RIP Barry Chuckle: Here’s To You
PUBLISHED: 11:50 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:50 08 August 2018
Chuckle Brother Barry Elliott, who has died at the age of 73, brought laughts to young and old with beloved brother Paul. Here we pay tribute to 10 of the pair’s most memorable moments, from rapping with Tinchy Stryder to headlining at Bestival.
Farewell, Barry Chuckle, master of the small screen, keeper of the catchphrase, indelible part of the lives of so many of us who were either children in the 1990s or the parents of children obsessed with ChuckleVision.
Veteran entertainer Paul Chuckle paid an emotional tribute to his brother and comedy partner Barry who passed away at the age of 73, saying: “I’ve not just lost my brother, I’ve lost my theatrical partner of many, many years and my very best friend.”
The pair’s double act shot to fame following an appearance on talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1967 and their ChuckleVision comedy show ran for a whopping 21 series from 1987 to 2009, meaning they had legions of fans from many generations.
Barry’s eldest brother Jimmy Patton said that the TV star had been diagnosed with bone cancer which had spread to his lungs and had been ill for years but kept it hidden so that he could continue to perform – he even took part in pantomime last year despite being gravely ill.
The pair had recently filmed a Channel 5 comeback show Chuckle Time, but Barry had been forced to take a break in order to address his health issues: sadly, his condition deteriorated over the last few weeks and he was unable to recover.
Manager Phil Dale said that Barry “leaves 50 years of laughter as his legacy, which is something very special” while fans have launched a bid to get the comedy duo’s collaboration with rapper Tinchy Stryder to the top of the charts in tribute to the funnyman.
RIP Barry and thank you for entertaining my kids for so many years – here’s a look at some of your best bits.
10 of Barry’s best bits
1) That theme tune and those catchphrases: There are few of us who couldn’t join in with…”Ch-ch-chucklevision, Ch-ch-chucklevision, Ch-ch-chucklevision…” and fewer still who wouldn’t instantly know that the Chuckles’ catchphrase was “To me, to you”. Barry’s own catchphrase was “Oh dear, oh dear…”
2) Rapping with Tinchy Stryder: Grime MC Tinchy took to the mic with moustached legends the Chuckles in 2014 to record a charity single in support of the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust. The track, To Me, To You, was a play on the Brothers’ sketch from their 1990s TV sow and the accompanying video showed the duo arguing over a ladder on a housing estate before joining Stryder for a game of table tennis. Lyrics included: “Oh, just stop with that me to you, to me to you, to me to you stuff - we’ve both got things to do from me to you, to me to you bruv. You’re two funny dudes, jokes aside, no pun intended, mind your own business. It is our business. We want to sing a song. We can do a duet? Three-et, there’s three of us. Nah, nah that’s a step too far. In fact, you can rap, take the next two bars - hippity-hop, bibble-be-boop-boop. Oh my!”
3) The time when we thought Barry Chuckle might have been ringside with Jay Z: When Anthony Joshua came off the canvas to beat Wladimir Klitschko in a titanic bout, more people were excited about a photograph showing Barry Chuckle sitting next to global hip-hop icon and Mr Beyonce Jay Z than they were about the fight (well, almost). Sadly, it was the greatest photograph that was never taken in 2017. Barry’s face had been photoshopped on top of an image of American middleweight boxer Andre Ward taken from a 2015 Throne Boxing Fight Night in New York promoted by the Roc Nation Sports Boxing Division, a company owned by Jay Z. But still…
4) The Chuckle Brothers v Hitman: Realm Pictures and Io-Interactive challenged the entertainment duo to become Agent 47’s handler as he went on a mission to eliminate a Serbian arms dealer in a real life Hitman experiment. It hastily became clear that the squeaky-clean children’s presenters were hugely keen on the live-action game and threw themselves into the mission, eagerly telling Agent 47 when they need him to garrotte someone with a piano wire.
5) Celebrity Coach Trip: In a special celebrity version of the show dubbed ‘Big Brother on Wheels’, the brothers joined a motley crew of stars including David Van Day, Tony Blackburn, Ingrid Tarrant, Carol Harrison, Rodney Marsh, Cheryl Baker, Ricky Groves, Alex Ferns, Justin Ryan and Colin McAllister. The Chuckles totally stole the show and went on to win the series. Memorably, Ingrid Tarrant shared a beauty treatment that involved lying in a bath full of beer with Barry Chuckle and tour guide Brendan Sheerin. “Having a beer bath with Barry Chuckle has to go down as history. Not many people can claim to have done that,” said Brendan.
6) The time Barry guest-starred alone and admitted he felt “like a traitor”: For a guest appearance on Still Open All Hours, Barry was forced to wear a Doncaster Rovers tracksuit and scarf even though he was a diehard Rotherham United fan. He tweeted a photograph of himself on the set saying “Makes me feel like a ‘traitor’!!!” Both Chuckle Brothers were appointed as honorary presidents of the Millers in 2007.
7) A hat trick of appearances on Pointless Celebrities: “It’s not a real edition of Pointless Celebrities unless the Chuckle Brothers are on it,” said Richard Osman as he surveyed the eight celebrities lined up before him for 2015’s comedy special.
8) Winning a Bafta in 2008: The brothers were honoured with a special award at the Bafta Children’s Awards. “It’s like a pat on the back from the business that we’ve been working in all these years,” they said at the time. “It’s a really nice, warm feeling.”
9) Headlining Bestival: In 2016, the must-see act for festival goers wasn’t Fatboy Slim, Jess Glynne or Tears for Fears and it wasn’t Squeeze, Bananarama, KT Tunstall, Jamie Lawson or DJ Yoda – it was the Chuckle Brothers. Organiser Rob da Bank said: “I’m not sure if there’s an emoji for ‘wetting yourself laughing’ yet but we need one for the Chuckle Brothers. I booked them as a bit of a laugh last year but they drew one of the biggest crowds of the weekend and had to do about 1000 selfies afterwards for some rabid fans. I’m still not sure I understand it all but i do love ‘em.”
10) The Chuckles on tour…in Benidorm: The legendary duo played a magician and his assistant, The Great Crostini & Co, who were booked to entertain the guests – with Barry dressed up in drag. Barry and Paul’s magician performance didn’t quite work out as, Grandad Dawson, who they performed the trick on, wound up getting knocked out and fell off the stage. But as ever, they made great TV and even made a classic “to me to you” reference. RIP Barry.