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Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2006, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Audio slideshow: Seaside entertainers
Brothers Jimmy and Brian Patton, both in their 70s, are the elder brothers of the Chuckle Brothers and have been a comedy double act, performing in traditional variety shows, for more than 50 years. In that time they have only ever missed two seaside summer seasons.

From their dressing room at Blackpool's Grand Theatre, where they are hosting a matinee show, they recall their memories and talk of their concerns for the future of the business.

*Sadly, the Pattons' recent show in Blackpool was axed two weeks into a three-month run, due to lack of audiences.*

Audioslideshow produced by Tom Housden. Interview and pictures by Tom Geoghegan and Paula Dear.


Here are some of your memories of traditional seaside entertainment.

I'm 33 and a couple of years ago went to see the Chuckle Brothers with my mum. We hadn't laughed so much in ages and I think people underestimate the scope of this type of comedy. It's not just for kids. It's very, very funny. Maybe the four brothers should join forces next season?
Rosie Phillips, Liverpool, England

Oh my God! Two Chuckle brothers are bad enough - are you telling me there are more of them? They made me cringe when I was a kid, the humour is so lame and out-dated. Thankfully, people's tastes have moved on. Falling down stairs and playing the thicko just isn't funny anymore!
Lucky

I remember the Patton Brothers hosting the entertainment at Rockley Sands in Poole in the mid 1980s when I was about 12. I think it was around that time the old style of entertainment started to die. It's a shame as I have some great childhood holiday memories.
Steve Willetts, Lydney, Gloucestershire

Over here in Northern Ireland, a friend of mine has been organizing Vaudeville nights at the Belfast Empire and they have been going down a storm, with trapeze acts, ukulele players and my own juggling act Babcock and Bobbins. Vaudeville can definitely still work in the modern era, people have been starved of good live entertainment - especially when most of the stuff you see on TV is really contrived.
David Powell, Lisburn, Northern Ireland

I can understand why the industry is diminishing, I just feel that entertainment is always moving on and these chaps seem a bit old fashioned. Perhaps there's no room for them anymore. Perhaps there's no room for any of us ...
Dave, Belfast

My late dad was a great fan of stage, theatre and music hall and he loved the summer seasons. It's a great shame that we are slowly losing all our original acts, only to be left with memories.
Dave Goody, Hockley, Essex, UK

How very sad that their show closed at the Grand Theatre after only two weeks. The age of variety is NOT dead .... it is only sleeping. The modern television idea of cheap-to-produce game shows and reality TV has to pass. Variety lives on in bars and holiday camps across the UK and it's only a matter of time before television picks up on it again, then the theatres will fill with big names once more.
John Sharples, Preston, Lancashire

A fascinating piece - congratulations to Jimmy and Brian for keeping these British traditions alive. It's very sad about the lack of attendances in Blackpool this summer, but great that the Pattons are out there working hard. People might have gone to the show if there had been more of this kind of entertainment on TV and fewer mindless reality shows. It's high time someone commissioned a documentary about this amazing show business family and their way of life, isn't it BBC?
Martin Craig, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

My dad Ivor Owen, a comedian singer, used to appear in 26-week theatre summer seasons every year, up until the late 70s. Then audiences enjoyed live entertainment. Let's hope one day this comes back.
Danny Owen, Witham, Essex

Tommy Cooper in Scarborough in the early 70s. Fantastic! I couldn't stop laughing from the moment he walked on stage. He sang Stormy Weather and got soaked, and Autumn Leaves while sat at the piano and got covered in leaves. Great memories!
Mike, East Molesey, UK

I just love all the old time entertainment. I always look forward to Christmas when I get up and sing the old favourites to my startled grandchildren. Bring back the Pattons!
Haydn Harvey, Hitchin UK





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