Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Many Faces Of June Whitfield

It was all a little embarrassing really. June Whitfield has been a radio and TV comedy actor for sixty years- and in that time played second fiddle to everyone from Arthur Askey and Jimmy Edwards to Julian Clary and Jennifer Saunders- so well done her!  She's a legend. The trouble with this hour-long tribute (screened on BBC 2 last night) is that when you start riffling through her old clips you're hard pressed to find anything that's actually funny or even particularly interesting. The nasal whine she put on for The Glums was distinctive and that was a cool one-liner she had in Ab Fab, but mainly this was a dig through strata of unfunniness- and I've had more laughs watching Time Team.  Most of the shows she featured in are forgotten- and the one that is remembered- Terry and June- is remembered for all the wrong reasons- as a chintzy, cosy monument to playing it safe.  Her admirers and friends used words like reliable and dependable- and an attempt was made to establish her as a great straight actress on the strength of her once having played Miss Marple on the radio- but it was uphill work- and the fullsomeness of the tributes simply didn't accord with the dullness on display.  She's a noble workhorse- but very little of her work is for the ages. To pretend otherwise is luvviness gone mad.
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