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Carry On at the seaside: Remembering the stars who delighted the holiday goers of summers past

PUBLISHED: 14:03 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:04 19 March 2020

Leslie Crowther, who was appearing at the Wellington and Sid (Carry On) James in a show at the Windmill in 1970. But who is the woman in the middle and what was the occasion? Picture: Archant Library

Leslie Crowther, who was appearing at the Wellington and Sid (Carry On) James in a show at the Windmill in 1970. But who is the woman in the middle and what was the occasion? Picture: Archant Library

Archant

They weren’t just stars on a stage they were part of life in Norfolk during the glory days of the summer shows at Great Yarmouth.

Rock on Tommy! The much-loved comedy duo Cannon and Ball when they were appearing at the Britannia Pier in 1981 but who is the woman in the bed they are wishing a happy birthday? Picture: Archant LibraryRock on Tommy! The much-loved comedy duo Cannon and Ball when they were appearing at the Britannia Pier in 1981 but who is the woman in the bed they are wishing a happy birthday? Picture: Archant Library

They were household names, some of the most popular entertainers in the land, who worked night and day to delight crowds who would pack the theatres.

Thousands of families from all over the country – and all corners of Norfolk and Suffolk – would head for Yarmouth to see the performers during those long summer seasons.

Household names who were comedians, singers, magicians. All-round entertainers. TV folk who were spending their summers with us.

And this small selection of photographs from our archive illustrates just how happy they were to put in personal appearances at events across the county to help local charities and good causes.

It?s none other than the great Engelbert Humperdinck opening the Northgate Hospital fete in Great Yarmouth when he was appearing at the ABC in 1969. And is that a member of our very own Barry Lee & Planets standing behind him? Picture: Archant LibraryIt?s none other than the great Engelbert Humperdinck opening the Northgate Hospital fete in Great Yarmouth when he was appearing at the ABC in 1969. And is that a member of our very own Barry Lee & Planets standing behind him? Picture: Archant Library

They were part of the community and several made lifelong friendships with locals.

I’ll bet many of you, like me, were taken to the shows by your parents and then took 
your children along. Old-fashioned end of the pier shows which could be enjoyed by the whole family.

I hope these pictures of the stars mingling with the locals during the 1970s and into the 80s bring a few memories back. Perhaps you will see yourself or recognise family and friends.

I remember talking to the great late Chas Hodges of Chas and Dave, some years ago, and he was talking about his days playing in the summer shows.

Did he hit it or miss it? Eric Morecambe in full flow at a charity cricket match when they were appearing at Great Yarmouth. Picture: Archant LibraryDid he hit it or miss it? Eric Morecambe in full flow at a charity cricket match when they were appearing at Great Yarmouth. Picture: Archant Library

“Two shows a day and a long, long season,” said Chas.

I asked him if it was hard work?

“Working in a coal mine is hard work. We were having a ball,” he said.

And so were the holidaymakers and daytrippers.

Duck! Ernie Wise in full flow at the same charity cricket match. Can you recognise the chap in the sun glasses? Picture: Archant LibraryDuck! Ernie Wise in full flow at the same charity cricket match. Can you recognise the chap in the sun glasses? Picture: Archant Library

Singer Frank Ifield and comedian Ken Goodwin meeting the fans on the pier at Great Yarmouth. Recognise anyone? Picture: Archant LibrarySinger Frank Ifield and comedian Ken Goodwin meeting the fans on the pier at Great Yarmouth. Recognise anyone? Picture: Archant Library

It’s only all-round entertainer and funny man Russ Abbot larking about with the scouts troop[ at Bradwell when he was appearing at the Britannia Pier in 1980. Picture: Archant LibraryIt’s only all-round entertainer and funny man Russ Abbot larking about with the scouts troop[ at Bradwell when he was appearing at the Britannia Pier in 1980. Picture: Archant Library

BUTLER! It’s Blakey (Stephen Lewis) from the hit show On The Buses behind the wheel is the much-loved Great Yarmouth Mayor George Scottl back in 1972. Picture: Archant LibraryBUTLER! It’s Blakey (Stephen Lewis) from the hit show On The Buses behind the wheel is the much-loved Great Yarmouth Mayor George Scottl back in 1972. Picture: Archant Library

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