All About Les

'I call my wife “Treasure.” She reminds me of something that’s just been dug up.' Revisit the life and career of the rubber-faced comedian who made joking about the wife a comedy institution.

Les Dawson: The Interviews

Famed for his deadpan, world-weary comedy style, rubbery face (the result of a broken jaw sustained in the boxing ring), his downtrodden, curmudgeonly humour and plentiful jokes about his wife and mother-in-law, Les Dawson: The Interviews tells the life story of the great Northern comedian.

His life was a classic tale of triumph over adversity, battling hardship and tragedy to become one of the country's most successful and best loved entertainers.

Les claimed in his autobiography that he began work as a pianist in a Parisian brothel. Making a living as a pianist soon evolved into comedy when he got the audience roaring with laughter when he would play wrong notes and complain to the crowds - a joke he developed greatly and worked into many of his routines later in his career. Les made his television debut in 1967 on the talent show Opportunity Knocks and became a prominent comic on television right up to his death in 1993.

He would often work with fellow comedian Roy Barraclough, creating various character routines, such as Cissie Braithwaite and Ada Shufflebotham - a pair of gossipy housewives from Lancashire.

Away from comedy however Les was also a poet, something he kept a secret, as well as an accomplished novelist. His first novel, A Card For The Clubs became a best seller when it was published in 1974.

In revealing radio and TV interviews from throughout his career, Les talks about his impoverished upbringing in the slums of Manchester and his numerous dead-end jobs before he finally made it in show business.

He reveals how the defining moment of his career came about when he went on stage in Hull a little worse for wear thanks to a little too much to drink, and in the process stumbled upon his now inconic lugubrious comedic style, poking fun at his nearest and dearest.

Les also discusses his private life, how he coped with the loss of his wife Margaret to cancer in 1988, and - in a remarkably frank radio interview recorded a week before his death - what he thought awaited him in the afterlife.

The Interviews continues every Wednesday at 9pm exclusive to Gold.