Shutting the door for the last time

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
To a generation of thirtysomethings, the words "Larry" and "Grayson" signify little more than a limp-wristed flouncer whose incomprehensibly unfunny catchphrase, "Shut that Door", helped earn him celebrity status as the new Bruce Forsyth on The Generation Game in the late Seventies.

Looking back, it's not easy to detect the humour inherent in the lyrics to some of his trademark songs - "Shut that door, shut that door / It's freezing cold in here / Shut that door, Shut that door / I'm feeling rather queer." But there's no denying the emotional responses he provoked in his admirers. Entertainers don't actually die, by the way, because, as Isla St Clair herself says in today's Radio 2 tribute (1.30pm), "Larry left behind a legacy of laughter that's still ringing...", but when Larry "passed on", he was destined to go down as "one of the nicest men in showbiz", and that really says it all.

You might expect a tribute to most funnymen to shake your shoulders with mirth, but instead the likes of Dora Bryan and Pat Coombs wade weepily about in a sea of maudlin goo. Tuesday's BBC1 tribute (8.30pm) promises to be equally upsetting. Still, he was a very nice man and perhaps the best way to remember him is by imagining him pushing his hoover around his modest bungalow in Nuneaton (he was very house-proud, you know), wearing his pinny, and singing along to Judy Garland. That was Larry.