Last year we were entertained by Graham Barraclough whose talk was entitled "That's Entertainment" and this year Graham very kindly agreed to give us his sequel. Once again any cobwebs of anxiety, care or depression were swept away for an hour as we listened and participated and allowed our spirits to be lifted.
Graham reminded us of his progression in the theatrical world both on and off the stage, starting with his enthusiasm for drama at school and his willingness to participate in pantomime, starting with "Dick Whittington". So it was a natural progression to employment with Kirklees as the person in charge of civic entertainment and publicity. In this capacity he was privileged to meet many well known stars of T.V. and theatre. Once, dressed as Postman Pat, he opened the postcard museum in Holmfirth with the former weatherman Ian Mc Caskill and stole the show as he appeared so authentic. He organised "It's A Knockout" in Cleckheaton with a group of people dressed as Luddites and with the appropriate backdrop. It was so well received that he was approached by a T.V. company to use this material and has some regrets about turning it down as it could have paved the way to a promising career. He was responsible for fairs and circuses in the days before local authorities forbad the use of wild animals, and he arranged entertainment for Greenhead Park and Crow Nest Park. He once tried new ideas for the Guinness Book of Records to involve children in activities for the summer holidays. He helped to arrange a visit to Dewsbury and Slaithwaite of the Royal Shakespeare Company. On a personal note, I remember my visit to the R.S.C. in Slaithwaite where they performed in modern dress, a first for me but nowadays much more popular.
In many of these events Graham was privileged to welcome lots of well-known people and make sure that they were happy and comfortable. Quite a responsibility! However, he emphasised that all the famous people were gracious and appreciative and very down-to-earth.
In retirement Graham spends some time writing pantomimes which he sells world-wide, even as far away as Tasmania. Nearer home, one script for "Red Riding Hood" was used in the Scilly Isles where those of us who watched the last series of “An Island Parish" saw the Methodist minister participate before he was "voted out" of his parish to move to the mainland.
Our lively time passed all too quickly and I am grateful to Graham for filling in another slot as speakers who accept little or no payment are difficult to find. If you can help.............!
Elaine Heard
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