The life story of Sir Norman Wisdom, who went from street urchin to become one of the UK's most bankable and loved film stars of the 1950-60s. The documentary pays tribute to his life, featuring family, friends and colleagues.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Johnny Mans ...
Himself - Norman's Manager since 1980
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Himself - Actor and Friend
Nick Wisdom ...
Himself - Norman's Son
Jaqui Wisdom ...
Herself - Norman's Daughter
Kim Wisdom ...
Herself - Norman's Daughter-in-Law
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Herself - Actress
Robert Ross ...
Himself - Comedy Historian
Vera Lynn ...
Herself (as Dame Vera Lynn)
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Himself - Film Director
David Lodge ...
Himself - Actor
...
Himself - Actor
Esther Rantzen ...
Herself
Tony Hawks ...
Himself - Musician and Writer
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The life story of Sir Norman Wisdom, who went from street urchin to become one of the UK's most bankable and loved film stars of the 1950-60s. The documentary pays tribute to his life, featuring family, friends and colleagues.

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15 October 2010 (UK)  »

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£150,000 (estimated)
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Quotes

[Esther recounts an interview with Norman in front of a studio audience]
Terence Stamp - Narrator: As the cameras stopped rolling on The Esther Show, Norman's antics continued.
Esther Rantzen: And the audience clapped. And as the applause died, Norman leaned forward, looked me straight in the eyes, and licked the end of my nose... A sensation I will never forget. Hasn't happened much since.
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Features Follow a Star (1959) See more »

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Mr Grimsdale
31 October 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I was once overtaken by a fancy sports car in the Isle of Man and a friend pointed out it was Norman Wisdom, he likes his fast cars he remarked. That was my only encounter with Norman on the island where he lived for the last three decades of his life.

Some years later I saw him in a shopping mall as he was promoting the Isle of Man in conjunction with the Tourist Board. Even in his advanced years he was wowing the crowd and we had some pictures taken with him.

Like the comic Frank Carson he always came across as a 24 hours comedian, always a gag or a pratfall to keep the crowd smiling.

This documentary went behind the man but never really told us much that I already knew. Norman was always candid in interviews about his life.

Born into poverty, a dad who did not want to know him and somehow worked his way up from the bottom to the top of the Bill with his Gump persona and then into films with his everyman Norman Pitkin in the 1950s and 1960s.

The documentary talked to his friends, children, showbiz pals and we see a man who is driven, wants to succeed and stay on top. It cost him his second wife and ended up raising his children as a single father. The price was he never did crack America although he made films in the USA but this documentary glossed over films such as The night they raided Minsky's.

In the 1970s he started to do television and missed out on a part as Frank Spencer. I think the audience dodged a bullet because even in the 1970s he was too old to play the man-child Frank Spencer.

However in the early 1980s director Stephen Frears brought out a serious side of Norman as he played a straight drama for the first time as a terminal cancer patient and showed he could do serious as well as funny.

In his later years as well as chat shows there were guest appearances in various dramas and comedies such as Last of the Summer Wine.

Norman was knighted and still could not resist a trip in front of the Queen. In is his final years suffered from dementia.

Norman deserves to be up there with the British comedy greats, of course I have always been a fan so I am biased. The documentary though needed more depth.


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