Web Page No 2236
11th February 2016
Top Picture: Peggy Mount
Second Picture: David Kossoff
Third Picture: The Larkins
The Larkins was created by Fred Robinson and had initially been written ten years earlier for an amateur production of a local scout troop. However after several rewrites Ada and Alf Larkin soon became one of the best known TV married couples in the country
Peggy Mount had gained enormous success with her portrayal of the loud-mouthed battle-axe of a mother-in-law from hell in the stage play and film of Sailor Beware! ATV saw the role of East End housewife Ada Larkin as ideal for her and she was quick to suggest David Kossoff as her downtrodden husband Alf. Also signed for the show were Ruth Trouncer and Ronan O’Casey as the Larkins’ married daughter and ex-G.I. son-in-law (Joyce and Jeff Rogers) with Shaun O’Riordan playing teenager Eddie Larkin.
The Larkins was a hit from the start. Loudmouthed Ada and her timid husband Alf welcomed son Eddie back from his stint in national service, spent mainly in London so he could go home at the weekends, and set about finding him a job.
Alf was the manager of a works canteen while Ada was busily engaged with nosy neighbour Hetty.
So popular was the initial run of six episodes that The Larkins were back for a Boxing day special a couple of months later and a follow up season a mere six weeks after that. By the time of a third series the team had also filmed a movie spinoff for cinema release. Called Inn for Trouble (the plot centring on Alf and Ada running a pub), most of the TV cast were joined by Carry-On regulars Leslie Phillips and Charles Hawtrey, A.E. Matthews, Stanley Unwin, Graham Stark and Irene Handl.
After a fourth season at the end of 1960s (and a total of twenty-six episodes) it was decided to bring the show to an end while still a favourite. But three years later, the Larkins were back for an encore. The storyline had Alf being left his job at the works canteen and the family home had been acquired for demolition. With the children now out on their own, he and Ada use his severance pay to take over a worker’s café. Most of the original supporting characters were written out but this new series also saw the regular customers at the café becoming occasional targets for Ada’s wrath. After a further series in mid-1964 The Larkins finally said goodbye for good.
Peggy Mount died aged 86
Peggy Mount died at the age of 86 in 2001. This lady with the foghorn voice, died after a long illness in Nursing Home for aged actors. She was naturally well known for her role as Ada and received an OBE in 1996, but preferred to be remembered for her many serious stage roles, despite further television success in such shows as George and the Dragon and Lollipop Loves Mr Mole.
Towards the end of her life she lost her sight and had suffered a series of strokes. She was born in Southend and her first acting experience was at a concert party during World War II. She spent some time in repertory then went in to the West End in 1955 in Sailor Beware! which ran for more than 1,000 performances.
It was in 1958 with the success of The Larkins that she became familiar to millions of viewers. It was a role that endeared her to the early television generations. Despite her success on television she never lost her love for the stage. She spent time with the RSC at Stratford, she toured the Middle East in Blithe Spirit and My Giddy Aunt and was also a regular on the pantomime circuit and her last appearance was in 1999, at the age of 84, as the Fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk in Poole, Dorset.
David Kossoff outlived Peggy Mount by four years. In 1954 he won a BAFTA for his appearance in The Young Lovers but perhaps his best-known roles other than Alf Larkin were as Professor Kokintz in The Mouse that Roared (1959) and its sequel The Mouse on the Moon (1963).
Because of the drug use of his son Paul, a rock musician, who subsequently died, he became an anti-drug campaigner. In 1971 he was also actively involved in the Nationwide Festival of Light, an organisation protesting against the commercial exploitation of sex and violence, and advocating the teaching of Christ as the key to re-establishing moral stability in Britain.
He was born in London, the youngest of three children, to poor Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. His father, Louis was a tailor, while the eldest son Alec, changed his surname to Keith; the middle child was Sarah Rebecca but was usually called Sadie.
He started working on British television just after it restarted after the War. His first stage appearance was in 1942 at the age of 23 and over the years he took part in numerous plays and films but became best-known as the hen-pecked husband in The Larkins.
He was also well known for his story-telling skills, particularly with regard to reinterpreting the Bible. His best-known book, also a television series, is The Book of Witnesses (1971), in which he turned the Gospels into a series of monologues. He also retold dozens of Old Testament and Apocrypha stories in Bible Stories (1968).
A little known fact is that in 1953, he played the character Lemuel "Lemmy" Barnet in the cult British sci-fi radio series Journey into Space.
He died in 2005 of liver cancer at age 85. He was cremated and interred at the Golders Green Crematorium. He married Jennie and had two sons, Paul and Simon. Following the death in 1976 of his son Paul, guitarist with the band Free, he established the Paul Kossoff Foundation which aimed to present the realities of drug addiction to children and he spent the remainder of his life campaigning against drugs. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he toured with a one-man stage performance about the death of his son and its effect on the family.
Keep in touch
Poem by Bett
Poem by Bett
Memories linger in every street
Familiarity guides my feet
Over the cobblestones
Down to The Hard
The pleasure of remembering
Is barely marred
By the changes I see
In the place I was born to be
Down by the sea
The sun sets pink above a misty horizon
Behind a milky sea
To the seagulls’ cries, and
The shushing of the spray
On the shingled shore
Is an eloquent lullaby
To those who were born
To the smell of wet sand
It’s my own special land
Down by the sea
At midnight The Ocean
Is a dark, breathing spell
That charms with its presence
And calls us to dwell
On the edge of its Kingdom
And watch it with awe
Like a handful of Pilgrims
Waiting on the shore
For the touch of its hand
It’s a magical land
Down by the sea
When I return
As I know I will
To live in the land
In the shadow of The Hill
I’ll sit on the shore
Til the sun goes down
And the sea turns dark
And the only sound
Is the ceaseless lapping
Of the waves on the shore
Like a mother caressing
Her child newborn
In the place I was born to be
Land of my memory
Down by the sea
News and Views:
Griff points out:
"Fleming House" at Manor Court was a Red badge. I was, for some unknown reason, a Fleming House Captain in the 5th Year.
The barrage balloon with an under slung basket I remember was used at Portsmouth airfield for parachute training of the TA in the 1950's.
Just in case you have not heard after almost 16 years and three different owners Friends Reunited has closed. I understand that they will be supplying links if you wish to retrieve your photographs. It seems a shame I think that some of us would not have met again if it had not been for FRU
On this day 11th February 1960-1965
On 11/02/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was Some Like It Hot. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was French test first atomic bomb in Sahara desert.
On 11/02/1961 the number one single was Are you Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmatians. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 11/02/1962 the number one single was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 11/02/1963 the number one single was Diamonds - Jet Harris & Tony Meehan and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was Liz Taylor films Cleopatra.
On 11/02/1964 the number one single was Needles & Pins - Searchers and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Steptoe & Son (BBC) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 11/02/1965 the number one single was You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - Righteous Brothers and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.