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Home > Popped Clogs

Popped Clog: Michael Elphic

Michael Elphic - star of Boon; co-star of Three up, Two
down; alcoholic - has died. He was 55.

10 September 2002

Michael Elphic showed his genius for comedy when he played Richard Briers in the classic sitcom 'Three Up, Two Down' opposite the wonderful Angela Thorne.

'Three Up, Two Down' was a bit like 'Home To Roost', in which John Thaw plays the grumpy father, but it was slightly less edgy and a bit more 'Boony'. Thaw and Elphic appeared together in the 1991 drama serial 'Stanley and the Women'
(in which Thaw played Stanley Duke) and it is possible that between takes the two actors discussed the relative merits of their sitcoms. In fact, they probably discussed all sorts of things. But what exactly did they discuss? Look - we don't know, and quite frankly it's not an interesting question.

'Three Up, Two Down' ran from 1985 to 1989. Around the middle of this period, some fourteen years before Elphic's swan song in Eastenders, the musician Simon Henderson joined the Albert Square cast as Eddie Hunter, the guitarist in the rock group set up by Sharon Watts and Simon Wicks. The band
was called 'The Banned', which is a pun.

Simon Henderson was, in real life, the drummer in the band 'Tara Zara', who were produced by Steve Mann, a member of the McAuley Schenker Group (or MSG for short) and also, for many years, of The Sweet. Mann recalls: "I remember he [Henderson] phoned up frantically asking for guitar lessons as he had auditioned for the part of drummer but had been offered the part of guitarist if he could play. Of course he couldn't and of course he lied and said he could! He had his six months of fame afterwards which was quite fun."

Steve Mann also produced four tracks for 'The Gay City Rollers', a demo for Lynsey de Paul, and worked for a time with legendary vocalist Kiki Dee. Mann recalls: "Kiki came up to my home studio in Leighton Buzzard around 1986 to record some demos for her new album, 'Angel Eyes' which appeared in 1987. One of the songs, 'Stay Close To You', was a superb ballad penned by Phil Caffrey and George Lamb which Phil had sung previously and to which I laid Kiki's voice. I produced an alternative mix with the two 'duetting' which in my opinion was the definitive version".

Dee is perhaps most famous for her duet with Elton John - 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' - which was not, as far as we know, produced by Steve Mann. Unlike four tracks for 'The Gay City Rollers', which very definitely were. Elton John's then manager, John Reid, signed a lucrative management deal with the band Queen on the 19th of September 1975, and it was on the 19th of September, precisely twenty-nine years earlier, that Michael Elphic was born.

Which means that he died just a few days short of his birthday. Which is sad.

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