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LIONEL BLAIR: Showbiz veteran Lionel Blair dies aged 92

LIONEL BLAIR: Showbiz veteran Lionel Blair dies aged 92

File photo dated 16/12/2020 of Su Pollard and Lionel Blair at the wedding Les Dennis and Amanda Holden in Bournemouth. Showbiz veteran Blair has died aged 92, his agent has told the PA news agency. Issue date: Thursday November 4, 2021.

Showbusiness veteran Lionel Blair has died aged 92, his agent has told the PA news agency.

Across a seven-decade career, he worked on the small screen and stage as an actor, tap dancer, presenter and choreographer.

However, he was perhaps best known for being a team captain on Give Us A Clue, the ITV game show.

Blair died in the early hours on Thursday morning, his agent said.

Figures from the worlds of entertainment and broadcasting paid tribute.

Comedian and radio DJ Danny Baker tweeted: “A true chum, an entertainer beyond compare, an archive of a golden era, an immeasurable talent.

“Impossible to think he won’t be in some Green room somewhere, dropping names and living out fantastic tales. A Giant. Really.”

Actress Bonnie Langford tweeted a picture of herself dancing with Blair, adding: “Dear Lionel. Privileged to have been your dance partner.”

The performer was born Henry Lionel Ogus in Canada in 1928 before moving to Britain at the age of two.

He grew up in Stamford Hill, north London, and was evacuated to Oxford when war broke out, with his sister Joyce and mother Deborah.

His family were Jewish but not orthodox and their habit of eating bacon was frowned upon by their neighbours.

Blair cited Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Shirley Temple as figures who inspired him to pursue a life in showbusiness.

He began performing in plays as a child and attended the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford in 1944 before joining a touring company called the Savoy Players.

After a stint on stage in the West End, he decided to swap acting for dancing and took the stage name Lionel Blair.

His stage credits included Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, and had roles in Lady Be Good, Mr Cinders and Pageant.

His career saw him engage in a dance-off against Sammy Davis Jr at the Royal Variety Performance in 1961, appear in the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night and choreograph big screen features such as The Magic Christian.

On TV he choreographed and appeared in 1970s programmes such as The Mike And Bernie Show, The Tommy Cooper Hour and the Jimmy Tarbuck Show.

He pivoted to judging with New Faces in the late 70s, a talent show forerunner to series such as Pop Idol and X Factor.

Blair later became a household name opposite Una Stubbs in the long-running Give Us a Clue.

He reprised the role in a 2011 Comic Relief special and was back on screens for Celebrity Big Brother in 2014.


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Welcome back to our very special Christmas Film Guide!

 

We’re back with a fabulous selection of feel good classics and reboots that you’ll either love or hate! Whether you’re into a modern room com that will make you feel all fuzzy inside, to a royal treatment from Netflix, you’ve come to the right place. Local TV has all the latest of the greatest films to keep you satisfied in the next few months. Will you be tuning into any of our recommendations? Or have you already? Let us know!

 

Single All The Way

“Desperate to avoid his family's judgment about his perpetual single status, Peter (Michael Urie) convinces his best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) to join him for the holidays and pretend that they're now in a relationship. But when Peter's mother (Kathy Najimy) sets him up on a blind date with her handsome trainer James (Luke Macfarlane) the plan goes awry.“ - IMDb

A Castle For Christmas

“The story follows a famed American author, Sophie, who travels to Scotland and finds herself wanting to buy a castle, but the prickly owner, a Scottish Duke named Myles, is reluctant to sell to a foreigner. Working to find a compromise, the pair constantly butt heads, but along the way they just may find more than they bargained for.” - IMDb

Nightmare Before Christmas 

“Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween Town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween -- but alas, they can't get it quite right.” - IMDb

Home Sweet Home Alone

”Max Mercer, a mischievous and resourceful young boy, has been left behind while his family is in Japan for the holidays. So when a married couple attempting to retrieve a priceless heirloom sets their sights on the Mercer family's home, it is up to Max to protect it from the trespassers, and he will do whatever it takes to keep them out. The reboot promises hilarious hijinks of epic proportions, and despite the absolute chaos, Max eventually comes to realize that there really is no place like home sweet home.” - IMDb

 

 

 

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