Archie Andrews, who was once Britain's best-loved ventriloquist dummy, is being allowed out of his retirement suitcase to make a return to the stage almost 50 years since his final bow.
In a statement Archie said,” Absolutely nothing” but on his behalf his new owner stated, “Archie Andrews and his ventriloquist Peter Brough were once the biggest stars on radio. We are amazed that even after all these years of retirement Archie still retains so much of his popularity that it would not be fair for the British public to be deprived of his comedic talents any longer!” Archie confirmed this statement with a wink!
Archie Andrews and ventriloquist Peter Brough were big stars in the 1950s on radio and later on television and their show “Educating Archie” attracted over 15 million listeners and had a fan club boasting 250,000 members.
The radio show was also instrumental in helping launch the early careers of guest performers such as Julie Andrews, Max Bygraves Tony Hancock, Hattie Jaques, Harry Secombe, Dick Emery, Benny Hill, Beryl Read and many others.
Hancock, who played the dummy's tutor, would greet Archie with a weary "Oh, it's you again" and always replied to a put-down with the retort: “flippin kids”. The radio programme later transferred to television, appearing on ITV in 1958.
The royal family were fans of the show and Brough regularly appeared at the Royal Variety Performance and, even after retiring, continued to perform privately at Windsor Castle.
The show came to an end in 1962. Peter Brough died in 1999.
Archie was bought at auction by ventriloquism fan Colin Burnett-Dick in 2005, who paid £34,000 for the 4ft wooden doll officially making Archie the most valuable Ventriloquist doll ever.
Archie currently resides on the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex.