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By Jove!

The popular British ventriloquist Ray Alan, most famous for his exceedingly posh and slightly peverse puppet Lord Charles, has died aged 79.

Ray Alan and his puppet Lord Charles used to star in the British Pathé travelogue series Britain By Jove, which is where this brilliant 1960s clip of Ray Alan on the beach comes from. We like the slightly abstract and unexplained lines like “Sorry dear, my monocle’s steamed over” during the night scenes onboard a boat in this clip.

Watch this video of Ray Alan and Lord Charles visiting Newcastle, the hub of the North East. Excuse the overly dramatic music. When the chauffeur sings appraisals of the city, Lord Charles blares out accusingly – “trying to sell it to us Lord Cavendish?”

Here in this Scotland travelogue Lord Charles makes inappropriate propositions towards a make-up girl, declaring “I wish you were coming to Scotland, I’ve booked a luxury retreat for us you know, it’s a distillery.” When the girl outrages “Lord Charles!” he replies “Oh don’t be so formal, you can call me Sir!”

The sincerity of Cavendish, considering he’s playing chauffeur to a puppet, is just brilliant. We’re not too sure about the little intermittent car horn peeps and the recurring union flags that punctuate the program, but televised serial sketch shows was still a relatively young genre in the 1960s.

Watch clips of Ray Alan with Lord Charles here in the British Pathe film archive

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