Al Read

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For other uses, see Alexander Read (disambiguation).
Al Read
Born 3 March 1909
Broughton, Salford Lancashire, England
Died 9 September 1987(1987-09-09) (aged 78)
Occupation Comedian

Al Read (3 March 1909 – 9 September 1987) was a British radio comedian active throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Read was born in Broughton, Salford,[1] Lancashire and was a sausage maker in his father's business. He became known as a popular after-dinner speaker with wry and well-observed humour in clubs. In 1950 Read made his radio début on the BBC. His comedy was based around the monologue form, but he also became known for dialogues in which he played both voices. His humour was observational and was about Northern English working class people, often in a domestic situation.

The Al Read Show was one of the most popular radio comedy shows in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s. Up to 35 million people listened to it each week. His catchphrases "Right Monkey" and "You'll be lucky, I say you'll be lucky!" were well known. In 1963 he headed a variety format for ITV called Life and Al Read which was apparently unscripted and was broadcast live. In 1966 another ITV series called Al Read Says What a Life! was broadcast. He also worked extensively on the variety stage. It was generally considered that sound radio was his best medium[citation needed].

In 1954 he appeared high on the bill at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium. In 1959 he appeared with comedian Jimmy Clitheroe in the Royal Northern Variety Performance, in the presence of the Queen Mother, at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.

The introduction to his radio show was usually "Al Read: introducing us to ourselves"; and he himself described his work as "pictures of life". His monologues were perceptive about the human condition, and many monologue recordings are still available from the BBC.

Another of his catchphrases, "there was enough said at our Edie's wedding", was often quoted by Guardian TV critic Nancy Banks-Smith when couples in soap operas had disastrous weddings.[2]

The Al Read Show[edit]

Surviving editions held by the BBC Sound Archive:

First Broadcast Repeated Description
25 November 1954 4 July 2004
13 March 2005
30 April 2006
24 June 2007
6 January 2008
Dad! Dad! Is that Al Read? He's a classic comedy act, isn't he, Dad? Vintage humour from November 1954, isn't it, Dad?
25 January 1955 No repeat
15 November 1955 11 July 2004
20 March 2005
7 May 2006
1 July 2007
13 January 2008
The sausage maker from Salford turned king of the comedy catchphrase stars in this episode first broadcast in 1955.
6 February 1966 12 November 1998
18 July 2004
27 March 2005
14 May 2006
8 July 2007
20 January 2008
The sausage maker from Salford turned king of the comedy catchphrase stars in this episode, first broadcast in 1966, featuring his best-loved characters and timeless humour.
October 1995 26 November 1998
27 July 2004
3 April 2005
21 May 2006
15 July 2007
27 January 2008
Al Read with all you ever needed to know about health, courting, marriage, kids, and football, from the northern comic's monologues of the 1950s.
October 1995 3 December 1998
1 August 2004
10 April 2005
28 May 2006
22 July 2007
3 February 2008
Ken Bruce introduces the Northern comic's monologues from the 1950s. Arriving home late, Al's efforts to relax are thwarted by his wife.
October 1995 10 December 1998
8 August 2004
17 April 2005
4 June 2006
29 July 2007
10 February 2008
Right Monkey! A collection of Al Read's 1950s monologues. Al lifts the lid off horse racing. Compiled in October 1995 by Mike Craig.
October 1995 17 December 1998
15 August 2004
24 April 2005
11 June 2006
5 August 2007
17 February 2008
Classic comedy from Salford's favourite son. Al Read looks at the very British institutions of hospitals, the post office, and noisy neighbours. From December 1998.
October 1995 24 December 1998
22 August 2004
1 May 2005
18 June 2006
12 August 2007
24 February 2008
Al Read gives his views on the fire brigade, the joys of driving, and the morning after the night before. From December 1998.


  • Papillon Graphics Encyclopaedia of Greater Manchester, 2002
  • Guide to Comedy
  • [1] Episode guide
  • [2]
  1. ^ He was born in 1909 when Broughton was part of the County Borough of Salford (1844–1974 — "City" status from 1926)
  2. ^