Round The Horne

Kenneth Williams

Born in London, and apart from a being evacuated and then a stint in the Army in the Far East, he remined there for the rest of his life. His career begun when he transferred to CSE designing posters for the troop concert party (his formal training was as a draughtsman at Stanfords in London) in Singapore, and then standing in for someone in the show when they were sick. The roles steadily increased in size, and on demob, he worked for various reporatory theatres across the country.

West End shows included the revues, Share My Lettuce, Pieces of Eight, and One Over the Eight, and in ligitimate theatre he played Truscot in the first production of Joe Orton's Loot (the role was written for him by Orton) and the Dauphin in Shaw's Saint Joan. It was in St Joan that he was spotted by Dennis Main Wilson and pulled in to play characters in Hancock's Half Hour, and the radio work developed to Beyond Our Ken and later Round the Horne. On Kenneth Horne's death, the proposed 5th season of RTH was commisioned but under the title Stop Messing About with Kenneth in the helm, but although this lasted for 26 shows, it didn't have the same feel as RTH.

Kenneth didn't stop with radio and appeared in nearly all of the Carry On films, and also many TV shows - namely as compere for International Caberet and starring in The Kenneth Williams Show, but it was on the chat show circuit that he really shone. An eloquent raconteur and born performer, his various interviews still stand today as the best in the field and are often repeated as part of celebrations and best of compilations.

Kenneth died in 1988 form an overdose of medication. An open verdict was announced although many close friends believe it to have been suicide.