Sunday, 22 January 2012

Treading The Boards: Bill Pertwee in Habeas Corpus (1988)

Production: Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett
Venue: York Theatre Royal
Date: March 1988
Starring: Julian Glover, Jane Freeman, Mary Sheen, Adam Robinson, Su Elliott, Bill Pertwee, Madeleine Newbury, Duncan Preston, Claire Parker, David Fielder, Tom Karol

I am grateful to fellow blogger Andy Walmsley who recently sent me information on Bill Pertwee's appearance in Habeas Corpus at York Theatre Royal in 1988. 

I'm reproducing Andy's comments and memories on the production here along with scans from Andy's programme:

"Back in March 1988 at the York Theatre Royal we saw a production of Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus. Amongst the cast was Bill Pertwee as Sir Percy Shorter. I still recall the biggest laugh of the night came from one of Bill’s lines, but not in a way that Alan Bennett originally intended." 

Thanks to Andy's wife Val, we have the relevant part of the script that got Bill the big laugh...
Lady Rumpus: That would be the Second World War, the one to make the world safe for democracy?
Sir Percy: That was how it was advertised.
Wicksteed: When the enemy was always listening, and cigarettes were two a penny. (He lights a cigarette lighter.)
Mrs Swabb: Put that light out. (Darkness, the sounds of an air raid.)

Andy continues: "In the production we saw it was Sir Percy Shorter that took the line “Put that light out”Dad’s Army fans in the audience hooted with delight. For a moment ARP Warden Hodges was back on stage."
  • Thanks to both Andy and Val Walmsley for sharing their memories. If anyone recalls seeing any Dad's Army stars in a production or wants to share a scan, review or clipping from a theatre production, please get in touch! 

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