30 November 08
Paul and Barry Elliott – known to millions as The Chuckle Brothers – received the Special Award at the EA British Academy Children’s Awards.
The Academy’s Special Award is presented in recognition of an outstanding creative contribution and, as the Chuckle Brothers, Paul and Barry Elliot have entertained generations of children over three decades. The Award was presented to the Brothers by Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies at the EA British Academy Children's Awards on Sunday 30 November.
Watch the Brothers interviewed backstage at the Awards:
The enduring success of Paul and Barry Elliott defies the widely repeated view that variety is dead. A blend of slapstick, wordplay and traditional joke-making, the Chuckle Brothers’ comedy is drawn from movie heroes like the Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy and – closer to home – from their father whose career was played out in variety theatre.
Born in Rotherham, the brothers first tasted success after winning the television talent-show New Faces in 1974. However, they had to wait over a decade to find their true audience. ChuckleVision, a development from their 1985 series Chucklehounds, began in 1987 and twenty-one years later it is still going strong.
The show continues to receive wide recognition and, with the catchphrase ‘to me! to you!’, it has fostered a cult following. Adults who once watched are still tuning in or introducing a new generation of viewers to the Brother’s on screen antics. This has in part been made possible by Paul and Barry’s approach: the show casts a keen eye on modern popular culture while keeping comedy traditions alive.
ChuckleVision remains a staple of the CBBC schedules, but it is only a part of what the brothers do. Pantomime, summer seasons and touring with their stage show Chuckle Trek: The Lost Generation make up the brothers’ time in between filming. With older brothers Jimmy and Brian as part of a talented team of writers their success on television and on stage looks set to endure.
It is a success story that has convinced them and their multiple audiences that the demise of variety has been somewhat exaggerated.
Original profile by Anwar Brett
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