Bob's Your Uncle

Bob Monkhouse: does he need an introduction? Game show host, presenter, comedian, comedy scriptwriter and advertising spectre (he appeared, posthumously, in an award-winning ad campaign for Prostate Cancer Awareness four years after his own death from the disease): in a career that spanned more than 50 years he did pretty much everything and became a national institution in the process.

In 1968 CBS in Britain signed Bob, issuing the 45 I Remember Natalie, a minor hit reaching Number 54 in March 1969. A pleasant but unspectacular pop song, the disc is more notable for its B-side – In My Dream World - which was co-written by Mark ‘Excerpt From a Teenage Opera’ Wirtz. Wirtz also arranged and conducted the orchestra on both sides.

CBS followed this with the less-than stellar coupling I present for you today. Produced by Mike Smith, the man who wanted to sign The Beatles to Decca (but who was overruled by his boss Dick Rowe), Another Time, Another Place, Another World is a dull-as-ditchwater ballad which Bob should probably have stayed away from. The flip, When I Found You is slightly less offensive; a slow and undemanding waltz which Bob’s voice can just about manage. Bob co-wrote the B-side, and he and co-conspirator Keith Mansfield came up with something that wouldn’t be too taxing for his limited range. I Remember Natalie had some redeeming features: this does not. It’s typical of so much other TV tie-in fodder: uninspired and utterly disposable. 

Unsurprisingly there was no third single. The next time the public would hear Bob’s singing voice (apart from his own occasional outbursts on his many TV shows) would be when he performed the theme tune to the dire BBC sitcom You Rang M’Lord. He went back to what he did best, presenting game shows including The Golden Shot, Celebrity Squares, Wipeout, Family Fortunes, Opportunity Knocks and countless others. Like many of the old guard – including his friend Frankie Howerd – his comedy career went through a renaissance in the 1980s when he returned to his first love, stand up to excellent reviews.

Enjoy!

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