Tuesday, June 18, 2019


I’ve been reading - actually rereading - Roger Lewis’s small and perfectly formed biography of Charles Hawtrey, the star of Carry On films until he fell out with the producer Peter Rogers in an argument about why he wasn’t given bill in a play he was doing with Patricia Hayes.

It’s well known, by anybody who cares about these things, that Hawtrey was a serious alcoholic and at times a very nasty drunk, and sometimes he  incorporated his own characters traits (though not the nastiest) into his performances, as in this scene:

Even so I was amazed to find out just how much the man managed to put away, especially given his very slight frame.  According to Lewis ‘His average evening tippling comprised two and a half bottles of port, a quantity of whisky and a pot of tea.  Which sounds bad, though we’ve all heard worse.  
        But then Lewis tells us ‘He breakfasted on five double gin and vermouths.’  Were these martinis?  Gin and Its?  Did he do the whole ice, bitters, stirred not shaken routine?  I’m guessing not.

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