CHRISTOPHER STEVENS REVIEWS LAST NIGHT'S TV

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS REVIEWS LAST NIGHT'S TV
CHRISTOPHER STEVENS REVIEWS LAST NIGHT'S TV

The Two Ronnies: Ronnie Corbett's Lost Tapes

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This Way Up

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A distinctive laugh is part of a successful joker's comic arsenal. Jimmy Carr sounds like a seal with its flipper stuck in a door. Michael McIntyre giggles like a five-year-old girl.

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But for other comedians, hearing one of those unmistakable laughs in the audience must turn the blood cold.

There's a recording of Frankie Howerd at the Establishment Club in Soho, from a comeback gig in the early 1960s (Frankie spent his career going away and coming back). One nasal bray keeps cutting through the crowd — it's Kenneth Williams, and he's sozzled.

Rob Brydon suffered a similar heart-stopper at a gig on the Edinburgh Fringe. The laugh echoing from the back was simple yet instantly recognisable. 'Hah! Hah! Ha-ah!' it went. Everyone started turning round to stare. Ronnie Corbett was in the house.

Anyone who watches Would I Lie To You? knows Brydon has a Pavlovian reaction to Ronnie's name. The first mention of it sends him into a paroxysm of impressions.

Corbett's generosity to other comedians was legendary. But his private life as a family man was less known. Pictured: Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker

Corbett's generosity to other comedians was legendary. But his private life as a family man was less known. Pictured: Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker 

Rob, speaking on The Two Ronnies: Ronnie Corbett's Lost Tapes (ITV), remembered the night... and how he started telling one of the star's own gags — about his grandad who died at the Battle of Little Bighorn. 

Far from being aggrieved, Ronnie joined in from the stalls with the punchline: 'He wasn't fighting, he was camping in the next field and went over to complain about the noise.'

Corbett's generosity to other comedians was legendary. But his private life as a family man was less known. This retrospective, coloured with snatches of home movies showing Ronnie playing with his daughters, Emma and Sophie, revealed his charm off-screen.

The fact the pictures were on cine film, filled with flickering colours and sunlight flares, made them seem 'much more like a

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