Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me, 2008

Another one off special shown as part of the 2008 BBC Curse Of Comedy season.

David Walliams stars as Frankie Howerd.  A life long fan of the original camp comic, Walliams performance was largely given the thumbs up by critics.

Given some of his TV work and his ability to camp it up perhaps it’s time to re-make Up Pompeii starring – David Walliams?

Other titles were: The Curse Of Steptoe, Hancock and Joan and Hughie Green, Most Sincerely.


Set at a time when homosexuality was illegal, we join the story in the 1950’s where Frankie Howerd is riding high as a famous radio and film comedian.  Howerd, a closet homosexual meets a young waiter Dennis Heymer who like himself is a closet homosexual.  A relationship develops into a partnership as Dennis becomes Frankie’s manager.

However by the early 1960’s Frankie Howerd’s fortunes have changed.  He’s fallen out of favour with his audiences and suffered a nervous breakdown.

He becomes full of self hatred about his appearance  and his homosexuality, this puts a huge stress on his relationship with Dennis.  Matters do not improvedby the death of Frankie’s mother Edith.

A gig at Peter Cook’s Establishment Club enables Frankie to reinvent himself as a satirical comedian and his popularity soars, with successful television comedies and a well-publicised appearance at the Oxford Union.



David Walliams –  Frankie Howerd
Rafe Spall  –  Dennis Heymer
Peter Sandys-Clarke –  Sheridan
Sally Leonard –  Jane
Paul Anderson – Roger
Benedict Martin –  Gunman
Melanie Hill – Ruth
Dilys Laye – Edith Howerd


Channel: BBC4
Written By: Peter Harness
Directed By: John Alexander
Original Transmission Date: 9th April 2008

The series was released on DVD under the banner The Legends Of Comedy.

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