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One of Britains great variety comedians Arthur English was known as The Prince of the Wide Boys, a cockney spiv character outrageously dressed on stage and wearing a huge kipper tie.Born in Aldershot, Hants English started his career at an early age appearing in amateur shows but did not become a professional performer until he was 30. He served in the Army during World War Two and after being demobbed worked as a painter and decorator.In 1949 he auditioned at the famous Windmill Theatre in London and he was put under contract for several seasons as a principal comic. His catchphrases became legendary: "Theyre laughin at me Mum", "Sharpen up there, the quick stuffs coming" and his famous exit line "Play the music - open the cage!".On radio he starred in BBCs Variety Bandbox alongside comics such as Reg Dixon and Mrs Shufflewick (Rex Jameson) and he also appeared in numerous summer shows, pantomimes and clubs throughout the UK.English turned to straight acting in the early 1970s both on stage, screen and on television. He starred in a variety of comic cockney parts on television in the Comedy Playhouse series and Hugh and I (1962). In 1987 he joined fellow veterans Irene Handl and Charlie Chester in Never Say Die (1987), a comedy series set in an old peoples home. His greatest success on tv was as the janitor Mr Harman in the cult series Are You Being Served? (1972).
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