‘Britain’s Oldest Stand-Up’ – Monday 30th July, 10:00pm – More 4

This moving documentary followed ninety-year-old Chelsea Pensioner Jack Woodward as he embarked on fulfilling his dream of performing at the Hammersmith Apollo, just like the comedians he sees weekly on the BBC’s ‘Live at the Apollo’.


We started by being told about Jack’s want to perform at the famous theatre and emulate Apollo regular Michael McIntyre. Jack was once a comedian but performed for the final time in the sixties. However, this didn’t stop him wanting to get back on the circuit, so much is his love for making people laugh, which was palpable throughout the programme. It was said many times during the documentary that comedy is ‘in his blood’ and seemed to be very, very true.


Eager to fulfil his dream of performing comedy again, Jack took the opportunity to perform at a local luncheon club. After a lot of build-up from the compere, he took to the stage and gave ten minutes of material…and struggled beyond description. It was painful. He had no problem remembering the jokes and was clearly relishing being back on stage again but the jokes just weren’t very good and far too long, in comparison to what modern day audiences are used to. It was a shame that such a lovely man with such a passion for stand-up should receive such a frosty reception.


However, with the help of renowned comedy writer Les Keen (whose writing credits include ‘The Friday/Sunday Night Project’, ‘Alan Carr: Chatty Man’ and ‘Odd One In’), Jack managed to get a five minute warm-up spot for Ed Byrne’s show…at the Apollo! Although he didn’t seem worried about doing this stint, I was for him. I couldn’t help thinking that Jack’s brand of comedy wouldn’t appeal to Ed’s fans.


Fortunately, however, the gig went very well and I think the audience just fell in love with Jack as a person and his story. He finally achieved his dream and provided a sweet end to a sweet documentary.


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