Barry David Elliott[2] (born 24 December 1944) and Paul Harman Elliott[3] (born 18 October 1947) are English children's entertainers, better known as Barry Chuckle and Paul Chuckle as the double-act the Chuckle Brothers. They are known for their work on their BBC show ChuckleVision, which celebrated its 21st series in 2010 with a stage tour titled An Audience with the Chuckle Brothers. The comedy of the Chuckle Brothers usually derives from slapstick and other visual gags, and their catchphrases include "To me, to you" and "Oh dear, oh dear".

Early life

The brothers were born in Rotherham to Amy and James Patton Elliott, in 1944 and 1947. Their father was a well-known Gang Show performer whose stage name was Gene Patton; he worked with the 18-year-old Peter Sellers in 1943 in The No. 10 Gang and gave performances in London, Orkney and the Hebrides, Iceland, the Far East, India, and Burma. They have two older brothers called Jimmy and Brian, who are known professionally as the Patton Brothers and who have appeared in Chucklevision, Jimmy as the nameless character known colloquially as "No Slacking", and Brian as another unnamed character known as "Getoutofit".[4]

Career

Television

The Chuckle Brothers won the television talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1967, followed by success on New Faces in 1974.[6] In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the four brothers appeared as a quartet on TV. In April 1979, they appeared on the BBC comedy series Lennie and Jerry hosted by Lennie Bennett and Jerry Stevens.[7] They made two appearances on the game show 3-2-1, hosted by Ted Rogers, in January 1980 and April 1982.[8][9] In June 1980 they appeared on the long-running BBC programme, The Good Old Days.[62] On Christmas Day in 1980, they took part in a televised children's show, A Merry Morning, which saw the brothers entertaining around 250 children from the Leeds area in Yeadon Town Hall.[10] In August 1983, the Brothers appeared on The Freddie Starr Showcase alongside the comedian Freddie Starr.[63]

They did not have further success until the launch of the BBC television show, Chuckle Hounds, in 1985. These short programmes, which were aimed at pre-school children and contained no dialogue, had the brothers dressed up in giant dog costumes. In 1987, the Brothers began their most famous show, ChuckleVision, which lasted for twenty-one series over twenty-two years. The series ended its run in December 2009. In 2008, ChuckleVision was nominated by public vote in the BAFTA Kids' Vote for best television series as part of the British Academy Children's Awards.[64] Real-life siblings Jimmy and Brian Patton also made regular appearances in the show.[65]

In May 1992, they performed at the Children's Royal Variety Performance.[66] From 1996 to 1998 the Chuckle Brothers also presented a children's game show titled To Me, To You!, named after their signature catchphrase. The format, which incorporated a "treasure island" theme, involved two teams who participated in rounds competing for prizes on a shopping trolley (which was made to resemble a bamboo structure). By rolling a die, the teams had to draw the trolley to their end of the playing board; the "squares" on the path to both ends represented challenges. When this was achieved, new prizes were added to the trolley, which was reset to the middle of the board.

In May 2008, the brothers appeared in the BBC documentary series Comedy Map of Britain.[67] They appeared in the TV series Celebrity Coach Trip in November 2010 and won the show, lasting the whole trip.[2] In November 2011, they starred in a series of TV advertisements for the UK-based van insurance comparison website, Van Compare.[68] In October 2012, they appeared on Comedy World Cup on Channel 4. On 15 March 2013, they were featured in David Walliams' sketch for Comic Relief, in which Walliams knocked on the brothers' door with important information to give to them; Paul responded with "To me?"[69]

Barry has made appearances in the television series Still Open All Hours as dog owner Mr Marshall, having first appeared in the 2013 Christmas special.[70]

Stage

As well as regular TV appearances, Paul and Barry have appeared on stage in venues across the UK. Their past comedy and parody shows have included The Blackpool Tower Circus (1974), a pantomime based on Aladdin (1985), The Adventures of the Chuckle Brothers, The Chuckle Brothers in – Trouble at Sea, Raiders of the Lost Bark, Barry Potty and his Smarter Brother Paul in the Chamber of Horrors, Star Doors, Pirates of the River Rother, Doctor What & the Return of the Garlics, Spooky Goings On and Spooky Goings On 2. Live recordings of Pirates of the River Rother and Spooky Goings On 2 were released on home video in 2007, the latter under the title The Chuckle Brothers – Spooky Goings On Live![17] From November to December 2006, they completed a nationwide tour of their Aladdin pantomime; Barry starred as Aladdin and Paul as brother Wishie Washee. The pantomime also starred dancing group The Chucklettes and illusionists Safire.

