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Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 02:45 GMT 03:45 UK
Ted Rogers: A life of entertaining
Ted Rogers, pictured in 1978, to launch the new gameshow 3-2-1
The presenter was best-loved for the gameshow 3-2-1
Ted Rogers began his showbusiness career as a Redcoat at Butlins.

But it was his time as a television gameshow host on the ITV hit 3-2-1, with his trusty sidekick Dusty Bin, that he will be best remembered by millions of viewers.

Born on 30 July 1935 in Kennington, south London, Rogers went to school in Lambeth.

At 16 he won a holiday camp entertainment contest with his impressions of Danny Kaye.

But he put his dreams of an entertainment career on hold, turning down showbusiness offers while he did his national service in the RAF.

After leaving the RAF, he set about pursuing the career he had craved by going into the Labour Exchange and asking them to get him a job in showbusiness.

His first venture into the entertainment world was as a Redcoat, and he went on to work in pantomime.

Lead role

But it was when Tommy Steele injured his ankle that Rogers had his first breakthrough in 1959.

He went from waiting in the wings as the understudy to take on a lead role in Cinderella at London's Coliseum.

And he broke into television in 1960 when he was invited to be compere at the Prince of Wales Show.

In 1965 he presented Bachelors' Night Out - an ITV series about the pop group Bachelors.

Later that year, the BBC gave him his own show - And So To Ted, but it was dropped after six weeks after failing to attract enough viewers.

In 1974 Rogers was invited be compere of Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

Gameshow host

And four years later he started presenting the gameshow 3-2-1, where he became known for his hand gesture in which he counted down the show's name with his fingers.

At its peak the show topped the ratings with 17m viewers.

The comic was invited to 10 Downing Street on the night Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979.

He continued to be a regular at Number 10 during Mrs Thatcher's reign.

He once said: "One night towards the end of her time as prime minister, she smiled and said, 'Ted, you've been here often, do you think Number 10 has changed much?'

"I said: 'Oh just a bit, but you've still got the same wallpaper my dear old mum has had in her bathroom for years.' She roared with laughter."

After 10 years, 3-2-1 was scrapped by ITV in 1987 although it was still attracting an audience of 12m.

Rogers lost his wealth in 1992 shortly after the recession.

His home in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, was repossessed and his Mercedes car was taken by bailiffs.

But he continued in showbusiness appearing in pantomimes across the country.

Rogers leaves two children, Fanella and Dena, from his first wife and childhood sweetheart Marge.

He also leaves second wife Marion and children Canna and Danny.

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02 May 01 | TV and Radio
Entertainer Ted Rogers dies
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