visual aspect of his performance.

The formidable wife/mother in law you could argue either way - I'd see it as a continuation of the seaside postcard tradition of small and ineffectual men and large overbearing women. But can see why it would put a few noses put of joint today.

But racist? I've never heard or seen anything that could be classed as racist.

I think you are unfairly tarnishing him by association with other mainstream comedians of the era who dealt in racist material.

wasonthelist Mon 25-Apr-16 13:04:29

YABU - Like Dylan pretty much summed it up.

StillDrSethHazlittMD Mon 25-Apr-16 13:05:57

Buckin Wow. What do you know that we don't, then? I work in the entertainment field and he is someone everyone I know who met or worked with regarded as a very warm decent bloke.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 13:06:23

Have you actually listened to this series? It's not how I remembered him at all

StillDrSethHazlittMD Mon 25-Apr-16 13:08:06

No, I didn't know it was on, but I will go and check it out some time. However, I find it hard to countenance them broadcasting it if it was as bad as you suggest. Remember the BBC have refused to screen It Ain't Half Hot Mum again for these reasons for something like 25 years and even Fawlty Towers now gets edited.

ElspethFlashman Mon 25-Apr-16 13:08:37

I dont remember him being particularly contraversial tbh. Not like Jim Davidson et al.

I used to laugh till I wept at Les Dawson in the 80's though. He was one of my favourites. I dont know now if my sense of humour was just of its time and has changed over the years or what. I remember howling with laughter when he dressed up as a woman and hoiked up his bosom. Mind you, I was 12....

But his off key piano playing will surely remain a classic forever. It was the smug expression on his face that used to kill you, he thought he was amazing.

OurBlanche Mon 25-Apr-16 13:08:45

Again? That humour is 40+ years old. The programme was a nostalgic look back, for those who wish to have another look. R4E isn't mainstream, doesn't aim to be. it isn't prime time Saturday night - and having caught 5 minutes of BGMT you might want to avoid that, it was toe cringingly embarrassing, whatever the host's name is, he is far more deliberately hurtful 'all in the name of fun' than Les Dawson ever was.

OurBlanche Mon 25-Apr-16 13:11:37

I have to admit, buckin I'd like to know too.

My great aunt was a near neighbour of him and his first wife and she says he was a wonderfully warm, lovely man.

allnewredfairy Mon 25-Apr-16 13:21:44

I don't remember Les Dawson as any of these things. Now Bernard Manning...

Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 13:27:21

No it's not Bernard manning - but putting on a 'funny' voice to poke fun at someone with learning difficulties or a stammer? The Cosmo Smallpiece character.... This series doesn't seem to have the cissy and Ada sketches, it just seems much crueller than I remembered

I switched off when today's episode came on so don't know what was in this one

ParanoidGynodroid Mon 25-Apr-16 13:28:56

I don't remember that about Les Dawson at all, either. Perhaps some of this show you're listening to is meant to be tongue in cheek (which doesn't excuse it, I know!) Either that or Dawson is merely there as an actor playing a part in a show that was written by someone else?

Agree about BGMT. This is, without exaggeration, the worst show I have ever seen on TV.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 13:29:46


Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 13:31:06

I think it's called Listen to Les, all him just with a few other actors in the sketches. And Eli blush

This is why I was quite shocked when I listened to it - it's not what I thought it would be

OurBlanche Mon 25-Apr-16 13:32:02

Britain's Got More Talent, I think!

StillDrSethHazlittMD Mon 25-Apr-16 13:34:03

With regard to stammering, there are still comedians and comedy shows NOW that do that, let alone people in the 70s.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 13:35:39

Oh, I've never watched any of britain's got talent

liz70 Mon 25-Apr-16 13:39:05

"putting on a 'funny' voice to poke fun at someone with learning difficulties or a stammer?"

And yet the Wood and Walters "Two Soups" sketch is deemed by many to be hilarious and not mocking people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's whatsoever, oh no.

OurBlanche Mon 25-Apr-16 13:42:48

I wonder if you can still get Cosmo Smallpieces Guide to Male Liberation?

Or is it just that radio would miss the visual imagery of a sex maniac with greasy hair and a centre parting, bottle bottom glasses, portrayed as a weatherman, newsreader etc, getting overly excited as he read innuendo into everything, shouting "Knickers, knackers, knockers" before being hauled off set by a shephards crook?

DameXanaduBramble Mon 25-Apr-16 13:43:26

He was what I call a gentle comedian and his piano playing took serious talent to play that badly! Dr in the house is over 40 years old, on the buses and the carry ons are the same but it's how it was, doesn't make it right but it's of the time. I love a 70s comedy, love them.

StillDrSethHazlittMD Mon 25-Apr-16 13:48:56

OurBlanche I seem to recall Cosmo once being a children's Jackanory-style storyteller and reciting Little Bo-Peep and that the reason she couldn't find them was because she'd been far too busy with Simple Simon who was anything but simple.

FadedRed Mon 25-Apr-16 13:59:15

I think there are many old shows on R4extra that are awful, while there is also some brilliant classic comedy.
The Goodies, IMO, is worse than Les Dawson.

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