Kenneth Fact File

Just how well do you think you know the famed Carry On star and master of the innuendo? Here are a few facts about Kenneth Williams you might not know...

Kenneth Fact File
  • His first experience of acting was at school where he played Princess Angelica in The Rose and the Ring.
  • Kenneth's unique tone of voice can be attributed for the time he was hit in the nose with a football, restricting one of his nasal passages restricted.
  • Kenneth's dad didn't like his accent and chastised him, saying 'don't speak with that plum in your mouth!'
  • Began writing a diary at age 14. His dad tells him off for writing that an evening spent with his parents was 'dull and boring'.
  • Was evacuated to Bicester during the blitz.
  • Joining the army at 18 was a shock to the system and got sent to Physical Development Centre .
  • In the army, Kenneth joins the Combined Services Entertainment Division in Singapore and performed with other soon-to-be successful theatrical types such as Stanley Baxter and John Schlesinger.
  • After returning home from the war his father encouraged him to get a trade because 'acting is rubbish, all the women are tarts and all the men are poofs'.
  • Kenneth dabbled in cartography, having trained in it during the war, but it didn't last long.
  • Kenneth went against his father's wishes and worked in theatre alongside likes of Orson Welles, Alec Guinness and Noel Coward.
  • Kenneth's vocal range got him work on Hancock's Half Hour and developed the 'snide' voice and his 'stop messing about' catchphrase.
  • Hancock eventually shed Kenneth as he was jealous of his laughs and felt his showboating jarred with his search for 'true' comedy. Kenneth never forgave him.
  • Appeared in 26 Carry On films, more than any other actor.
  • Kenneth was close friends with 'Carry On' co-star Barbara Windsor and even joined her and first husband Ronnie Knight on their honeymoon.
  • Was a regular panellist on radio show 'Just a Minute'
  • Provided all the voices for the 1981 cartoon series Willo the Wisp.
  • Hosted 69 episodes of Jackanory.
  • For much of his life he lived alone in a small flat next door to his mother.
  • Unbelievably, Kenneth never owned a television.
  • He was obsessed with cleanliness and had lots of phobias, like the the fear of sludge that gathers under the soap and footsteps behind him.

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