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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Richard Fairbrass Turns 60 today. Who?

Richard Peter John Fairbrass. 
Richard Fairbrass. 
He was born September 22, 1953 in Surrey, England. That means he turns 60 today. More about him later. You probably don't know his name, but you know something he did.
Bernard Cribbins.
Bernard Cribbins. 
He was born December 20, 1928 in Lancashire, England.
Most of you have never heard of him. I certainly hadn't. But if you are my age or about my age, you know something that he did back in the 60s was something many of us enjoyed watching in the late 70s and early 80s. As well, something else he did in the 60s inspired someone else who did one thing about 25 years ago. Because of that, Bernard Cribbons will be relevant for a very long time, even if he is never remembered for inspiring it.
Bernard Cribbins did a lot of things in show business. He likely won't be remembered by many for any of them. Richard Fairbrass did a lot of things for a long time but won't be remembered by most for all but one. One hundred years from now, they likely both will only be remembered for the one thing they have in common. At the end of this blog (no skipping ahead, read the freaking blog) you will find out what that is.

This is Bernard Cribbins. You probably don't recognize him.
Cribbins made his theatre debut in 1956 and did a number of theater productions until the early 1960s, when he recorded several successful novelty records.  

He was also known for his appearance in the British Carry On films, which many of us loved watching as kids on late night TV. There was always a chance you could see some naked girls and the movies were funny enough while you waited for that to happen. The British are good at that sort of thing. Cribbins appeared in Carry On Jack (1963), Carry On Spying (1964) and Carry On Columbus (1992). I think over the years I have probably seen all the Carry On films, although I really can't remember much about any of them. I remember the camping one well, but if I were to watch one now, it would seem fresh. I might just do that this week to see how funny (or not funny) they actually are. The naked girl thing, well, I have the internet, so that ship has sailed.

Cribbins was the narrator of The Wombles, a BBC children's television program that ran between 1973 and 1975. Many know Cribbins's most from his role as Wilfred Mott in Doctor Who.

He was the celebrity storyteller in more episodes of Jackanory than any other personality, appearing more than 100 times from 1966 to 1991. I have never even heard of that show, nor the Wombles.

He did many things on television and one of the most memorable was an episode of Fawlty Towers in 1975. In it, he played a spoon salesman who is mistaken by Basil Fawlty for a hotel inspector. It is memorable to those who watched Fawlty Towers. I wasn't one of those. Until I posted that clip, I had never seen the show once.
He has had a long and successful--if not famous--career and still performs up to this day.

Back to Richard Peter John Fairbrass. For a short while he was a fairly popular singer. In terms of the grand scheme of things, he was very much a one hit wonder. He did do many other things, but very few know or care about them. Below are just a few.

Fairbrass is openly bisexual and once co-hosted, with Rhona Cameron, a TV series aimed at a lesbian and gay audience called Gaytime TV on  the BBC. That lasted 4 years. He isn't famous for that. Outside of Britian, nobody has ever seen it.

In 1984, he appeared in Jazzin' for Blue Jean, a David Bowie video, as the bass player. Most everyone has seen that video but nobody knows Fairbrass was in it and he certainly isn't famous for it. Bowie is.
No, while Richard Fairbrass has done a wide assortment of interesting things in show business, he will be forever known for one very catchy song he sung in a group with a weird name. 

Richard Fairbrass. Maybe he looks familiar. Here's a hint. He used to be way too sexy. For his shirt. Not this shirt though.

At this point, you are probably asking yourself what do Richard Fairbrass and Bernard Cribbins have in common? One thing they did, among the many things they have both done in long careers. For both of them, it is possibly the most popular thing they did.

You see, Fairbrass is the lead vocalist of the band Right Said Fred which he formed with his brother Fred Fairbrass. Cribbins put out two successful albums back in the early sixties, one of which was called , Right Said Fred. 
Fairbrass named the group after the song and the album. 
Fairbrass turns 60 today, and Cribbins is still going at 84. 

And now, the song you all want to look up. I saved you the trouble. Here it is.

Right then, carry on with your day.

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Daily profile about a specific artist,their life, their work and their impact