Discussion:
<Archive obituary> Hylda Baker, music hall comedienne
(too old to reply)
Michael Rhodes
2003-07-04 14:30:31 UTC
<Archive obituary>

<Times May 5, 1986>

HYLDA BAKER

Music hall comedienne who found fame on television

Hylda Baker, the diminutive Lancashire comedienne with the
catchphrase, "she knows, y'know!", has died at the age of 78.

The words came from her most famous act in which her stooge was a
statuesque blonde called Cynthia, who was played by a man and never
spoke. Looking up to this bizarre figure, Hylda would tell the
audience: "She just looks through ya! I wouldn't care, but she knows,
y'know!"

The essence of Hylda Baker's humour was a woman's desire to better
herself without the education and bearing to do so. Her attempts at
posh speech ended in malapropisms, and her tatty clothes and raucous
accent immediately ridiculed her pretentions as a social climber.

Her popular stage technique of silently mouthing words in an
exaggerated manner was learned during a short spell in a Lancashire
clothing factory were it was impossible to converse normally because
of the noise. And her voice, a mixture of strangulated North Country
and perculiar camp refinement, was her hallmark.

She was born in Farnworth, near Bolton, the daughter of a comedian,
Harold Baker, and made her first stage appearance at the age of 10 at
the Opera House, Tunbridge Wells. She was a leading lady by the age of
14 and went on to write, produce, direct and star in her own touring
shows.

But she did not develop the Cynthia routine until the Second World
War, and she was in her late 40s when she became a national figure
through appearances in the television music hall show, "The Good Old
Days".

During the 1950s, she had her own summer show three years running at
Blackpool, and she made her West End debut in 1956 when she topped the
bill at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

In 1968, she starred with Jimmy Jewel in a popular television comedy
series, "Nearest and Dearest". They played a brother and sister, heirs
to a Lancashire pickle factory, and the show's appealing vulgarity
kept it running for nearly 50 episodes.

A film version followed in 1972 and among her other pictures were
"Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", in which she had a small but
telling straight role as a back-street abortionist, "Up the Junction",
and "Oliver!"

She was married briefly but had no children.

END.
raymond newman
2003-07-04 17:37:08 UTC
Post by Michael Rhodes
<Archive obituary>
<Times May 5, 1986>
HYLDA BAKER
Music hall comedienne who found fame on television
Hylda Baker, the diminutive Lancashire comedienne with the
catchphrase, 'she knows, y'know!', has died at the age of 78.
The words came from her most famous act in which her stooge was a
statuesque blonde called Cynthia, who was played by a man and never
spoke. Looking up to this bizarre figure, Hylda would tell the
audience: 'She just looks through ya! I wouldn't care, but she knows,
y'know!'
The essence of Hylda Baker's humour was a woman's desire to better
herself without the education and bearing to do so. Her attempts at
posh speech ended in malapropisms, and her tatty clothes and raucous
accent immediately ridiculed her pretentions as a social climber.
Her popular stage technique of silently mouthing words in an
exaggerated manner was learned during a short spell in a Lancashire
clothing factory were it was impossible to converse normally because
of the noise. And her voice, a mixture of strangulated North Country
and perculiar camp refinement, was her hallmark.
She was born in Farnworth, near Bolton, the daughter of a comedian,
Harold Baker, and made her first stage appearance at the age of 10 at
the Opera House, Tunbridge Wells. She was a leading lady by the age of
14 and went on to write, produce, direct and star in her own touring
shows.
But she did not develop the Cynthia routine until the Second World
War, and she was in her late 40s when she became a national figure
through appearances in the television music hall show, 'The Good Old
Days'.
During the 1950s, she had her own summer show three years running at
Blackpool, and she made her West End debut in 1956 when she topped the
bill at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
In 1968, she starred with Jimmy Jewel in a popular television comedy
series, 'Nearest and Dearest'. They played a brother and sister, heirs
to a Lancashire pickle factory, and the show's appealing vulgarity
kept it running for nearly 50 episodes.
A film version followed in 1972 and among her other pictures were
'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning', in which she had a small but
telling straight role as a back-street abortionist, 'Up the Junction',
and 'Oliver!'
She was married briefly but had no children.
END.
Nice to see her remembered.She had what could
be called a minor hit,I think,with Arthur
Mullard.It was a send up of 'Your the one
that I want.'It has to be heard really.

