Paul Chuckle: Just because I make people laugh, it doesn’t stop me from feeling sad

However the show must go on and tonight, as he did last night, and as he will do again tomorrow, Elliott will carefully compose himself and then exit the stage at the New Victoria Theatrein Woking in front of a sold out crowd. crowd. This winter, he played the pirate Starkey in Peter Pan, in an extravagant costume, sharing top billing with Come Dancing Judge Anton Du Beke.

But when we meet, not far from his Yorkshire home in Rotherham, he’s dressed more in plum trousers and a round neck cashmere sweater, though still sporting a Benidorm tan with his trademark tufty hair. Now aged 76, Elliott takes tea with startling elegance at the Ye Olde Bell Hotel and Spa, a smart, wood-paneled place, decorated with Christmas holly, tinsel and fake snow. I loved working with Anton and the rest of the cast, he said, and the audience really lifted me up, but I missed having Barry by my side. He was my best friend and theater partner for over 60 years. Now I’m on my own.

As a pair, the Chuckle Brothers have always been a British festive staple, performing 51 pantomimes together, from the 1967/1968 season when they starred in Babes in the Wood at Malvern, to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in the 2017/2018 season at the Mayflower Theater in Southampton.

Barry is Wish in my Wash, says Elliott, and not just on stage. I was with him when I was born and I was with him until he died, peacefully in his own home with the help and support of nurses from Marie Curie.

Elliott, 76, a long-time ambassador for Marie Curie, who is supporting this year’s Telegraphs Christmas Charity Appeal, recalls the days leading up to Barry’s death from an illness his brother had chosen, who had always been quiet, to hide. even his family and best friends. He pushed himself up on his chair and took a deep breath.

The hospice in Rotherham was looking after him but he didn’t come in, she said. They brought him a special bed and everything he needed to be comfortable at home and hospice nurses came to take care of him every day. She doesn’t see doctors unless she has to but she is delighted with the Marie Curie team and their compassionate brand of care.

The night before Barry died, Paul and his young as he called his four adult sons aged from 46 to 31 visited his family for the last time. house in Ravensfield.

He is really struggling but he is smart and communicates with us. I remember that Rotherham United, our football team that we have followed since childhood, won the game they played that day 3-0. He was really disappointed, especially since they got back into the Championship League. The brothers were both made honorary life presidents of Rotherham United FC in 2007 and are dedicated fans in fact, Paul used to play for the boys at Rotherham FC until a shin injury cut short his hopes of becoming one you are a professional player.

The next day at 7:15 in the morning, I received a call from Barry’s wife, Anne, to tell me that he was gone. It was too easy for him to go, and I wish he had told me sooner; we are very close, so we should have had time to say goodbye, but I think he went out upstairs.

The brothers come from a family of entertainers well known in theaters and working mens clubs in the north of England. Elliott explained that they inherited a love of comedy and a fierce work ethic from their father, James Patton Elliott, known as Gene Patton. Gene performed on stage and live radio, and previously worked with an 18-year-old Peter Sellers in the No 10 Gang, which performed in theaters across the country. He always told us to give it 100 percent, even if the house was half empty, Elliott said, Everyone pays the same and deserves everything you can give. His mother Amy was a high-kicking dancer in the Rodney Hudson Dancing Girls, a precursor to the famous cabaret troupe, the Bluebell Girls.

Elliott was just 14 when Barry suggested they start a show together in the back garden of their council semi to local children, charging a halfpenny each.

Originally known as the Harman brothers, they later took the name Chuckle because it seemed more appealing, a smart move in hindsight, keeping in mind the staying power of the Chuckle brand.

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