BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: Entertainment: TV and Radio
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Monday, 14 January, 2002, 16:02 GMT
Comedian Stanley Unwin dies
Unwin
Unwin: Affectionately known as 'professor'
Comedian Stanley Unwin, who won fans with his own zany language, has died aged 90.

Professor Unwin, as he was affectionately known, found fame by twisting words into a nonsense language, which he called Unwinese, on radio and later TV in the 1940s and 1950s.

He died peacefully on Saturday at the Dantre Hospital in Daventry, Northamptonshire, his agent said.

 Click here to listen to a clip of Stanley Unwin

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, it was his mother who unwittingly provided him with the inspiration for his language.

When she tripped up one day, she told her son that she had "falloloped over and grazed her knee clapper".

Unwin developed his unique language by reading fairytales to his children.

He began his career as a BBC engineer in 1940, and was soon persuaded to perform his party piece in front of a microphone.


Once a polly tie tode, a young lad set out in the early mordee, to find it deef wisdom and true love in flower petals arrayed

Example of Unwinese

His fame grew after he began doing spots on variety show broadcasts.

One of his biggest fans was the late Tommy Cooper who once described him as "bleeding barmy".

Unwin was also said to have influenced comedians such as Spike Milligan, Peter Cook, Freddie Starr and the Monty Python crew.

He also starred in a number of films, with roles including the Chancellor in hit children's film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the landlord in Carry On Regardless.

Unwin:
He developed his own unique language
In 1968 Unwin reached a whole new audience when he appeared on The Small Faces' 1968 album Ogdens Nut Gone Flake.

He was a late replacement for Milligan, who was going to appear on the album, but he delivered the story of Happiness Stan in his own unique style, which earned him cult status among rock fans.

In 1969 he "appeared" as Father Stanley Unwin in Gerry Anderson's puppet show The Secret Service.

Unlike his previous work on shows like Thunderbirds and Joe 90, Anderson used a mixture of live-action and puppetry for The Secret Service.

Unwin
The performer found fame on radio in the 1940s
Unwin would double as the puppet in motion sequences and would be seen driving a car and walking with a briefcase.

The series was not as popular as some of Anderson's earlier work and the show was cancelled after 13 episodes.

He also applied his linguistic skills to the lucrative TV advertising market.

His last appearance on TV was in 1998 as the voice of Mr Wangle on BBC animated show Rex the Runt.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Razia Iqbal
"Stanley Unwin was known as Professor Unwin"
See also:

14 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Stanley Unwin: Master of nonsense
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more TV and Radio stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more TV and Radio stories