Cynthia was played by someone like Eli Woods,
a tall,gangly type with his mouth open.
Michael Rhodes
2003-07-04 23:36:11 UTC
Post by raymond newman
Nice to see her remembered.She had what could
be called a minor hit,I think,with Arthur
Mullard.It was a send up of 'Your the one
that I want.'It has to be heard really.
Cynthia was played by someone like Eli Woods,
a tall,gangly type with his mouth open.
One of Hylda Baker's Cynthias was Eli Woods. They made an hillarious
pair.

Hylda's humour has been recently returned to the stage in a play
starring Sheila (?) Fergusson (the blond man eater in Last of the
Summer Wine).

--

Michael Rhodes
Brian Watson
2003-07-05 09:44:30 UTC
Post by Michael Rhodes
Post by raymond newman
Nice to see her remembered.She had what could
be called a minor hit,I think,with Arthur
Mullard.It was a send up of 'Your the one
that I want.'It has to be heard really.
Cynthia was played by someone like Eli Woods,
a tall,gangly type with his mouth open.
One of Hylda Baker's Cynthias was Eli Woods. They made an hillarious
pair.
Hylda's humour has been recently returned to the stage in a play
starring Sheila (?)
That's *Jean* Fergusson.

I think Sheila Ferguson is in The Three Degrees singing group that used to
cause emotional palpitations in the Prince of Wales<VBG>. Yes I know "... or
any other pub".
Post by Michael Rhodes
Fergusson (the blond man eater in Last of the
Summer Wine).
That would be "Marina."

Indeed, and Jean has won awards for her Hylda Baker show.

I did an afternoon interview programme on local radio some years ago and JF
was one of the guests, talking about her Hylda Baker show and its
then-current tour around the country.

She is a really nice lady, very bright and funny, and more than willing to
spill the beans on some of the backstage malarkey at Last Of The Summer
Wine.

--
Brian
"This isn't the longest day of the year: it just feels like it"
Michael Rhodes
2003-07-05 13:09:58 UTC
Post by Brian Watson
Post by Michael Rhodes
Post by raymond newman
Nice to see her remembered.She had what could
be called a minor hit,I think,with Arthur
Mullard.It was a send up of 'Your the one
that I want.'It has to be heard really.
Cynthia was played by someone like Eli Woods,
a tall,gangly type with his mouth open.
One of Hylda Baker's Cynthias was Eli Woods. They made an hillarious
pair.
Hylda's humour has been recently returned to the stage in a play
starring Sheila (?)
That's *Jean* Fergusson.
I think Sheila Ferguson is in The Three Degrees singing group that used to
cause emotional palpitations in the Prince of Wales<VBG>. Yes I know "... or
any other pub".
Post by Michael Rhodes
Fergusson (the blond man eater in Last of the
Summer Wine).
That would be "Marina."
Indeed, and Jean has won awards for her Hylda Baker show.
I did an afternoon interview programme on local radio some years ago and JF
was one of the guests, talking about her Hylda Baker show and its
then-current tour around the country.
She is a really nice lady, very bright and funny, and more than willing to
spill the beans on some of the backstage malarkey at Last Of The Summer
Wine.
Somehow I thought Sheila sounded wrong. It was a play I really wanted
to see, but didn't.

--

Brian Watson
2003-07-05 09:33:58 UTC
Post by raymond newman
Nice to see her remembered.She had what could
be called a minor hit,I think,with Arthur
Mullard.It was a send up of 'Your the one
that I want.'It has to be heard really.
But only somewhere where earplugs are readily available.

:-)

--
Brian
"This isn't the longest day of the year: it just feels like it"