John Fisher

John Fisher

"Little did I realise when I first met Tommy Cooper at a magician's convention in 1964 that in later years he would play such a dominant part in my career. What began as a friendship expanded to a professional relationship during the latter part of his life when on three happy occasions I worked with him as a television producer. After his death in 1984, his unquestioned stature as the greatest solo clown of his generation together with my personal memory of him as one of the most life-enhancing people I have ever known, impelled me - with the support of his widow, Gwen, and daughter, Vicky - to do everything within my gift to keep his reputation alive. So far this has embraced three series of television compilations, two in-depth documentaries featuring admirers as diverse as Sir Anthony Hopkins and Damien Hirst, a stage show for the West End in which Jerome Flynn and subsequently Clive Mantle have brought my hero so vividly to life, a full-length biography (Always Leave Them Laughing) together with a series of shorter volumes detailing various aspects of his life and humour, and most recently a feature film produced by Andy Harries' Left Bank Pictures based on my biography in which David Threlfall brilliantly dons the fez (Not Like This, Like That). That his jokes are still quoted, his mannerisms still copied almost thirty years after his death places him up there with Chaplin, Tati, and Laurel and Hardy as one of the classic comedy icons who defy time and place."

Funny Way To Be A Hero

"As the author of a book entitled Funny Way to be a Hero first published in 1973, when I look back on the career I have since enjoyed in television I am quite bedazzled by how lucky I have been to have worked with so many of my heroes in all branches of entertainment and the arts. The good fortune is enhanced by the fact that I have seldom been disappointed in the process, from Fred Astaire, Jack Benny, Jimmy Cagney and Alec Guinness to Bing Crosby, Georg Solti, Peter Ustinov and W H Auden. A key function of a television producer, of course, is to act as an enabler of new talent quite as much as a showcaser of established star quality. It pleases me that on occasion I was able to act in this manner to what were then unknown names, giving early breaks to Billy Connolly, Lee Evans, Jim Carrey, Steve Martin and Barry Manilow, as well as substantial career boosts to Bette Midler, Bob Monkhouse, Joan Rivers, Max Wall and more magicians than I care to mention."

Tommy Cooper All In One Joke Book