Jack Douglas (birth name Jack Roberton) was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in1927. His father ("a Winston Churchill look-a-like, even down to the cigar") was the theatrical impresario John Douglas Roberton, and Jack's biography says "..I was at his side every Christmas while he was directing pantomimes. I knew all the scripts word-for-word by the age of seven....It's not that I was a know-all or anything......but show business was the only thing that I was interested in." When Jack was 15, his father gave him a script for 'Cinderella' for him to direct at the Sunderland Empire.
Much of Jack's early stage work was in pantomime and summer seasons followed by work in Children's TV, notably Crackerjack (1955-59). He usually appeared with fellow comedian, and great friend, Joe Baker.
Jack Douglas became a stooge for the likes of Bruce Forsythe, Arthur Haynes and Benny Hill. However, with his character Alf Ippititimus, Douglas appeared with Des O'Connor in variety shows and pantomimes during the 1960s, bringing him wider acclaim and success.
But it is as a 'Carry On' stalwart that Jack Douglas has become best known. His earliest appearance was as the Twitching Father in Carry On Matron (1972). His characteristic nervous, twitchy, fidgety character marked his roles in all the other 'Carry On' films that were to follow.
I first met Jack Douglas in November 2004 at the NEC in Birmingham. He was the first signature that I got in my 'Carry On' book.
Jack is a real character, always smiling and funny, and not at all like the Alf Ippititimus man that he plays in the 'Carry On' films.
This photo was taken when I met Jack again at the Peter Rogers' Christmas Evening held at Pinewood Studios in December 2005. I bought a copy of Jack's biography, which he signed for me.
Jack Douglas with Des O'Connor
Jack Douglas is one of Britain's best loved comedians and his life in show business is brilliantly told in his book A Twitch in Time. It is very readable and funny, and full of stories about his "60 years in show biz!" Read the book and you'll know what Jack bought Peter Rogers for his birthday and how the two of them became great friends as a result. Also Jack's kind-hearted efforts to bring comfort to Terry Thomas' final days. You will also learn that Jack Douglas is a great animal lover, and is a patron of the charity
He appeared as Harry in Carry On Abroad (1972), William in Carry On Girls (1973), Sergeant Jock Strapp in Carry On Dick (1974), Ernie Bragg in Carry On Behind (1975), and Bombardier Ready in Carry On England (1976). The supporting roles in these films led to him obtaining the starring role of Lyons the butler in Carry On Emmannuelle (1978). Jack Douglas also had the part of Marco the Cereal Killer in Carry On Columbus (1992).
Douglas played Jake in the TV comedy drama The Shillingbury Blowers (1980) and its 6-episode spin-off Shillingbury Tales (1981). Jack said, "I loved Shillingbury Tales and judging from the response from the public, they loved it too." Most of Jack's more recent work has been in farce and pantomime, particularly at the Shanklin Theatre, close to where he lives on the Isle of Wight.
Jack Douglas began a long association with the game show Jokers Wild in 1974, whilst the following year, he appeared several times in Hylda Baker's sit-com Not On Your Nellie, playing both Stanley Pickersgill and his twitchy cousin, Alf.
Jack in the pantomime Aladdin
with Barbara Windsor
Jack on stage with John Inman & Pat Starck
Jack Douglas & Kenneth Williams in Carry On Dick
Jack Douglas & Joe Baker
Jack Douglas makes his first
entrance in Carry On Matron
Jack Douglas was the first to sign my 'Carry On' book
'Friends of the Animals' which takes in and rehomes pets whose owners have died. A lovely man!
Jack Douglas died on 18th December 2008.
Jack Douglas (1927- 2008)
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