The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse

The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse

A NEW documentary on Bob Monkhouse featuring a wealth of archive material the performer himself rescued from destruction is to be screened on TV.

The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse tells the “extraordinary story” of comedian Bob Monkhouse’s life and career, recounted for the first time through the “vast private archive” of films, TV shows, letters and memorabilia that he left behind.

The 90-minute programme, which airs January 3, 2011, has been made by the BBC with assistance from classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope.

Volunteers spent over a year sifting through the huge collection of film reels, videos, scripts, photographs and audio tapes amassed by the performer during his lifetime and passed on to the group following the death of his widow in 2008.

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope described the forthcoming BBC Four show as a “real gem”.

He said: “I’ve seen the show and it’s full of brilliant archive material from the Bob stuff we rescued.”

Bob Monkhouse was a prolific comic, writer and performer famous for his sharp one-liners, topical gags and “charming smile”.

In a career spanning over 50 years, he appeared in countless TV and radio shows including My Pal Bob, Mad Movies, The Golden Shot and Celebrity Squares.

Monkhouse died of prostate cancer in 2003, aged 75.

The performer was a keen collector of TV and radio shows throughout his life and thanks to his foresight, many hours of vintage comedy material featuring Bob, his writing partner Denis Goodwin, and stars such as Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, Tommy Cooper, Frankie Howerd, Arthur Askey, Benny Hill and June Whitfield have been saved.

  • The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse is on BBC Four at 9pm, January 3.

READ ON: The BBC Four website has a two-minute clip from The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse featuring Bob on the Golden Shot. Kaleidoscope Publishing has released a book containing the full list of what was found within the Bob Monkhouse Archive. Bob’s Full House is available in paperback, priced £19.99.



Filed under BBC, Comedy, Kaleidoscope, Programmes of Interest, Television

14 responses to “The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse

  1. I have some very old Bob Monkhouse recordings never been used before.

  2. I’ve just located one. It’s a recording called “Bulmers Present the Do It Yourself Comedians kit”. Bob reads the poser questions, and gaps are left for your answer, it comes complete with a laughter track and script. I’ll look out for my further recordings and post them here if anyone’s interested. On my website on the ‘Sounds’ page is a recording of a radio commercial I did with Bob for ‘Skippy’ Chocolate bar.

  3. Christian Mcgowan

    If any body knows how to get hold of a copy of some of the Bob Monkhouses show reels then let me now im intrested in the golden short 1975 the 2nd february

  4. Sandy Roberts

    Good morning. I would like a copy of Frankie Howerd meets the BeeGees shown on 20 August 1968, as I am an avid fan, and wondered if Bob Monkhouse may have had a copy of this program. If so do you think this may become available for members of the public to purchase, or perhaps be screened again? Kind regards Sandy

  5. Harriet Calvert

    Whilst I was watching The Secret Life Of Bob Monkhouse there were shots of the overs of the binders that he kept all his written material in.
    They looked like the one that were made by my families factory. Moores Modern Method.

    Were they?

  6. Was a great show and revealed his true qualities. I’d like to hear the missing Hancock episodes that Bob squirreled away…

  7. I was on the 7th programme of the first series of Celebrity Squares, it was at the time when no-one had a video and I only have stills of this recording. I did enquire but was told that the early recordings were taped over, does anyone know if Bob Monkhouse kept recordings of this series for himself and if so is it possible to get a copy. 02476 394290

  8. James Adamson

    I watched the programme yesterday and was confused because I had got the impression from an earlier part of the programme that Mr. Monkhouse had multiple missing episodes of Hancock radio programmes, then later it seemed to just be the short special for the Commonwealth games.

    The TV programme gave the impression that Mr. Monkhouse was an obsessive when it came to recording programmes. I am therefore a bit surprised that he didn’t have a complete set of Hancock radio programmes. Does anyone know if he recorded them and the tapes were lost or did he not like the programme? I can’t imagine the latter is the explanation.

  9. Roy Dart

    I saw the programme “The secret life of Bob Monkhouse” and saw that he had recorded many programmes in he past. In about 1957 I was a contestant on the Carol Levis TV discovery programme recorded at the Hackne Empire and wondered if he haad ever recorded any of these programmes. Just after that I did my naitonal service in the RAF and then worked in the film industry as an editor. I never took the profession up as a professional but have been involved in the amdrams all my life. I would love to see if there is still a copy of my peflormance.

  10. Mark Steer

    Hi ,
    I am trying to find a copy of episode 1 series 1 of Family fortunes aired on 6th January 1980. It has my family on the show.

  11. Real long shot this one but- Been trying for years to find some footage of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. With all the tv shows he was on in the early to mid sixties you would think there would be something but no, nothing. Dave Clark is pressumed to have some “Ready Steady Go” shows with Jk in . There was also a “Top Of The Pops” recording with Jk in that has also gone missing, maybe in the States?
    Anyone help ? Would Bob Monkhouse have recorded Jk ?

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