High Hopes: My Autobiography

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9780091873813: High Hopes: My Autobiography

This is my autobiography, the exciting story of how I, Ronald Corbett, the son of an Edinburgh baker, became convinced that I had to seek my fortune and become an actor, of how I pursued that goal, found fame on television as one of The Two Ronnies, and managed to meet a fabulous cast of extraordinary people along the way. First I'll take you back to my schooldays and reveal the technique I developed for estimating the height of a girl before daring to ask her to dance. Then, for the first time, I'll fearlessly tell of my arrival in London and of my job of night club barman. I'll explain how I first met David Frost, John Cleese and Michael Palin, and shamelessly reveal how I once played Othello to Danny La Rue's Desdemona, having just had dinner with Laurence Olivier. And then there was The Two Ronnies, an incredibly successful television show with a man in glasses who, rather spookily, had the same first name as me. You can find out about how we tried to avoid becoming a double act, and why it was always goodnight from me and goodnight from him, but never ever goodnight from us. I'll also tell you about the time I was suddenly struck down by a mysterious illness which destroyed my sense of balance and prevented me from going on stage for several years. Altogether I must admit, it is a truly dramatic story.

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From the Author:

My Autobiography
A lot of people have asked me why I decided to write my autobiography. Well, when I say a lot of people, I mean my publisher. He summoned me to his office the other day, held up a copy of my book, High Hopes, and said: "What did you have to go and do this for?" I think, actually, heís rather bitter because there was a misunderstanding when we first met and for some reason he thought my name was Harry Potter.

He thumbed through the book impatiently. "Any recipes in it?" he asked. "Youíve got to have recipes these days." I pointed out that there was a reference to some very memorable chips on page 28 and a mention on page 192 of the comedian Dave Allen giving me an apple charlotte. "Also my father was a baker in Edinburgh, so there was lots of baking in my childhood."

The publisher sighed. "I would hardly call you a domestic goddess," he said. Well, I told him, I worked with Danny La Rue who is absolutely divine. That was before I was discovered by David Frost and met Ronnie Barker and we made all those successful series of The Two Ronnies.

"The book also tells all about the strange odd jobs I did while I was a struggling actor; how I was a barman, a storekeeper, tennis court supervisor. Thereís an account of a perilous journey by boat to the South of France and an even more perilous journey to Glasgow where I was sent, incognito, to put some alarmingly large bets on two particular greyhounds.

"And youíll find the story of how, in the middle of a performance at the London Palladium, I was struck down by a mystery illness which nearly destroyed my career. I also tell about appearing in pantomime with Stanley Baxter, about Cary Grant coming round to my dressing room in Bristol and about bumping in to Stewart Granger in a supermarket."

For a moment he showed a glimmer of interest.

"Iíll have you know," I said, "that I am on the Booker shortlist."

"You mean your autobiography, High Hopes, might win the Booker Prize?" he asked. Slightly incredulously.

"No, I am on Arthur J Bookerís List of Short Authors. At five feet one and a half inches I am half an inch taller than Samuel Pepys and I tower over Charlotte Bronte who was four feet nine inches."

Oh yes, I am down there with the literary giants.

About the Author:

Ronnie Corbett is an institution in comedy. From The Frost Report to The Two Ronnies to Sorry, his career has spanned over forty years and contains many classic moments and characters in British comedy. He remains as vibrant and as well loved today as ever.

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