25 June 1913|
Watford, Hertfordshire, England
|Died||2 January 2005
St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands, England
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, businessman|
|Partner(s)||Betty Astell (18 May 1941 - 2 January 2005; his death); 1 child|
Cyril Fletcher (25 June 1913 – 2 January 2005) was an English comedian, actor and businessman. His catchphrase was 'Pin back your lugholes'. He was best-known for his "Odd Odes", which later formed a section of the television show That's Life!. He first began performing the Odd Odes in 1937, long before they first appeared on television (though he did appear on pre-World War II television).
Fletcher came up with the idea when he was short of material for a radio show. The first Odd Ode was a comic, yet sentimental, reading of Edgar Wallace's war poem Dreaming of Thee. Following this broadcast he was given a regular programme on Radio Luxembourg; it was this show that brought him to national attention. He called himself "the odd oder".
He also appeared as a panellist on the popular UK BBC panel show What's My Line? that ran from 1951 to 1963. He was the presenter of Central TV's Gardening Today for 14 years and Channel Television's Cyril Fletcher's TV Garden and ran from 1990 to 1992 for 2 years.
Fletcher was born in Watford, the son of a solicitor, who was the Friern Barnet town clerk. Following schooling at Friern Barnet Grammar School, where he first began to entertain by composing witty poems about his schoolmasters, he graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A Freemason and a successful businessman, he believed it important to diversify in such a fickle business as show business. He founded Associated Speakers, an agency for after-dinner speakers, on whose books were the likes of the Duke of Bedford and Lord Longford, as well as himself.
He and his wife, Betty Astell, were married from 18 May 1941 until his death on 2 January 2005. She died six months later. The couple had a daughter, Jill Fletcher, an actress and comedienne.
- Dennis Barker (3 January 2005). "Obituary: Cyril Fletcher".
- Profile, Alexandra Palace Television Society website; accessed 18 March 2015.
- Fletcher, Cyril (1973). The Countryman: A Quarterly Review and Miscellany of Rural Life and Progress 73. Oxford: J.W. Robertson Scott. ISSN 0011-0272. page 47.
- Fletcher, Cyril (1978). Nice One Cyril: Being the Odd Odessey and the Anecdotage of a Comedian. London: Random House. ISBN 0-214-20581-9. page 19.
- Hayward, Anthony (3 January 2005). "Cyril Fletcher: Performer of 'Odd Odes' and 'That's Life'". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- "Famous Freemasons". Grand Lodge Scotland.