Wilfred Pickles (1904-1978)
Wilfred Pickles, actor and radio presenter, was born in Halifax in 1904.
He was a proud Yorkshireman, and having been selected by the BBC as an announcer for its North Region radio service, went on to be an occasional newsreader on the National service during World War II. He was the first newsreader to speak in a regional accent rather than the "BBC English" of the period, and caused some comment with his farewell catchphrase "... and to all in the North, good neet".
He soon became a radio celebrity, and also pursued an acting career in West End theatre. He was awarded the OBE for services to broadcasting in 1950.
His most significant work was as host of the BBC Radio show Have A Go, which ran from 1946 to 1967. This was one of the most popular shows ever broadcast - at its peak in the 1950s it attracted an audience of over 20 million. Wilfred and his wife Mabel, took the programme to church halls all over the country, "bringing the people to the people". Pickles interviewed ordinary people, who were encouraged to tell heart-warming stories and share their experiences, and who were invited to answer quiz questions for money prizes.
The programme was one of the most popular shows ever broadcast on either radio or television. At its peak in the 1950s it was said to attract an audience of twenty million. On this show he was renowned for such catchphrases as "How do, how are yer?", "Are yer courting?" and "Give him the money, Mabel", delivered in Pickles' inimitable style. His wife Mabel appeared on the show with him.
Mabel also appeared with Wilfred Pickles in his first TV sitcom, Caxton's Tales, which was shown in 1958. Wilfred Pickles was cast as a jobbing printer who owned his own small business, aided by a young assistant, Willie, and by Miss Brearley, who wrote verses for the greetings cards that Caxton printed. Caxton's wife Mabel was played by Mabel Pickles.
Wilfred Pickles also starred - with Irene Handl - in another TV sitcom, For the Love of Ada, broadcast by Thames Television in 1970-1.
He appeared in several films, most notably in the 1963 film Billy Liar, in which he played the father of Billy Fisher (played by Tom Courtenay).