Chuckle Brothers

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The Chuckle Brothers
Alice 2008 and Chuckle Brothers 028.jpg
Paul (left) and Barry (right) in 2008
Born Barry Elliott
(1944-12-24) 24 December 1944 (age 69)
Paul Elliott
(1947-10-18) 18 October 1947 (age 66)
Rotherham, West Riding of Yorkshire,
England
Medium Television and stage
Years active 1974–present
Genres Slapstick and parody
Notable works and roles ChuckleHounds (1985–86)
ChuckleVision (1987–2009)
To Me... To You... (1996–98)
ChuckleMaths (2009)

Barry Elliott (born 24 December 1944) and Paul Elliott (born 18 October 1947), better known as the Chuckle Brothers, are English comedians. They are best known for their work on their BBC show ChuckleVision, which celebrated its 21st series in 2010 with a stage tour titled An Audience with the Chuckle Brothers, which started in January and ended in May.[1] The comedy of the Chuckle Brothers usually derives from slapstick and other visual gags, and their catchphrases include "To me, to you" and "Oh dear, oh dear".

Early life[edit]

The brothers were born in Rotherham to Amy and James Patton Elliott, in 1944 and 1947. Their father was a well-known Gang Show performer whose stage name was Gene Patton; he worked with the 18-year-old Peter Sellers in 1943 in The No. 10 Gang and gave performances in London, Orkney and the Hebrides, Iceland, the Far East, India, and Burma. They have elder brothers called Jimmy and Brian, who are known professionally as the Patton Brothers and who have appeared in Chucklevision, Jimmy as the nameless character known colloquially as "No Slacking", and Brian as another unnamed character known as "Geroutofit".[2]

Career[edit]

Television[edit]

The Chuckle Brothers won the television talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1967, followed by success on New Faces in 1974.[3] They did not have further success until the launch of their own television show in 1985 – ChuckleHounds, broadcast by the BBC. These short programmes, which were aimed at pre-school children and contained no dialogue, had the brothers dressed up in giant dog costumes. The brothers quickly moved on to their most famous show, ChuckleVision, in 1987. In 1998, ChuckleVision was nominated for a Children's BAFTA Award in the category "Best Children's Television Series". Jimmy and Brian Patton, the Chuckles' real-life brothers, make regular appearances in the show. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the four brothers appeared as a quartet on TV.

From 1996 to 1998 the Chuckle Brothers also presented a children's game show titled To Me, To You!, named after their signature catchphrase. The format, which incorporated a "treasure island" theme, involved two teams who participated in rounds competing for prizes on a shopping trolley (which was made to resemble a bamboo structure). By rolling a die, the teams had to draw the trolley to their end of the playing board; the "squares" on the path to both ends represented challenges. When this was achieved, new prizes were added to the trolley, which was reset to the middle of the board. The show ran for three series before the brothers took a break from entertainment, citing "exhaustion" as the main reason.[citation needed]

In May 2008, the brothers appeared in the BBC documentary series Comedy Map of Britain. They appeared in the TV series Celebrity Coach Trip in November 2010 and won the show, lasting the whole trip.[4] In November 2011, they starred in a series of TV advertisements for the UK-based van insurance comparison website, Van Compare.[5] In October 2012, they appeared on Comedy World Cup on Channel 4. On 15 March 2013, they were featured in David Walliams' sketch for Comic Relief, in which Walliams knocked on the brothers' door with important information to give to them; Paul responded with "To me?"

In the 2013 Christmas special of Still Open All Hours, Barry appeared as the dog owner Mr Marshall.

Stage[edit]

As well as regular TV appearances, Paul and Barry have appeared on stage in venues across the UK. Their past comedy and parody shows have included The Blackpool Tower Circus (1974), a pantomime based on Aladdin (1985), The Adventures of the Chuckle Brothers, The Chuckle Brothers in – Trouble at Sea, Raiders of the Lost Bark, Barry Potty and his Smarter Brother Paul in the Chamber of Horrors, Star Doors, Pirates of the River Rother, Doctor What & the Return of the Garlics, Spooky Goings On and Spooky Goings On 2. Live recordings of Pirates of the River Rother and Spooky Goings On 2 were released on home video in 2007, the latter under the title The Chuckle Brothers – Spooky Goings On Live![6]

From November to December 2006, they completed a nationwide tour of their Aladdin pantomime; Barry starred as Aladdin and Paul as brother Wishie Washee. The pantomime also starred dancing group The Chucklettes and illusionists Safire, with Simon Harvey appearing as Abanazar, Luke Jasztal as Widow Twankey, Charlotte Sullivan as So Shi and Amanda Poyner as Princess Jasmine. Choreography for the show was devised by Debbie Baggott, the Chuckle Brothers' niece and director of the Debonair Dance Academy,[7] of which the Chucklettes are members.

The brothers' 2008 tour, Indiana Chuckles and The Kingdom of the Mythical Sulk, set in Ancient Egypt, was a parody of the Indiana Jones films. Safire joined them again, making it their sixth outing with the brothers; the Patton Brothers also returned. It was released as a DVD, as with Pirates of the River Rother & Spooky Goings On 2.[8] For Christmas 2008, the brothers appeared in Aladdin at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend-on-Sea.

