Born and raised in the northwest of England, George Formby was a well loved singer-songwriter and comedian. Remembered fondly for playing the banjo ukulele or banjolele and as a singer of light, comical songs, he became a popular star of stage and screen. Between 1934 and 1945 Formby was widely recognised as the top comedian in British cinema.
Formby endeared himself to his audiences with his cheeky Lancashire humour and folksy northern persona. In film and on stage, he generally adopted the character of an honest, good-hearted but accident-prone innocent using the phrases: “It’s turned out nice again!” as an opening line; “Ooh, mother!” when escaping from trouble; and a timid “Never touched me!” after losing a fistfight.
Formby appeared in the 1937 Royal Variety Performance and entertained troops with Entertainments National Service Association in Europe and North Africa during World War II. He received an OBE in 1946. His most popular film, still regarded as probably his best, is the espionage comedy ‘Let George Do It‘, in which he is a member of a concert party, takes the wrong ship by mistake during a blackout, and finds himself in Norway (mistaking Bergen for Blackpool) as a secret agent. In one dream sequence he punches Hitler on the nose and addresses him as a “windbag“.
We are delighted that local performer, Derek Herbert, will be sharing his “George Formby Story” each day at the Liverpool Blitz 70! event on the Church Street stage.
Derek’s entertaining verbal and musical tribute act to George Formby includes a light-hearted talk on his life, self-accompanied by both ukulele and ukulele-banjo, during which Derek encourages audience participation. An accomplished singer and musician, Derek studied drama and music at the renowned Crane Studios in Liverpool and has a wealth of musical theatre experience.