The brothers' 2008 tour, Indiana Chuckles and The Kingdom of the Mythical Sulk, set in Ancient Egypt, was a parody of the Indiana Jones films. Safire joined them again, making it their sixth outing with the brothers; the Patton Brothers also returned. It was released as a DVD, as with Pirates of the River Rother and Spooky Goings On 2. For Christmas 2008, the brothers appeared in Aladdin at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend-on-Sea.[72]

A new show – Chuckle Trek – The Lost Generation, a science-fiction parody – toured in 2009.[21] For Christmas that year, the Chuckle Brothers toured with the pantomime A Christmas Chuckle. In 2010, the brothers toured the UK with a special 21st-anniversary show, An Audience With The Chuckle Brothers, which contained a selection of comedy sketches and a question-and-answer session with the audience. In 2011, the brothers, along with the Patton Brothers and Safire, toured with Barry Potter and his Full Blood Brother Paul in The Ghostly Shadows, another Harry Potter parody. In December 2011, they starred in the pantomime Cinderella in Hull.

Television appearances

Live performances

  • To You, To Me (National Tour, 1995)
  • Live And In Trouble (National Tour, 1996)
  • The Chuckle Brothers Summer Roadshow (National Tour, 1997)
  • The Adventures of the Chuckle Brothers (National Tour, 1998)
  • Trouble At Sea (National Tour, 1999)
  • The New Adventures of the Chuckle Brothers (National Tour, 2000)
  • Spooky Goings On (National Tour, 2001)
  • Raiders of the Lost Bark (National Tour, 2002)
  • Aladdin (Christmas pantomime, Stoke-on-Trent, 2002)
  • Star Doors — The Chuckles Strike Back (National Tour, 2003)
  • Barry Potty and his Smarter Brother Paul in The Chamber of Horrors (National Tour, 2004)
  • Pirates of the River Rother (National Tour, 2005)
  • Doctor What & The Return of the Garlics (National Tour, 2006)
  • Spooky Goings On 2 (National Tour, 2007)
  • Indiana Chuckles and The Kingdom of the Mythical Sulk (National Tour, 2008)
  • Aladdin (Christmas pantomime, National Tour, 2008)
  • Chuckle Trek  — The Lost Generation (National Tour, 2009)
  • A Christmas Chuckle (Christmas pantomime, National Tour, 2009)
  • An Audience With ... The Chuckle Brothers (National Tour, 2010)
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas (Christmas pantomime, York, 2010)
  • Barry Potty And His Full Blood Brother Paul in The Ghostly Shadows (National Tour, 2011)
  • Cinderella (Christmas pantomime, Hull, 2011)
  • Phantom At The Theatre (National Tour, 2013)
  • Aladdin (Christmas pantomime, Darlington, 2013)
  • In A 2014 Space Oddity (National Tour, 2014)
  • The Chuckles Of Oz (Christmas pantomime, Darlington, 2014)
  • The Chuckles Of Oz (National Tour, 2015)
  • Peter Pan (Christmas pantomime, Wolverhampton, 2015)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk (Christmas pantomime, Nottingham, 2016)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Christmas pantomime, Southampton, 2017)

The 2005 tour, Pirates of The River Rother, the 2007 tour, Spooky Goings On 2 and the 2008 tour, Indiana Chuckles and the Kingdom of the Mythical Sulk, have all been released on DVD. An edited version of the 1996 tour was also released as The Chuckle Brothers In Trouble; the DVD features a rehearsal performance of the show. Pirates of River Rother was revived in 2012 as Pirates of River Rother 2: In Stranger Tights. The 2010 tour, "An Audience With ... The Chuckle Brothers", adopted the format of a variety show with classic sketches, audience questions, musical performances, puppetry, film clips, magic and an audience participation version of To Me... To You..., in commemoration of 21 years of the ChuckleVision TV series.

Other appearances

More recently the Brothers have been making appearances at various nightclubs and student events, signing autographs and posing for photographs.[73][74][75]

In March 2016 the brothers appeared in a promotional video for the game Hitman.[76]

Music

In October 1995, the Chuckle Brothers released an album entitled To You to Me featuring eleven tracks.[26] Many of the tracks were based on their catchphrases, such as "To me, to you" and "Silly You, Silly Me".

In October 2014, the Chuckle Brothers collaborated with Tinchy Stryder to release a charity single "To Me, To You (Bruv)" to raise funds for the African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust.

