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Patric Morgan

I am a freelance writer from the UK. I specialise in celebrity interviews and autobiography/biography. I speak to those at the top of their game. I found out what they have done, how they did it, and why they did it.

Veteran British Star of Stage and Screen Celebrates Over 50 Years in Showbiz.

 ‘All round entertainer’ is a term that’s perhaps overused these days. Yet British screen veteran Stan Stennett MBE can rightly justify the claim to this title. Patric Morgan caught up with the man who is still performing after 50 years in showbiz. 

Stan Stennett, star of stage and screen, pulls open one of the filing cabinets in his office.

  “Where do you want to start?”

  Well where do you start? The scrapbooks start at ‘early 1950s’ and span over half a century of showbiz. The pictures and flyers on the wall paint just part of the story of one of the finest all-round entertainers to come out of the UK.

  “I lost a lot of memorabilia when my house burnt down in 1999. It was then - stood looking at what was left of my house that made me think. The memories came drifting back to me on the smoke coming from the smouldering ruins of my home. The names. The faces. The laughter. All the things I had experienced throughout my long career.”

  Stan points to one of the posters on the wall.   “Over here is a show I did with Morecambe and Wise. They played second fiddle to me on that one. And this is another show I did - there’s Ronnie Corbett at the bottom of the billing there look.”  An established career it is. And it all started when Stan was still a youngster.  “It wasn’t long after leaving school before I had to start working. I had a job driving for Pickfords but by then I’d managed to get myself a part in an American group called the Modernaires. I would be up at 3am to do my deliveries for Pickfords and then perform in the evening with the band. If you wanted to get anywhere in those days, you had to put the hours in.”  The outbreak of WWII saw Stan join the Royal Artillery on a driving course. He was then posted to Belgium where he transported troops.

  “After the demob, it took a while for the armed forces to get home where they belonged. As entertainers, we were sent all over the world to keep these people’s morale up. I was touring back then with people like Max Miller, Spike Milligan and Charlie Chester.

  “Eventually, the world settled into relative calm and I got a lot of work in the UK. Back then, I was a solo comedian, using a trumpet and guitar. There were a lot of big American performers coming over here who I worked with - stars like Johnnie Ray, Chico Marx, James Cagney, the Deep River Boys and Billy Daniels, who became a very good friend of mine.”

  Stan seems almost embarrassed at the list of legendary names he’s worked with.  “I’m sorry. It does sound awfully big headed doesn’t it, mentioning all these names but it’s not like that. It’s just the way it was. I didn’t ask for it to be that way.”

  Stan topped the bill in major theatres across the country in the 1950s and 1960s, names such as Morecambe and Wise, Ken Dodd, Ronnie Corbett, Jimmy Young, Jon Pertwee and Joan Turner.

  “Eric Morecambe especially became a very good friend of mine. It was a friendship that lasted literally a lifetime for Eric - Eric and I had just completed a show in Tewkesbury when Eric collapsed and died. He was 58. To have put on a true professional performance, then just walk off stage and collapse out of sight of the audience, I don’t think you could have written anything more dramatic in fiction.  "After realising that something was wrong, the audience left the theatre dumbstruck. They had been laughing so much only a few minutes earlier but somehow they knew that they had shared in a national tragedy.”  In the 1980s, Stan became a household name on British TV playing the part of Sid Hooper in ITV’s Crossroads.  “I played Sid for seven years. I had in fact been in Granada TV’s Coronation Street previous to that. I was Hilda Ogden’s brother.”  But Stan also made his name appearing in feature films alongside international stars.  “I really enjoyed playing a part in a film called Plots with a View which went on general release in 2002. It was shot in South Wales and the comedy revolved around a funeral director played by Alfred Molina who loses a lot of business to a flashy American rival played by Christopher Walken. I had the part of Mr Edwards who goes to see Walken about having his wife buried. All sorts of mishaps arise as the two funeral parlours try to outdo each other. I have also worked with British comedian Lee Evans”  Stan’s current work involves shows that evoke memories of a bygone era.   “Nostalgia plays a big part in people’s lives.When you’re young, you’re building memories and you don’t give it a second thought. Then there comes a time in everyone’s life - a point where you start looking back at those memories. The shows I produce take people back to a time that they loved - they bring back memories of people, places and good times.  “We have some wonderful audiences - they sing along and get involved. And it’s nice to know that I can help cheer these people up - some who hardly ever get out of their houses.  “When I perform, I imagine that I am speaking to just one person - and that person has been there all these years. You single them out. You make them feel special.”  Stan still feels that he has lots to do. The shows, the charity events, the golf.  Stan’s drive to keep people entertained and happy is recognised in the friends that he makes. He picks up a cigar case. The inscription on the side reads:   “To a very good friend. From your pal

Donnie Lonegan"



Patric Morgan  

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