Titter ye not! It’s Frankie Howerd in Luton

JUST imagine one of the top comedians of today, say Michael McIntyre or Alan Carr, being asked to open your local church fete – and accepting the invitation.

It was a similar scenario in 1960 when funnyman Frankie Howerd was the special guest at the summer fayre at St Andrew’s Church in Blenheim Crescent, Luton.

As well as opening the event, Howerd helped judge the carnival queen contest and crowned the winner, above, although she seemed a little unsure as he kissed her on the cheek, left, as they posed for pictures. Can anyone name the queen and her five attendants in this Luton News photo? We would love to hear from them.

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Howerd’s career had not reached its peak, but the comedian, then aged 43, was still a household name.

With a battery of ‘oohs’, ‘aahs’ and ‘thrice nays’ punctuating his routine of risque jokes and rambling stories, he appealed to fresh generations of audiences for more than 40 years.

Following pre-war work in concert parties and troop entertainment shows during his war service, he came to prominence through the radio show Variety Bandbox.

He made many TV appearances and had roles in several films in the ‘50s, but his crown had started to slip by the end of the decade as TV producers viewed him as difficult and his humour outdated.

But Howerd’s career was reignited in the ‘60s and ‘70s with popular shows like Up Pompeii. He died from a heart attack in 1992, aged 75.