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Friday, August 29, 2008

SONG FOR RUTH ELLIS 

Sir Bill with Croft and Perry (left - bow tie by Moschino, monkey suit model's own)

In my absence there doesn't seem to have been much fuss made on the internet about the death of one of the behemoths of light entertainment - Sir Bill Cotton.  So here is a rather late obituary.

Sir Bill used to be known as Billy Cotton Junior well into his fifties, which must have been a source of frustration, especially as he was the son of Billy Cotton who basically WAS the bits of the BBC that weren't Richard Dimbleby.  

Billy Jr. MADE HIS OWN WAY THROUGH SHEER HARD GRAFT AND TALENT despite his famous dad (of "Wakey Wakey!" fame), rather like Peaches Geldorrrrrf, who has landed a job at a New York magazine because she has MADE HER OWN WAY THROUGH SHEER HARD GRAFT AND TALENT despite her famous dad Sir Lord King Emperor Pete Briquette (the short one) out of the Boomtown Rats.   I hope the two met before he died: they would have had so much in common and Sir Bill could have imparted some valuable words of wisdom to Peaches before she left to conquer America.

Bill, born in 1928, was a BBC light entertainment producer in the 1950's and worked his way up to become Head Of Light Entertainment during what has turned out to be a golden era at the BBC.  He presided over such shows as Bruce Forsyth Presents: The Boy Bruce And The Mighty Atom, Do Not Adjust Your Set, The Tim Brooke Taylor Experiment, That Sketch With John Cleese, Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker, Do You Want Me To Repeat That Again?, Bruce Forsyth Presents: War Of The Worlds and I Think Marty Feldman Is A Bit Overrated, Actually, Although That Thing Where He's Playing Golf On Top Of A Train Is Fairly Funny I Suppose.

Due to SHEER HARD GRAFT AND TALENT he eventually got The Big Job - as BBC Fat Controller.

He wasn't a man to mince his words, and had many a run in with top BBC celebrities.  Of Terry Wogan he once said "don't be taken in by the easy Irish charm.  That cunt insists that his wigs get ferried about in limos at the licence payer's expense. I mean, fuck me!  The man's a freak of nature!" He claimed that Clive Dunn "went through the girls who danced with the Young Generation like a dose of salts, the cheeky bugger.  He was always up the clap clinic."

The last comment seems a little hypocritical in light of the fact that Sir Bill once had an on/off fling with that voluptuous ginger piece from variety dance troupe the Television Toppers.  She eventually left him after *finding happiness* with the creepy George Mitchell, uberlord of the Black And White Minstrels.

Sir Bill leaves a longstanding wife - Kate - and is actually vaguely related to dynamic and charismatic TV presenter Fearne Cotton, so I can't make a feeble joke about her having made her way in the cut throat entertainment industry through SHEER HARD GRAFT AND TALENT and not because her granddad is Sir Bill Cotton.

Tributes were paid by Bruce Forsyth, who claimed that Sir Bill was "the consumate professional, a great golfer, and a warm, passionate man.  They broke the mould the day they made him, believe me."  Ronnie Corbett described him as "a great golfer who was great fun on the golf course" and Danny La Rue said "I'm distraught ... a light has gone out in all our lives.  Not since Arthur Askey died have I felt so bereft.  Look up to the sky tonight and you'll be able to see Bill's star twinkling back at you.  Not 'arf, mate!!  Wotcha!!!" 

Rest in pieces, big man.

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Comments:
Peaches has suffered to achieve success. Hair pulling at public school, exhausting ligging about Chelsea, and deciding which pair of designer shoes to wear each day all exacted their toll.

Bill had it easy. I have it on good authority that Dale Winton is his love child.
 
Garfer - I agree, Peaches had a terrible time snorting all that coke (er, I mean "not opening a window when she was bleaching her hair") and falling out of exclusive members clubs ("Members" eh? Never a more appropriate word). Still, Bill had his own kind of struggle - having to choose bow ties to be worn at BAFTA ceremonies was very stressful indeed.
 
Celebrities: never name your daughters after minor species of vegetation. (Possible exception: Lichen Knightley)
 
Well - as you know Betty - any friend of Brucie's is a friend of mine.
I love an old golfer me.

Thanks for putting me straight - I thought he was the "Wakey Wakey!" bloke.
 
I'm lost here.
 
I remember his dad. The Billy Cotton Band Show was great!
Who the fuck is Peaches Geldof?
Nurse, I think I'm ready to have my bag emptied now.
 
Working at the coal face in the dark satanic cotton mills, eh. I'm glad you've found the missing link with Fearne Cotton though ... that explains a lot.
 
... and he was very sound on the Wogmeister by the sound of it. I think you made up the Clive Dunn bit though.
 
I read that as George Michael - "uberlord of the Black & White Minstrels". That was almost as creepy as a thought of Clive Dunn in civvies. Or Clive Dunn at all in anything really.
 
When all is said and done, what could possibly be more important than distracting the great unwashed from the grim realities of their circumstances?

People play Golf in the UK..but surely not in Scotland?
Since when?
Oh yeah I've seen them chasing the Foxes off the course on horseback
 
Gordie - hello & welcome. Perhaps Billie Piper should call her forthcoming sprog Maris?

Kaz - Billy Cotton Senior & Junior looked like each other, which was very confusing. Indeed, Billy Junior looked like his dad when he was five years old, which is very disturbing.

MJ - Geoff reassured me that you knew who Danny La Rue is.

Dive - didn't the Billy Cotton Band Show finish in about 1958? You must be about ninety, despite claims to the contrary. As for Peaches Geldof, she's Hughie Green's grand daughter. Does that help?

Murph - the dark satanic Cotton mills were started by Billy's great great grandad, and his great great great great grandad actually invented cotton. What a productive family they were. The stories about Wogan and Clive Dunn are true, but were "off the record". I would NEVER make anything up on here!

Arabella - Clive Dunn was always fairly creepy in Dad's Army, and was the week link on the show. Funny how he was always the most popular one, too.

Donnnnnnnnn - St. Andrew's, anyone? If I'm forced to take up a sport in old age, I think it would have to be golf rather than (shudder) crown green bowls. Hopefully it'll never come to that though, and I'll just die suddenly when I'm sixty, and I won't be pressurised into "having a hobby" like bowls which ensures that I'll meet "other people of your age" and will mean I "don't get lonely".
 
Just to warn you, Betty, that you won't feel quite the same about the "sudden death at 60" thing when you are, ahem, 59 and 9 months.
 
Murph - are you referring to yourself or Drew? If it's the latter, I would've thought you would be relishing the prospect of becoming head of the household ...
 
Dive, if only I could swap my brain for yours and wipe out all memory of P*ach*s...

I've been full of hatred (massive envy) for her since she 'blogged' for the Guardian when she was 14! It was shit.
 
Spin, I detest Peaches Geldof and the rest of those vile, useless children of celebs who swan around thinking they've "worked so hard" at their careers as part time models (eh? They all look like inbreeds!) or "actors" or "journalists". Throw a fucking bomb into Bungalow 8 someone and do the world a favour.
 
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