Not many film actors can say they have come to the sound stage from a position of pre-eminence in not only the legitimately boring and expensive stage but also telly and radio. Bill Fraser did that. Having also saved Eric Sykes’ life and been present at Thora Hird’s first film audition, he went on to take part in some really cracking stuff. And some pretty diabolical stuff. But in either case, he was good whatever the weather. Schtick like Bootsie and Snudge predating romp Orders Are Orders, pleasing tittle tattle The Fast Lady, fondly remembered A Home of Your Own and the extraordinary I’ve Gotta Horse were enough to ensure his craggy and permanently annoyed features were a welcome addition to anything. More politically incorrect that Hitler’s slightly racist uncle, Love Thy Neighbour, won’t win him any credibility points but then the frankly demented That’s Your Funeral would have knocked that on the head in any case. Always interesting, and grumpy, and always worth a look Bill Fraser was a titan of a man who ought to have been given more to do. And an Oscar – for anything, The Amorous Milkman, say – just because someone like Bill Fraser at the Shriners Auditorium in a winning capacity would have helped maintain the balance toward the sunny side of the street that bit more easily.
FINEST HOUR: As Prosperus Maximus showing no deco-rum in the fo-rum.