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David Pibworth | The Blog

Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

When It Comes To Women Comedians, Don't Forget Marie Lloyd!

The queen of the music hall ...

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POSTED BY DAVID PIBWORTH ON 12/03/2019 @ 8:00AM

Last week, we celebrated Victoria Wood as part of International Women's Day because she did a great deal for women in stand up and comedy writing ...

Marie Lloyd was the queen of the music hall at the turn of the 20th century

Marie Lloyd was the queen of the music hall at the turn of the 20th century

more info: wikipedia

But it should be noted that there were women before her who did break ground to make a difference in comedy. The late Carla Lane OBE being one of them.

"She was a great comedy writer!"

She was up there with the best from the late-60s to mid-90s, with her classic and most popular TV hits The Liver Birds, Butterflies, and Bread. Having three bestselling sitcoms was, and still is, no mean feat; especially if you consider Galton and Simpson achieved only two with Hancock and Steptoe & Son.

But you can't compare comedy writers, other than to say that it's a near impossible field to be brilliant in and anyone who achieves success has worked very hard to get it.

Unfortunately, getting into any aspect of comedy, such as writing, or stand-up, has always been harder for women. Yet, there have been inspiring waves of British female comedians who began to pave the way many years ago.

"There was a rather splendid music hall comedienne called Marie Lloyd, who I personally think led the way!"

She was born in 1870 and by 1895 was being censored for singing songs such as 'She Sits Amongst the Cabbages and Peas'. She changed the lyrics to 'She Sits Amongst the Cabbages and Leaks' to get around it, which I thought truly funny!

She was known as the Queen of the Music Hall, and famous for her songs 'My Old Man (said follow the van)', 'The boy I love is up in the Gallery' and 'Oh, Mr Porter what shall I do?' Remember those?

Taken from the 2007 BBC documentary about Marie Lloyd

Although Marie Lloyd had a somewhat turbulent life and died virtually penniless aged 52, she made ground with double-entendre and innuendo some 20 years before Max Miller.

As I always say to those who are into comedy, if you haven't heard of Marie Lloyd you should go back and revise as she was remarkable. One last interesting fact about Marie Lloyd was that she was born Matilda Alice Victoria Wood!

Brilliant, eh?

Until next time ...

DAVID PIBWORTH

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More about David Pibworth ...

David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.

David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.

He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.

He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.

This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing £10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.

David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.

He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!



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07879 414110