A new show – Chuckle Trek – The Lost Generation, a science-fiction parody – toured in 2009.[9] For Christmas that year, the Chuckle Brothers toured with the pantomime A Christmas Chuckle. In 2010, the brothers toured the UK with a special 21st-anniversary show, An Audience With The Chuckle Brothers, which contained a selection of comedy sketches and a question-and-answer session with the audience. In 2011, the brothers, along with the Patton Brothers and Safire, toured with Barry Potter and his Full Blood Brother Paul in The Ghostly Shadows, another Harry Potter parody. In December 2011, they starred in the pantomime Cinderella in Hull. On 7 April 2013, they opened The Chuckle Brothers Meet The Phantom at the Theatre! at Cliff's Pavilion, Southend.

Television appearances[edit]

Chuckle Brothers Live[edit]

The 2005 tour, Pirates of The River Rother, the 2007 tour, Spooky Goings On 2 and the 2008 tour, Indiana Chuckles and the Kingdom of the Mythical Sulk, have all been released on DVD. An edited version of the 1996 tour was also released as The Chuckle Brothers In Trouble; the DVD features a rehearsal performance of the show. Pirates of River Rother was revived in 2012 as Pirates of River Rother 2: In Stranger Tights. The 2010 tour, "An Audience With ... The Chuckle Brothers", adopted the format of a variety show with classic sketches, audience questions, musical performances, puppetry, film clips, magic and an audience participation version of To Me... To You..., in commemoration of 21 years of the ChuckleVision TV series.

Critical reception[edit]

On 31 January 2007, Rotherham United chairman Denis Coleman announced that the brothers had both been made honorary presidents of the football club.[10] In November 2007, Loaded magazine launched a campaign for the brothers to be knighted, calling for its readers to write to the Queen. This was picked up by a group on the social networking website Facebook. In 2008, they were honoured with the Special Award at the Children's BAFTA Awards.[11]

Personal life[edit]

The brothers regularly appear at events and openings, a recent example of which was the unveiling of the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre in North Anston in July 2013.[12] They are supporters of Rotherham United Football Club.[13]

In April 2007, while on holiday on the Greek island of Cephalonia, Paul broke his nose and suffered cuts and bruises when he lost control of his motorcycle after suddenly braking to avoid a goatherd and his flock. Instead of helping him, tourists who stopped at the accident shouted the Chuckle Brothers' catchphrase, "To me, to you."[14]

An urban legend surrounding Barry Chuckle's supposed death from a heart attack has circulated since at least 2008. In 2010, the brothers issued a statement on their website stating that the story was "complete and utter rubbish".[15] The BBC reported that the death hoaxes had upset young viewers, and had shocked Barry when they re-surfaced.[16] The hoax was said to have initially spread via Facebook in 2008, but re-surfaced in 2010 via Twitter.[16]

In December 2010, Barry announced his support for a proposal that one of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government's planned free schools, a taxpayer-funded school independent of the local authority, should be established in Rotherham.[17]

Paul is understood to have had his iconic moustache since the age of 23.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Briggs, Caroline (26 September 2007). "Brothers Mark 20 Years of Chuckles". BBC News. Retrieved 26 October 2007. 
  2. ^ Harman, Len (7 December 1981). "A Showbiz Dynasty". The Stage. Retrieved 12 February 2009. 
  3. ^ "Preview: The Chuckle Brothers at the Apollo, Oxford – April 19". The Oxford Times. 18 April 2001. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Alex Fletcher (16 September 2010). "Celebrity 'Coach Trip' lineup revealed". Digital Spy. 
  5. ^ "Chuckle Brothers Help Make Cheap Van Insurance a Wheeze!". Van Compare. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "The Chuck Brothers: Spooky Goings On Live!" (Press release). Liberation Entertainment. Retrieved 28 October 2007. 
  7. ^ Debonair Dance Academy official website http://www.debonairdanceacademy.co.uk
  8. ^ "Spring Tour". Official website. The Chuckle Brothers. Archived from the original on 12 November 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2007. 
  9. ^ Doolan, Lita (16 April 2009). "Chuckle Trek". Daily Information, Ltd. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "Millers Make Two Big Signings". The Chuckle Brothers Official UK Website. 7 February 2007. Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2007. 
  11. ^ "Bafta honour for Chuckle Brothers". BBC News. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  12. ^ "Chuckles at new Zoo Exhibit". Family Days UK. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Famous Fans: The Chuckle Brothers". The Football League. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Chuckle brother hurt in crash". BBC, CBBC Newsround. 27 April 2007. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "News On Barry". The Chuckle Brothers. 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2010. [dead link]
  16. ^ a b "Barry Chuckle's shock over death rumours". BBC News. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  17. ^ "Free school "a brilliant idea" says Barry Chuckle". The Rotherham Advertiser. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  18. ^ "@paulchuckle2". Twitter. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 

External links[edit]