Arthur English

Arthur Leslie Norman English (9 May 1919 – 16 April 1995) was an English actor and comedian from the music hall tradition. English was born in Aldershot, Hampshire. After serving in the army in World War II, reaching the rank of sergeant, English worked as a painter and decorator in his native town. He polished up his comedy routines as an amateur at this time and eventually became resident comedian at the Windmill Theatre in London and did much other stage work. His radio work began with the BBC series Variety Bandbox, using as always his own Aldershot accent. His usual persona was a stereotypical wartime "spiv", and he became known as "The Prince of the Wide Boys". His usual delivery was to tell a long rambling shaggy dog story at ever-increasing rapidity without losing clarity until, at top speed, he would end with the catch-phrase: "Play the music! Open the cage!" Another popular catch-phrase was "Mum. Mum. They're laughing at me!" He began to appear on British television in mainly comedy roles in the 1970s, and was noticeable because of his manner and appearance. He is remembered for his character of the truculent and bolshy maintenance man, Mr.


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