In September 2015, the Brothers performed for twenty minutes at the music festival Bestival, citing it as the biggest crowd they had ever performed in front of.[28]

Software

In July 2016 the Chuckle Brothers released their first mobile app for Android and iOS titled "Chuckle World". It is a quiz game with Tinder style sliding mechanics and endless style mobile gameplay.[4]

Critical reception

In November 2005 Jacques Peretti, a reporter for The Guardian, remarked on how "the appeal of the Chuckle Brothers remains a mystery to anyone over eight, but to anyone under eight, they're the ultimate entertainment experience". "The little people think they're hilarious, and if you add up all the little people across the country who think they're hilarious, you'd think it's ChuckleVision that should have the 28 comedy gongs, not Little Britain or The Office."[4]

On 31 January 2007, Rotherham United chairman Denis Coleman announced that the brothers had both been made honorary presidents of the football club.[4] In 2008, they were honoured with the Special Award at the British Academy Children's Awards.[33][4]

Personal life

The brothers regularly appear at events and openings, an example being the unveiling of the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre in North Anston in July 2013, which Barry attended.[4] They are supporters of Rotherham United Football Club.[4]

Both brothers are married – Barry’s wife is called Ann and Paul is married to Sue.[4] At one time both brothers seem to have been smokers, although Paul had apparently stopped the habit by 2000.[4] Paul currently lives in Serlby, Doncaster[3] whilst his brother Barry lives in Ravenfield, Rotherham.[2]

In April 2007 whilst on holiday on the Greek island of Cephalonia, Paul broke his nose and suffered cuts and bruises when he lost control of his motorcycle after suddenly braking to avoid a goatherd and flock. Instead of helping him, tourists who stopped at the accident shouted the Chuckle Brothers' catchphrase, "To me, to you."[4]

An urban legend surrounding Barry Chuckle's supposed death from a heart attack has circulated since at least 2008. In 2010, the brothers issued a statement on their website stating that the story was "complete and utter rubbish".[6] The BBC reported that the death hoaxes had upset young viewers, and had shocked Barry when they re-surfaced.[45] The hoax was said to have initially spread via Facebook in 2008, but re-surfaced in 2010 via Twitter.[45]

In a February 2015 meeting of Prime Minister's Questions, Prime Minister David Cameron referred to the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls as The Chuckle Brothers.[6]

In December 2015, Paul was caught speeding in a 40 mph zone. As a result of his actions he chose to undertake a speed awareness course, as opposed to accepting three penalty points and a fine. He reportedly stated at the time that he was "a careful driver" who had previously never "been done" in the fifty years that he had been driving.[6][6]

Controversy

In December 2010, Barry announced his support for a proposal that one of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government's planned free schools, a taxpayer-funded school independent of the local authority, should be established in Rotherham.[6] In January 2011, it was announced that Barry had planned to incorporate a 100-pupil free school named Rotherham Central Free School in his hometown of Rotherham. His son's partner was to serve as the head teacher of the school.[6] By February 2012, no premises, staff or pupils for the school had been confirmed, despite announcing an intention on opening in September of that year.[6] In March 2012, plans on opening the school were halted by educational ministers, citing that it was not "progressing sufficiently". After the decision was announced, Stephen Twigg MP jokingly stated "Michael Gove should have thought twice about approving plans being fronted by one of the Chuckle Brothers."[6]

In February 2014, the Chuckle Brothers attended the trial of Dave Lee Travis, who had been accused of molesting a stage hand whilst performing at a theatre in Crawley during the early 1990s. The trial had been part of Operation Yewtree. Travis had been performing with the duo when it was said the incident had occurred; however, the brothers could not recall such an attack taking place.[6] Paul stated that it was a "complete shock" that such an attack had occurred in their presence.[7] In September 2014, it was reported that the attack had been "interrupted" by the Brothers as they walked by a dressing room, containing Travis and the victim.[7] After giving evidence, the Brothers posed for a selfie outside of Southwark Crown Court with Paul tweeting it[7] to thousands of followers on his Twitter account.[7] The Brothers had smiled whilst taking the photograph, and later some deemed their actions as inappropriate.[7]

In March 2016, Barry received condemnation for sharing a Facebook post from the far right-wing political party Britain First. The post, originally shared in June 2015, called on politicians to strip migrants of their citizenship if they left the country to join a terror group. Following the unearthing of the post, Tommy Robinson, former leader of the English Defence League (EDL) came to Barry's defense, calling on people to "leave the man alone".[7] Britain First subsequently described the incident as a 'non-story'.[7]