Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Wilfred Pickles, the Chorlton Repertory Theatre Club and a whole new set of stories

Now you have to be a certain age to remember Wilfred Pickles, Mabel and Have Ago.

For most us this will be at the edge of our growing up and will forever be linked to the Light Programme  the wireless and the catcphrases, "How do, how are yer?" "Are yer courting?" "What's on the table, Mabel?" and "Give him the money, Barney."

In 1954 it transferred to the television under the title “Ask Pickles.”

I can’t remember much about the show but I know it was very popular with a weekly audience of over 20 million, and featured ordinary people who were the sort you stood at the bus stop with, listened to in the shops and could be your friends.

That made it very different from the at TV show “What’s My Line" with its panel of well bred well behaved people with their plumy voices.

So I am not surprised that the Chorlton Repertory Theatre Club would ask Mr Pickles to be their President.

Over the years there were plenty of amateur dramatic groups in Chorlton and as early as 1910 one was listed in Kemp's Almanack and reflected the fact that as the township grew many of these were the “middling people” with jobs that allowed them time at night to explore all sorts of cultural and sporting interests.

Where many of these groups performed is lost, but some will have used the Public Hall which was part of the Conservative Club and others may acted out their dreams in church halls.

So Sally’s find is quite a find and while I don’t yet have a date it opens up a whole exciting new set of stories and will I hope set memories running and perhaps will also stir up comments on Mothers Pride.

Well we shall see.

Location; Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Picture; advert for the Chorlton Repertory Theatre Club, date unknown, from the collection of Sally Dervan


  1. I used to listen to Wilfred Pickles on the radio. I thought the programme was called 'Have a go Jo'! I also used to go with my mother twice a week in the 50's to Chorlton Rep. Pat Phoenix was a regular played as was Harry H Corbett (Steptoe). They had two different performances each week and I loved going to see them

  2. Gosh the memories are tumling out

  3. Wilfred and Mabel Pickles are among the celebreties buried in Southern Cemetery, as is Ernest Marples, late Minister of Transport and many other well known names.