Roy Hudd

With the on­set of au­tumn, Roy is try­ing his hand at some new if any­one things – and won­ders Among has a copy of She Sits the Cab­bages and Peas...?

YOURS (UK) - - Contents -

The sea­son of mists and mel­low fruit­ful­ness – that’s how that ro­man­tic young bard, Keats, saw it but this rheumatic old card sees it more as the sea­son to get his agent busy, us­ing all his pow­ers of sub­terfuge, hyp­no­tism, grey­mail (a non-crim­i­nal form of black­mail) to keep this moun­te­bank busy dur­ing the slack­est time of the year.

I will have a go at most things. This year I’m try­ing some things I’ve never done be­fore (not a word to the wife, please!). So many of our chums have en­joyed work­ing on cruise ships that Deb­bie and me will be on board MV Colum­bus do­ing our wan­der through

I will be catch­ing up with a huge pile of mail, in­clud­ing let­ters from Yours read­ers

songs, sto­ries and se­crets of our years to­gether. Can’t wait to blow the whis­tle on all sorts of friends in the busi­ness. Hee! Hee!

I will also be catch­ing up with a huge pile of mail, in­clud­ing let­ters from Yours read­ers on the hunt for for­got­ten sheet mu­sic. Sev­eral want a Marie Lloyd song, She Sits Among the Cab­bages and Peas, and I want it, too – I’ve been search­ing for years but no luck yet. If you have got a copy you’ll make me and at least a dozen read­ers who are mu­sic hall ad­dicts very jolly.

As well as do­ing half a dozen char­ity shows, re­turn­ing favours that pals have done for my char­i­ties over the year, I will be part of a TV doc­u­men­tary salut­ing the unique Sir Ken­neth Arthur Dodd (heaven knows how many char­i­ties he did a turn for). In­ci­den­tally, I’d be grate­ful if some­one could tell me why so many peo­ple in my busi­ness seem to pass away near Christ­mas – could it be the thought of three per­for­mances a day in the up­com­ing panto sea­son?

We have an or­gan­i­sa­tion called The Ac­tors’ Church Union and our church is St Paul’s in Covent Gar­den. Tra­di­tion­ally, street en­ter­tain­ers per­form in front of the church’s back door. The very first Punch and Judy Show was per­formed there in 1662 – they’re still us­ing the same script! If you’re ever around there, do pop into the church and have a look at the place where so many laughs have been heard – all very kind and lov­ing laughs, be­lieve me. Lots of ser­vices are held there for us to cel­e­brate the lives of old friends with tales of their tri­umphs and dis­as­ters and unique sense of hu­mour.

Many of my pals have left me with sto­ries that I’m al­ways happy, if I’m asked by those in charge, to share with the con­gre­ga­tion. Wickedly funny and mov­ing ones, poignant and lov­ing ones, too. A few years back there were so many of these spe­cial ser­vices the vicar of­fered me a sea­son ticket!

The same vicar sur­prised us all at an­other ‘do’ by fin­ish­ing the oc­ca­sion with a call for a stand­ing ova­tion from the crowd for the departed one. A dear friend of the de­ceased whis­pered to me: “That’s the best he’s ever got!” One of my favourite com­ments from one of the con­gre­ga­tion came from Arthur Askey (no sur­prise there) at a ser­vice for a very suc­cess­ful – but not very pop­u­lar – pro­ducer.

Look­ing round the packed-to-the-roof con­gre­ga­tion Arthur con­fided to Dickie Hen­der­son: “You see, give the peo­ple what they want and they’ll come!”

Punch and Judy’s pat­ter has hardly changed since 1662

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