I’m pleased to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for fascinating biography It’s All In The Mind: The Life and Legacy of Larry Stephens by Julie Warren. Thank you to Anne Cater and Unbound for giving me the opportunity to read and review this insightful book that brings a bygone era of British comedy back to life.
About the book:
British popular culture would probably be very different had Larry Stephens not been born. We could now be living in a world without the Carry On films or Monty Python, and we may never have heard of Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers or Spike Milligan.
Stephens’ promising career as a jazz pianist was interrupted by the war, and after serving as an officer with the commandos he moved to London and struck up a friendship with Tony Hancock, becoming the sole writer of his stage material. Hancock introduced him to Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and Michael Bentine and together they created The Goon Show, arguably the world’s most influential comedy programme. As one of the main writers throughout its nine-year run, Stephens’ experiences and acquaintances became themes and characters within the show.
For the first time, the life and work of this unsung hero of British comedy has been thoroughly explored. Using unrivalled access to Larry Stephens’ personal archive of letters, photographs and artwork, plus interviews with Stephens’ many notable friends, family members, comrades and colleagues, It’s All In The Mind tells the story of a boy from the Black Country whose short life had an enduring impact.
About the author:
Julie Warren is a virtual assistant specialising in research. She currently lives in Essex and pretends to channel Larry Stephens on Twitter. @lsggbg
It’s All In The Mind by Julie Warren is a book that gives a fascinating insight into the life of unsung hero of British comedy Larry Stephens. If Larry Stephens had never been born the face of British comedy would most likely be a very different beast to the one it is today. There would have been no The Goon Show or Carry On films or Monty Python, and Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers or Spike Milligan would quite possibly never have even been heard of which, as someone who grew up watching these stalwarts of British comedy (especially Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan), is quite simply unimaginable.
After Larry’s promising career as a jazz musician was cut short by the war and his service as an officer with the commandos, he moved to London and struck up a friendship with the legend that was Tony Hancock, becoming the solo writer of his stage material. Through this Larry was introduced to Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and Michael Bentine – and so The Goon Show, one of the world’s funniest and most influential comedy shows was born.
In this book, through the use of personal archives and interviews, Julie Warren explores the life and work of this somewhat forgotten hero of British comedy, beginning with his early life in the Black Country. Sadly, Larry Stephens life was cut short, but oh my goodness what a life it was! I knew very little about the man behind the name, but this book gives us a fascinating insight into the kind of person he was and the huge impact his short life had on the world.
As someone whose lifelong love of British comedy was instilled in me by my own father, It’s All In The Mind is like a love letter to a bygone era. Larry Stephens was a huge part of that era, a hugely talented man whose story deserved to be told. I loved this book as it brought back a flood of memories from my own childhood, of what seemed to be a much simpler time, but in actuality most likely wasn’t. But that good old British sense of humour that has somehow always helped us through dark times is something we’re all in desperate need of right now. And Larry Stephens was a master at his craft, bringing to life some of the most memorable moments in British comedy. What a legacy to leave behind!
It’s All In The Mind by Julie Warren is a biography written with such care and attention to detail that she has breathed new life into Larry Stephens. He is now no longer just a name on paper, he is a living, breathing person who left a huge imprint behind that will never be forgotten.
It’s All In The Mind by Julie Warren is available to purchase now: Amazon UK
Check out what these other lovely bloggers have to say about this book: