They're gone, but not forgotten . . . unfortunately

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The Independent Online
WHERE are they now? A round-up of some once-familiar names and faces . . .

E R 'Ted' Dexter. This once-famous English wag, wit and stand-up England selector has finally packed in his act after being convinced that his routine was now out of date.

'He recently did a tour of India and Sri Lanka without getting a single laugh,' says a friend who wants to remain anonymous, 'and if you do that, it's time to go. Basically, his material hadn't changed in years. Also, it wasn't funny to begin with.'

Dexter first became famous for being the only stand-up cricketer who ever managed to run over himself with his own car (a feat never repeated by younger comedians), but somehow he never quite capped it. His familiar catch phrases - 'There is nothing wrong with this side that a few quick centuries wouldn't put right' and 'We would easily have won if it hadn't been for the food, the pitch, the umpires and the quality of the opposition, which took us by surprise' - seemed long-winded in the modern age of quick-fire Australian appeals, and not as snappy as they had once been. He represents a more gentlemanly age of joke-making and will be missed by connoisseurs of the surrealist apology.

David Mellor. Who?

Norman Lamont: Mr Lamont, once Chancellor, and famous for predicting the end of the recession, is no longer Chancellor but is still remembered for predicting the end of the recession. That is what he is still doing, actually - going round Britain telling people that the recession is now over, and that Norman Lamont was right all along. As people all over Britain know from first- hand experience that the recession is not yet over, it might be thought that he is wasting his time. So, if you are in a pub tonight and wondering how you can afford your next pint, and a white-haired gent sidles up to you with a wild look in his eyes, and says, 'That recession is certainly over, eh, squire? Light at the end of the tunnel, know what I mean? Everything in place for a recovery, eh? Buy us a pint, would you?', you'll have a fair idea who he is.

David Mellor: Oh, him] He is the one who, when he was a cabinet minister, made lots of statements, none of which anyone could remember 10 seconds later. Now he is writing lots of articles, none of which anyone can remember 10 seconds later. There is a rumour that his life is to be turned into a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as a tax loss.

Dame Esther Rantzen. Mother Esther, as she was known to her followers, ran a famous hostel in London for many years where young people who could not get employment in television any other way were brought in by her and given desks to sit at and smile. Now that the refuge has been closed down by the authorities, her way of life has not changed, but one cannot help wondering what will happen to all those unfortunate young men.

Les Dawson. Where the late Les Dawson is now is a matter for speculation, but it is interesting to note that his death was widely reported in France for rather special reasons. As is well known from his autobiography, Les Dawson started his career in Paris, where his first job was playing the piano in a brothel. What is not so well known is that the French always thought he was a group - to them the word 'Les' signifies only the plural, as in Les Miserables and Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and it seemed only logical to them to assume that there were lots of Dawsons collectively known as Les Dawson. So when his death was reported in France ('Mort Les Dawson]'), there was some surprise as to how all the members of one group should happen to pass away on one day.

Dave Lee Travis. Also known as DLT, and thus providing the only generally accepted rhyme for BLT, Dave Lee Travis was until recently well known as the bearded disc jockey on Radio 1. He suddenly resigned on air the other day, saying that he fiercly disagreed with what was happening on Radio 1. Now that he has become free, scientists are using him to test a hitherto unsolved problem in the field of communications. The problem can briefly be stated thus: how come the only well known thing about Dave Lee Travis was the fact that he had a beard, which is the one thing you can not pick up about a person from listening to him on radio, and is there some strange extrasensory way in which we can detect the presence of hair on a distant chin?

Bill Wyman. Currently unemployed and looking for gigs as a bass player.