Actor

Brass monkeys Best Film Carry On Dick
Best Character Sergeant Jock Strapp in Carry On Dick
Silliest name Jock Strapp in Carry On Dick
Films 9 - Abroad, Matron, Girls, Dick, Behind, England, That's, Emmannuelle, Columbus
Best Line "Wayayy"

 

With his gawky angular frame and jerky movements, he became a valued requisition for the later Carry Ons. He was born in Newcastle on the 26th April 1927 to a theatrical family stretching back for generations. His grandfather was in silent films and his father was a Northern theatre impresario, who put on variety shows and pantos all over the UK.

As a youngster during WWII, he gave up school for show business and worked for his father as a £2 a week dogsbody going everything from stagehand to carpentry. On 3 occasions his career has been helped by circumstances beyond his control. The first was on his 15th birthday when, the story goes, his father gave him a script for a pantomime and told him to go to Sunderland and put it on the stage. The second happened when the leading actor, in one of the many pantomimes he had produced, fell ill and as nobody else knew the lines Jack took his part on the stage, and this gave him a taste for comedy acting and set him on his path.

The third accidental leap towards stardom occurred when, after stooging for such top line comedians as Arthur Askey, Bruce Forsyth and Benny Hill, Jack teamed up with Joe Baker. When Baker somehow got locked out of the theatre, Jack had no option but to go on alone for the very first time. Due to his nervous desperation he began twitching and falling about – and the audience fell about too, and so was born his comic stage character Alf Ippitititimus, who in cloth cap and steel spectacles, became part of Jack’s longstanding TV and stage partnership with Des O’Connor. Although he has now abandoned the Ippitititimus image, it helped to shape his Carry On character.

Stiff as a boardHis first small roles in the series are basically the Alf character with his reeling and writhing hotel porter in Girls and the fumbling, bumbling beer drinker in Abroad who throws pints of beer over himself and the short cameo of the expectant father phoning the Guinness Book Of Records in Matron. His parts grow in Dick (oo-er!) as the nervy clod-hopping Sergeant Strapp, assigned to ‘loo-observation’ duty by Captain Fancy (Kenneth Williams) and he gets slung out of the inn for being a peeping Tom. In Behind he is teamed up with Windsor Davies, two married men on a caravanning holiday looking for more than fishing bait, trying to chat up a pair of young girls camping alongside them, and forgetting that they are no longer any young woman’s dreamboat. Jack plays the naïve, slow-thinking Bragg, who has to be nudged to understand that when Windsor Davies is talking about birds, he doesn’t mean ornithology.

In England as Bombadier Ready he supports the rebellious goings-on of Sergeants Willing and Able in his own gangling way. In Emmannuelle he has a key role as the butler, Lyons, leering and jerking his way through lecherous episodes and memories. His is a unique contribution to the series.

Douglas has a wide range of interest outside the world of comedy, he is a passionate jazz enthusiast with a huge collection of records, some of them very rare. He paints, designs his own clothes and he is an expect on food and wine. He is an excellent cook and has had cookery books published with Alf Ippitititimus credited for some of the recipes. He has written some Carry On scripts but they were never made and he is also an excellent after-dinner speaker.

Jack died on December 18, 2008 (age 81) in he adopted home of the Isle of Wight. He was survived by his partner Vivien Howell.

 

Filmography
 Chronologically (except Carry Ons)
Externally linked to IMDB

Norbert Smith, a Life
Cuffy (TV)
Boys In Blue, The
Shillingbury Tales, The (TV)
Shillingbury Blowers, The
Bloody Kids (TV)
What's Up Nurse!
Not on Your Nellie (TV)
Edwardians, The (TV)
Nearly a Nasty Accident
Bold Journey (TV)

 


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