|Born||Arthur Ernest Mullord
19 September 1910
Islington, London, England, UK
|Died||11 December 1995
Islington, London, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Florence Rose (Flo)|
Mullard was born in a humble background in Islington, London, started work at 14 as a butcher's assistant, and joined the Army at 18. It was in the army that he began boxing, becoming champion of his regiment. When he left the army after three years he had a short stint at boxing professionally. This ended after 20 fights over three years, following a knock-out from which he lost his memory.
Following the end of the Second World War in 1945 he sought work as a stuntman at Pinewood and Ealing film studios, from which he drifted into uncredited bit-parts in British films such as Oliver Twist (1948), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) and The Ladykillers (1955).
Mullard's face and cockney accent lent itself to a certain character, and he graduated to more visible roles in comedy films and on television. It was on television that Mullard made a name for himself, first as a straight man for Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd and Benny Hill, then in The Arthur Askey Show. It was the London Weekend Television series Romany Jones, first aired in 1973, which give Mullard his highest profile, playing Wally Briggs, a crafty caravan-dweller.
So popular was Mullard's character that a sequel — Yus, My Dear — was broadcast in 1976, in which Wally and his wife Lily (Queenie Watts) had moved out of their caravan into a council house. Yus, My Dear was a popular success and Arthur (or "Arfur" as he was widely known) was regularly a guest in other programmes and television commercials.
Mullard and Watts also appeared as a married couple in the film Holiday on the Buses (1973), the last feature-length version of the popular On the Buses comedy series of the time.
He also appeared in Ladies Who Do (1963), Morgan! (1966), The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), and Adventures of a Plumber's Mate (1978). In 1986, invited by producer Victor Lewis-Smith, Mullard hosted an edition of Midweek on BBC Radio 4 to replace regular host Libby Purves during her temporary absence; the resulting programme was a unique hour of radio.
In 1967, Mullard recorded "I Love You, You Love Me"/"Was It Something I Said" on the Masquerade label (MA5001). This was followed the same year by an album Arthur Mullard of London (MQ 2003) The LP included Mullard's cover of the Beatles' "Yesterday", jokes and philosophy. More singles followed in the 1970s, including 1974's "Not Now Arthur"/"If I Only Had My Time Again" (BASFBA 1012), and in 1975 "I Only Have Eyes for You"/"One 'Fing 'N' Annuver" (RCA 2610) with "Yus My Dear"/"Arthur" (RCA Z639A) released in 1976.
He entered the UK Singles Chart in 1978 with "You're the One That I Want" (Pye 7N 46121) (from the film, Grease) with Hylda Baker, who was in her seventies. The single was taken from the album, Band On The Trot (Pye PKL 5576). A live performance on the BBC TV show Top Of The Pops was a disaster. Mullard and Baker fluffed the lyrics and seemed confused. The single was the last professional success of Mullard's life; there followed an uncredited narration on the Glenn Close-led live action 101 Dalmatians, released in 1996 after his death.
Arthur Mullard continued to live in a council maisonnette in Islington after his film and television success and to spend much of his leisure time in local pubs. He died in his sleep on 11 December 1995, aged 85.
- There Is Another Sun (1951)
- The Long Memory (1952)
- The Long Haul (1957)
- The Bank Raiders (1958)
- Two-Way Stretch (1960)
- And the Same to You (1960)
- Postman's Knock (1962)
- The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963)
- The Counterfeit Constable (1964)
- Gonks Go Beat (1965)
- The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966)
- Smashing Time (1967)
- Crooks and Coronets (1969)
- Holiday on the Buses (1973)
- The Vault of Horror (1973)
- Adventures of a Plumber's Mate (1978)
- His obituary in The Times gives his date of birth as 10 November 1910 but conflicts with the birthdate given in his death registration. His exact year of birth seems uncertain, quoted as 1908, 1910, 1912 and 1913 from various sources.
- "Arthur Mullard" (Obituary), The Times, 13 December 1995.
- GRO Register of Deaths: Arthur Ernest Mullard died December 1995 B32 136 ISLINGTON. DoB = 19 September 1910 Age 85 approx
- Obituaries: Arthur Mullard The Independent. 13 December 1995
- b013r379, iPM for 3 September 2011, BBC Programme Library.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 40. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- YouTube showing Top of the Pops performance
- "ARTHUR MULLARD WAS THE COCKNEY COMIC MILLIONS LOVED ...AND A MONSTER WHO RAPED HIS DAUGHTER AT 13; 'Behind his TV smile lurked an evil pervert who made me his sex slave, drove my mum to suicide and destroyed my life'. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2012-05-02.