‘‘ Jimmy Edwards was a Great British Entertainer ’’ Ken Dodd
‘‘ Not merely a peculiarly British comedian but an authentic English character ’’ The Times
The holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross, in recognition of his World War Two career with the RAF, Jimmy Edwards came to fame as an exuberant and bombastic, trombone-playing comedian in the 1940s, with early success at London’s Windmill Theatre. He went on to star on radio in Take It from Here and on television in Whacko! as the cane-happy headmaster of a run-down school for the sons of gentlemen. He was definitely politically incorrect and audiences loved him for it.
While Jimmy authored two autobiographies, Wake Up at the Back There!: It’s Jimmy Edwards is the first book-length study of the comedian, providing both a full biography and a critical appraisal.
For the first time, the full Jimmy Edwards story is told, with documentation on his relationship with his family, his domestic life, his “outing” as gay, and the man in his life. Jimmy Edwards was a complex human being, who embraced alcoholism perhaps as a means of handling his homosexuality. Ultimately, the gay life proved more of a concern to Jimmy than to his audience, while the drinking helped create a persona that the same audience loved and accepted. Presently and sadly, it would seem that Jimmy’s homosexuality has tended to diminish his legacy not only as a major British comedian but also as a genuine World War Two hero.
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