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Sunday, 20 February 2011

Send In The Clowns


Did any of you see the Beeb's "The Unknown Hancock" last night?

I don't know about you but I think Tony Hancock has one of the most memorable of faces. You couldn't call it handsome, not in a Brad Pitty way: it was the face of a lost child. A face full of wonder, fear, laughter and tears. No wonder women found him so attractive.

He was/is a genius. Oh, he was lucky enough to have hit his peak during what must be the stellar age of British comedy. He was supported by giants: Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Hattie Jaques and had the benefit of scripts that were crafted in gold. Yet without the genius of Hancock....

It' s said he had a tragic life, a career ruined by alcohol; friends and colleagues carelessly cast aside; women loved and lost. Watching yesterday's documentary I couldn't help but think that a life so full of success,  a man so loved and admired by millions was  anything but tragic. A lonely death in an Australian hotel room contrasts with the love that surrounded him for so long. His friends, his women and his fans.

He was a hugely vulnerable man; self deluded yet aware of his own weaknesses but constantly over estimating his own strength. What made this frail, child like man always in need of love and company think that a tour of Australia alone and exposed was to be his salvation?

He killed himself 43 years ago at the age of 44. His radio and TV shows still bring joy and laughter to the lives of many. He had a fearful gift, and he was well rewarded. It is such a shame he couldn't really accept that in the end.

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