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Information needed regarding Al Roberts forgotten BBC TV Ventriloquist  (Read 5098 times)
« on: February 14, 2014, 02:29:21 pm »

Hi, I am Geoff formerly of Truth2tell puppets and clowns and a former regular here. I am trying to research 'Al Roberts' who is a forgotten BBC TV Ventriloquist. I am especially in need of any footage or scripts pertaining to him. He had four vent dolls, 'Dorothy', 'Granfer', 'Grandma' and 'George'. I need to find as much information as possible as his son is now elderly and in a care home. He still has the puppets and would love to see them in action once more. I have been asked if I would be willing to prepare a short routine and want to revive the original characters as it will have more meaning for Al's son. I know this is a long shot, as I have only found one item on the internet that mentions him. If anyone can help, I would be very grateful.
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2014, 04:25:40 pm »

Tried the BBC archive, there seems to be no record of him at all. The BBC archive is very incomplete because in the early years they used to re-use the film to save money. My post was a long shot as he did not appear on TV many times and I have only been able to find one small newspaper article that mentions him. I have a vague memory of him operating Dorothy on TV, but it is sort of like a 30 second black and white clip in my memory without any sound.
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2016, 06:32:53 am »

Al Roberts and Dorothy are not forgotten by those who followed his shows around rural Wales in the 1950's & 60's. They did all their pre-publicity, sold tickets at the door and then ran their own show (which must have lasted 90+ minutes). His ventriloquy act was all in Welsh in our village hall - with Nain & Taid (Gran & Grandpa) ending their routine singing "Myfi sy'n magu'r baban" (I'm nursing the baby). I'm not sure if the "young lad" doll had a name in those days - but he did a separate spot. All this + conjuring tricks, felt paintings and trained doves etc in one show were the highlight of the winter for most of us. 
One of Al's later TV appearances when he was in his eighties, was for a kids variety show I produced on the then newly established S4C . He did his 'brolly' routine on a series called 'Sbri Celwydd Golau', filmed at Theatr Gwynedd in Bangor in 1983 - and it is in colour, and I'm almost certain that it is still in S4c's archives. Dorothy had stayed at home in Bridgend on that occasion, to look after the rabbits. He sent me a very kind note of thanks after his visit - and quoting his Welsh language catchphrase from the shows I remember as a kid - "Dyna dric da!" (Now there's a good trick!) 
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