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Frankie Howerd

Updated on March 17, 2011

Frankie Howerd was an ever-popular English Comedian who performed for 6 decades. Frankie Howerd born as Francis Alick Howerd on 6 March 1917 in York, England. He worked in radio, TV and movies and was renowned for his many catchphrases which were often little more than interjections and pauses, such as "Yes, now then, no dont .... ". He was also renowned for variations on "Titter Ye Not" or "Titter thy last Titter". He died in Fulham in London on 18 April 1992 just as his career was once again surging as he found a new age group of fans who hailed him as a master comedian.

Throughout his career, Howerd was firmly in the closet as he hid his homosexuality from both his audience and his mother. Although he was decidedly camp his constant leching after women his the true nature of his character. Frankie's partner was Dennis Heymer who he met in 1955 and they stayed together as partners and work colleagues for more than 30 years until Frankie died.

Up Pompeii

Frankie Howerds most famous TV series was "Up Pompeii" written Talbot Rothwell who had been involved with the Carry-On films, it was based very much on "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" which Howerd had appeared in on stage between 1963 and 1965. The humour in Up Pompeii was derived firmly from Howerd's character he would talk directly to the camera constantly using his famous phrases such as "Oooh, no missus" or "Titter ye not", these were done in such a way that they appeared adlibbed but it has subsequently be shown that Howerd planned all these phrases in minute detail on the script. Up Pompeii also showed another Howerd trait of feigning ignorance of the dubious double entendres and telling the audience off for "tittering".

The script was filled with dubious names in the spirit of Carry-on. Howerd himself was a slave called Lurkio, his master was Senator Ludicrus Sextus who has a voluptuous daughter Erotica and a weak son called Nausius.

There were two series broadcast in 1970 aliong with 2 specials entitled Further Up Pompeii broadcast in 1975 and 1991. The latter prompting speculation that another series was in the pipeline just prior to Howerd's death.

The series spawned 3 spin-off films Up Pompeii (1971), Up the Chastity Belt (1971) and Up the Front (1972). The latter two featured a Lurkio type character in a Medieval setting and in a First World War setting.

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