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Home > Popped Clogs

Popped Clog: Thora Hird

Thora Hird - actress, comedian, talking head, dame - has died. She was 91.

17 March 2003

In a final tribute to the great comic actress, we are proud to print Alan Bennett's final brilliant monologue for Thora Hird, which - tragically - Thora never got to record. Here, in a world exclusive, is the unexpurgated text.


'Barnoldswick Ho!'

by Alan Bennett.

"If it were up to me, pet," said Donald, spreading a quarter inch of Bovril on his medium malted, and winking at me like that camel what they 'ad once at Morecombe petting zoo just after t' war. Least they said it were a camel - never mind it answered to the same name as Mr Pendleton's donkey - but in those days you could have strapped a Fray Bentos to the head of a mackerel, called it a mermaid, and half the men in the Clitheroe would have asked it out t' see 'The Lady From Shangai' - which was that one before Orson Welles got properly fat. You know, the kind of fat where you need winches if you're planning on raising a family.

According what I saw in Readers's Digest, after I were 'aving me tubes done, in later life Orson were addicted to brisket - one of the fattier meats, I always say, so let that be a warning.

So, there was our Donald, looking more like Rita Heyworth than Orson Welles after swapping wigs with Len Carvill behind Preston Co-Op, but any man who uses glucose powder on his athlete's foot - bla bla bla - filthy habit - bla bla bla bla bla - half way across Ribble Valley - bla bla - mint imperials - bla bla bla - poignant bit - bla bla bla - snagged my support tights on the gears of the Stannah, and thought I were going to end up like Ray Eckersley what lost 'is arm to the fan belt of a Morris Minor bla bla bla bla - should never 'ave let them take the corners off the tea-bag. You see, some things in life are sacred. "Like corned beef" said Donald, offering me a Fox's Glacier. "Exactly," I said. "Like corned beef." Donald nodded: "you're not wrong." And that were Donald's last words before the cancer got 'im.

Daft sod.

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