Monday, 11 July 2011

The Gresh

Now, just who or what is "The Gresh"?

Ask many actors and actresses from the TV world of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and beyond and they will not hesitate to tell you - "The Gresh" is Carl Gresham, himself an actor and radio presenter, Carl ran his own agency - Greshstyle Personal Appearances - for many years. It was Carl who brought many favourite stars of TV and radio to meet the public at various "Grand Openings", fetes, etc, organising everything himself, from fees and transport to the production of photographs of the individual stars - "Greshpics" as they were called.

And WHAT names he brought to meet us at various locations!

Remember the "Shut That Door!" man, Larry Grayson? Sparkling comedy duo, Morecambe and Wise? The lady behind Mrs Ena Sharples, Violet Carson? The lady behind Mrs Elsie Tanner, Pat Phoenix? The very lovely Alexandra Bastedo of The Champions? Radio legend Tony Blackburn? The man who brought a generation of children lots of Record Breakers, Roy Castle? Our traveller abroad, Judith Chalmers? Purveyor of the Diddymen, Ken Dodd? Grandad and Dad's Army legend, Clive Dunn? "Ooh, you are awful!", Dick Emery? TV legend of many decades, Bruce Forsyth? The very zany Goodies? "Diddy" David Hamilton? Mr Opportunity Knocks ("And I mean that most sincerely, folks!"), Hughie Green? "I'm free!" John Inman? Mr Hudson, the best butler in Mayfair, Gordon Jackson? The comically warring Mildred and George Roper, Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy? Quick witted comedian and telly legend, Bob Monkhouse? Radio's very own Mr "Open House", Pete Murray? Dr Who and Worzel Gummidge star, Jon Pertwee? 1960s and '70s TV star and fashion icon, Peter Wyngarde? The man from the JY Prog, Jimmy Young? Well, The Gresh booked them all and many more, and his book, THE GRESH - A Lifetime in Show-Biz, contains many fascinating anecdotes about these much-loved stars.

The Gresh and Hughie Green - remember the days of the old Clappometer?

Who gave David Hamilton his "Diddy" nickname? Why was Margot Bryant (Minnie Caldwell of Coronation Street) concerned about her clothes on a public appearance? Which famous star gave a free rendition of his cabaret act on the platform at Leeds railway station when the train was delayed? It's all in the book - a lovely relaxing read, and wonderfully nostalgic.

Larking about with Emmerdale Farm and Dr Who legend Frazer Hines.

For us Beckindale fans, The Gresh brought several of our favourites to meet us, the public, over the years - including Frazer Hines - remember "our Joe", his long quest to meet Miss Right, only to keep meeting Miss Wrong, and his "upwardly mobile" career at NY Estates in the 1980s? "The Gresh" is still firm friends with Frazer. When the character of Joe was killed off in the 1990s, many of us thought the decision absolutely barking mad and the character, one of the first penned by series creator Kevin Laffan, is sadly missed to this day.

"The Gresh" also brought us our favourite soap pub landlords - Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill) and Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow), a fabulous pairing, friends and business partners, who were on tap at The Woolpack from 1973, right through the 1980s (which was Amos's golden era), until 1991! Have they been forgotten? "Nay, nay, nay, Mr Wilks!"

Amongst our other Emmerdale Farm favourites, "The Gresh" brought Sheila Mercier, the legendary Annie Sugden to meet us, Frederick Pyne, our much-loved gentle shepherd Matt Skilbeck, and new stars of the 1980s Clive Hornby and Jean Rogers, who stepped into the roles of Jack Sugden and Dolly Skilbeck, and made them their own.

As well as booking the stars for us to meet, Carl has also been a broadcaster, disc jockey, presenter, musicologist and actor. He appeared in episode 298 of Coronation Street in 1963, as a cycling club friend of Jerry Booth called Harrier. Reproduced in the book is a copy of Carl's contract for that appearance, which makes for fascinating reading!

Dear old Jerry Booth (Graham Haberfield) was a keen member of the local cycling club in the early 1960s. Spot "The Gresh" - he's standing on the far right of this photo.

The Gresh with Coronation Street legend Pat Phoenix.

THE GRESH - A Lifetime in Show-Biz - is a lovely relaxing read, bringing back memories of many favourite stars, and providing some fascinating insights. I polished it off in three sessions, and can tell you it was a real "feel good" experience, an excellent choice for anybody who remembers the TV and radio golden days of the '60s, '70s and '80s, and who has ever queued up for the pleasure of shaking hands with a favourite star and gaining a cherished autograph at public appearances.

For details of how to obtain a copy, and lots more Gresh-style fun and nostalgia, check out Carl's own web site, here -

Still bringing the stars closer to the public, Carl now has his own show on Bradford Community Broadcasting - he's seen here with much-loved comedy duo Cannon & Ball - Rock On, Tommy! For more details about The Gresh on the radio click here -

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