05 October 2000
For immediate release
Denis Norden, the presenter of TV's It'll Be Alright on the Night, will attend a special lunch at the University of Sussex on Friday, October 13, to celebrate the donation to the University's library of hundreds of his early radio scripts.
The material, which he co-wrote with the late Frank Muir, includes episodes of the much-loved 1950s series Take it From Here, a sketch-based show that starred comedy greats such as Jimmy Edwards and June Whitfield and set new standards for post-war humour. The jokes include the now-legendary line "Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me!"
The work, which had until recently been stored in the garage of Frank Muir's widow, is a valuable addition to the University's collections. Archivist Dorothy Sheridan said: "These are the first comedy scripts we have been given and compliment the Mass-Observation archives here of the Forties and Fifties. They consolidate the University's interest in popular culture."
Also attending the lunch will be Denis' daughter Maggie, who was a student at Sussex in the 1970s, and Frank Muir's son Jamie, a TV producer and director who used the Mass-Observation archive, a collection of ordinary people's writings about everyday events, for a documentary series on the 1930s.
Jamie said: "We wanted the scripts to come here because of various connections and because the University has always been so fantastically helpful. It also seems a natural home for them because of the Mass-Observation project and the University's interest in media studies."
Media studies lecturer Andy Medhurst, who is currently writing a book on comedy and Englishness (called A National Joke, expected to be published next autumn), said the contribution made by Muir and Norden to British comedy was profoundly important. "The radio series, 'Take it from Here', is often regarded as one of the most influential of its era, shaping a whole generation of radio comedy," he said.
Norden and Muir began their writing partnership in 1947. Take if From Here ran for 12 years on the radio. They also co-wrote two other shows My Word and My Music, before Muir took up a full-time job in BBC light entertainment. Muir, whose pink bow tie became a familiar feature on the TV panellist show Call My Bluff, died in 1998 at the age of 77. Norden's It'll Be Alright on the Night, a regular compilation of the blunders and errors of broadcasting, has been running for more than 20 years.
Notes for editors
You are invited to send a reporter and a photographer to a presentation speech at the University's library on Friday, October 13, at 2pm. Jamie Muir can be contacted on 0208 576 0309. Denis Norden is available for interviews on the day.
For further information please contact Jacqui Bealing or Alison Field, Press Office, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, email J.A.Bealing@sussex.ac.uk or A.Field@sussex.ac.uk.