Bobby Knutt: Autobiography serialisation in The Star - VIDEO

HE'S been making us laugh for more than 40 years. Now comedy legend Bobby Knutt has swapped the stand-up mic for a laptop and written his life story - WATCH VIDEO.

From his early days in the clubs and pubs of Sheffield to a Royal Command Performance, Bobby Knutt has seen and done it all.

See The Star tonight - Thursday, August 20, 2009 - when we begin the serialisation of his new autobiography.

Click the green play button to see Bobby Knutt talking about his new book.

In 'Eyup Knutty - The Life and Loves of a Stand Up Comic' Bobby tells in his own no-nonsense words how he rose from Sheffield's post-war backstreets via life as a roofer, vacuum cleaner salesman and guitarist in working men's clubs to the top of his profession.

He talks frankly about his lucky escape from a paedophile, spills the beans about life on the road as a stand-up comedian, his clash with Bernard Manning, why he loved Bob Monkhouse, Lenny Henry and Tommy Cooper but couldn't stand Bruce Forsyth.

Bobby, now aged 62 and living with his wife Donna in Elsecar, tells of the day he found out that the man he loved so dearly as a father wasn't in fact his real dad. He tells of the pantos, his early days in working men's clubs, outrageous stories of sexual athleticism and the ups and downs of three marriages.

It's been quite a life – so far.

"I really enjoyed writing the book," said Bobby.

"It's brought back a lot of things.

"I was inspired to do it by a trumpet player I met on tour who had written the story of his life and by Fred Pass's book Weerz Me Dad.

"I've had a great life and although I've a few regrets I wouldn't change the way things have turned out"

Bobby works mainly on cruise ships these days but he's cutting back because it takes him away from home for too long. "I see myself as an ordinary bloke who does an unusual job, that's it really, but I've had some laughs and times along the way and I hope people will enjoy reading about them."

We begin serialisation of Bobby's book with stories from his life growing-up in post-war Sheffield. Tomorrow he tells how he got his big break in show business.

I'D LOVE to start off by saying that I was born backstage in an old costume trunk to an old established showbiz family but that's definitely not the case.

I was born Robert Andrew Wass at 5am on November 25, 1945, in the City General Hospital in the great city of Sheffield.

I have always loved my home city and I'm saddened that I spend so much time working away from it.

Cecil Rhodes once said "To be born an Englishman is to have won first prize in the lottery of life".

That's exactly how I feel about having been born in Sheffield.

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My father was George Wass and my mother was Nell. Dad was a surface grinder at James Neill's factory which was conveniently situated at the bottom of our street and my earliest memory as a child was sitting on the cold marble step of the chip shop with a cone of newspaper containing a spoonful each of cocoa and sugar.

This was a cheap substitute for sweets, or 'spice' as we called them, and I'd happily dip my mucky little finger in the mixture and suck it off as I waited to catch a glimpse of my dad coming around the corner in his dark blue overalls with all the other blokes who were going home for their dinner.

Dinner was a meal we had at midday and tea was the meal we had at "tea-time" which was around six in the evening.

My mam always had my dad's dinner ready on time and she was a wonderful cook.

It was very plain food but all home made and in those days nobody had ever heard of cholesterol so bread and dripping was big on the menu then.

My dad always smelled of what I later discovered was soluble oil which was used in his grinding machine at work and I found it such a welcome smell because when it invaded my nostrils, I knew my dad was there.

My mam always smelled of something edible like baking bread or stew.

I never knew if we were poor or not.

We had everything that I ever needed, I never went hungry and I always had shoes on my feet, even if they'd been mended a few times on the hobbing foot.

We lived at 4 Court 1 Summerfield Street in a back to back house off Ecclesall Road which should have been condemned before the war.

Our house was in the back yard which you had to get to via an 'entry' as they were called.

These entries were narrow and pitch dark at night and many a couple have conceived their offspring therein.

There was lino on the floor and a peg rug in front of the lovely old fashioned Yorkshire range with the oven next to the fire.

A brown pot sink was in the corner near the window with an old copper tap for water

Up one flight of stairs was mam and dad's bedroom and another even narrower flight led to the attic where I slept.

The only source of heat was the fire downstairs so it was freezing and the toilets were outside across the yard."

Buy Eyup Knutty from The Star's Front Counter, in York Street, at 9.99 (2.50 extra if posted). Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5.15 pm and Saturday 9am to noon.'shakespeare's daft — but I learned it off by heart'

I'LL never forget the day that the exam results came through for the eleven plus.

My first choice was Nether Edge Grammar and that was also the first choice of my two pals Phil Sampson and Jimmy Burgess.

The postman arrived. Not only had I passed but I had been accepted at Nether Edge and so had the other lads. We were overjoyed.

My dad never said much but I could see how proud he was as I was the first boy in the whole family to pass his eleven plus.

It was one of the most memorable days of my life, even to this day.

One of my favourite masters was a guy called Len Buchan. He taught English Literature and directed school plays.

He loved Shakespeare.

Len would give us lines from the play to learn for the next lesson. When it came to testing us he would go round the class at random, line by line, from one boy to the next.

He stared at me and said "You've not learnt it have you Loveypie" .

"Loveypie" was one of his favourite expressions when he was angry.

"No Sir", I whispered.

"Speak up young man so the rest of the form may enjoy your mellifluously dulcet tones".

"No Sir," I repeated loudly.

"I don't like Shakespeare Sir," I confessed.


"I think it's daft Sir," came my reply.

He went absolutely mental. What I had said was like saying to Bernard Matthews that all turkeys were poisonous.

I got three night's detention when I had to learn double the lines I'd had in the first place.

I learned every line off by heart and when my time came I recited it word for word – and acted it.

Now, 50 years later, I can still repeat those lines from Julius Caesar off by heart.'my little scrape down at the star cinema'

SATURDAY was the best day of the week as it was the picture show down at the Star cinema on Ecclesall Road.

It was sevenpence to go in and every kid in the district went.

The queue was always rowdy with many an accusation of pushing-in resulting in the odd scuffle.

I remember I was about 10- years-old I think, and I was being picked on by a little kid who I'd never seen before.

It ended up with the usual challenge as he said "Duzda want t' do summat abart it den?"

He was only little and I said "Oreyt den" at which point he lashed out to belt me one.

I dodged this kid's blow and simply grabbed him round the neck and dragged him to the pavement.

Now all the kids in the queue were chanting "Feyt, feyt, feyt". I was squeezing the life out of this cheeky little sod and I asked him

"Duzda geeyin?". Loosely translated this meant Do you surrender?

"No I don't" he managed to whisper, so I hit him in the nose with my free hand and then he changed his mind.

"Oreyt den" he said.

I let him up and he slunk off back to his mates. A while after, my mate Barry Barnes, who was the smallest lad in our class came up and said "Hey Robert, da nose oo dat were dunt da oo da wor feytin' wee?"

"Ar don't know, why, duz dar?"

"Ar, it wor Duggie Stephenson. Ees a reyt nutter, an ees gorra gang an ee can feyt every one on 'em so eel be after dee".

For many a week I kept a weather eye open for any sight of him in the queue at the flicks, but I never saw him.

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