Latest addition to the bookshelves of the leading book shop in Peasedown St. John!
When the Wind Changed: The Life and Death of Tony Hancock by Cliff Goodwin
London: Century, 1999
Hardback with Dust Jacket over Black boards with Gilt titling to Spine
Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Facsimiles; Chronological Tables;
From the cover: He was the funniest man in Britain. Yet Tony Hancock was racked by doubt and insecurity, temperamental to the point of collapse, haunted by irrational obsessions and psychic intuition, and a chronic alcoholic. He had an extravagant effect on those who knew and worked with him, leaving them very often in quick succession -beguiled, besotted, bruised or bitter.
For fourteen years he reigned as the undisputed king of British comedy; a quarter of the nation would stay in to watch Hancocks Half Hour. Publicans and chip-shop owners complained takings plunged during his radio and television shows and for the first time a British star was paid £1,000 a show.
Yet almost from the start he felt his own identity was being swallowed by the fictional persona of Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock, the pompous buffoon of 23 Railway Cuttings, East Cheam. He once described the set of his comedy show as a bloody death cell with an execution once a week.
When Hancock turned his back on television and attempted to realise his ambition of international film stardom, he found he was held prisoner by the character he created.
Tony Hancock committed suicide in his rented apartment in Sydney in June 1968. He was forty-four years old, twice divorced, with no children, and few close friends.
When the Wind Changed is the first authoritative and detailed biography, exploring Hancocks tortured life and obsessive comic genius. Revealing the brutality of his marriages and affairs, and the depths to which his alcoholism took him, this, like all true tragedy, is the story of the decline of a great man.
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