Lance Percival

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Lance Percival
Born John Lancelot Blades Percival
(1933-07-26) 26 July 1933 (age 81)
Sevenoaks, Kent, England, UK
Years active 1961–present

Lance Percival (born 26 July 1933) is an English actor, comedian and after-dinner speaker.


Born in Sevenoaks, Kent, and educated at Sherborne School in Sherborne, Dorset, Percival first became well known in the early 1960s for performing topical calypsos on television shows such as That Was The Week That Was, and made several appearances in British comedy films including the Carry On film Carry On Cruising (1962). Percival had a cameo role in The V.I.P.s in 1963 and, in 1964, another in The Yellow Rolls-Royce. The same year brought Percival his own BBC TV comedy series Lance at Large, with writers Peter Tinniswood and David Nobbs.

He has had one UK Singles Chart hit, reaching number 37 in October 1965 with his cover version of a calypso-style song entitled "Shame and Scandal in the Family"[1] and recorded several other comedy songs, working, like many British comics of the era, with George Martin at Parlophone, including "The Beetroot Song" ("If You Like Beetroot I'll Be True To You", 1963), written by Mitch Murray, and "The Maharajah of Brum" (1967), written with Martin.[2]

Later he provided the voice of both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in the 1965 cartoon series The Beatles, leading to his voicing the central character "Old Fred" in the Beatles' animated film Yellow Submarine. He also appeared as an "upper class tramp" in the Herman's Hermits film vehicle Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1968).[3]

In 1970 he starred alongside Julie Andrews, Rock Hudson and Jeremy Kemp in the musical film, Darling Lili and also appeared in There's a Girl in My Soup. However, on 14 December 1970, he was involved in a fatal car crash near Farningham, Kent, apparently while racing another driver at high speed in his Jaguar XJ on a dangerous stretch of road near Brands Hatch. Percival almost lost the sight of one eye and was summoned to court where he agreed to pay substantial damages following the death of a third, uninvolved driver, Paul Young.[4][5][6]

Percival returned to film work in the Frankie Howerd vehicles Up Pompeii, Up the Chastity Belt (1971), and Up the Front (1972), sustaining a film career until 1978. Between 1972 and 1978 the Thames Television game show Whodunnit! was written by Percival and Jeremy Lloyd. He appeared on BBC Radio light entertainment programmes such as Just a Minute throughout the 1980s and is also the author of two books of verse, Well-Versed Cats and Well-Versed Dogs, both illustrated by Lalla Ward. Subsequently he gained a reputation as a writer, and later a presenter, of after-dinner speeches.[7]





  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 423. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ "Discogs". Discogs. 26 July 1933. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  3. ^ "Reviews & Ratings for Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter". Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ "Lance Percival crash.mp4". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  7. ^ "Lance Percival, Book After Dinner Speaker Lance Percival". Retrieved 2012-12-21. 

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