Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bernard Miles

Found this EP by Bernard Miles today at the boot sale for 50p. I vaguley remember this act from the early 60's on TV where he appeared on The Good Old Days etc. as a bucolic old yokel leaning over a five bar gate - hence the title of this record.

Wikipedia says -

"Bernard James Miles, Baron Miles, CBE (27 September 1907–14 June 1991) was an English character actor, writer and director.

Miles was born in Uxbridge, Middlesex and attended Bishopshalt School in Hillingdon. While his parents were respectively a farm labourer and a cook, he was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He entered the theatre in the 1930s, soon appearing in films. Like many actors, he featured prominently in the patriotic cinema during the Second World War, including classics of the genre such as In Which We Serve and One of Our Aircraft is Missing. He also had an uncredited role in the WWII classic The First of the Few, released in the US as Spitfire.

His typical persona as an actor was as a countryman, with a strong accent typical of the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire counties. He was also, after Robert Newton the actor most associated with the part of Long John Silver, which he played in a British TV version of Treasure Island, and in an annual performance at the Mermaid. He had a pleasant rolling bass-baritone voice that worked well in theatre and film, as well as being much in demand for voice-overs. As a performer, he was most well known for a series of comic monologues, often given in a rural dialect. These were recorded and sold as record albums, which were quite popular. Some of his comic monologues are currently available on

He opened the Mermaid Theatre in London in 1959, the first new theatre opened in London since the 17th century. He was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1953, was knighted in 1969, and was granted a life peerage as Baron Miles, of Blackfriars in the City of London in 1979. He was only the second British actor ever to be given a peerage (the first was Laurence Olivier). In 1981, he co-authored the book Curtain Calls with J.C. Trewin. He died in Yorkshire

His daughters are the actress Sally Miles and the artist Bridget Miles. His son John Miles was a Grand Prix Driver in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the Lotus team."

Bernard Miles - Over The Gate / Me an' Old Charlie

Bernard Miles - One Of The Old School

Bernard Miles - Billy & Toggie


boppinbob said...

Wonderful comedy. Keep 'em coming.

Donald said...

Thank you for posting this old favorite of mine which I haven't heard in over 50 years! Having attended Bishopshalt School myself, Bernard Miles was an oft mentioned name.

wastedpapiers said...

No problem Donald - so glad you enjoyed it. I knew somebody out there would!

Arthur Brownwindsor said...

Bernard was born in Uxbridge Mx.His rural accent was Middlesex!
There were some factories but great tracts of the land were still rural. Horticultural. The land for miles around Heathrow was given over to growing food. Or flowers. I once went with a local lad I knew who was a lorry driver around the area, picking up boxes of tomatoes. We then drove to Convent Garden market. When it was at Convent Garden.
Nursery lands. There were many unmade up roads with large houses and horses in fields behind. There was piggeries.
Though it was forbidden by the school I worked in the nursery lands. Once I recall asking to two old (to me then) men Cuthbert and George who I was working with weeding beds of plants where they came from. They lived in tied cottages next door to the nursery. Their accents were like something out of the Archers or from rural villages on Salisbury plain I had heard as a cadet. They were shocked; they were both born in the area. The West London drawl, which I have, had flooded the area like a rising tide. So we had three accents in a close area, middle class, rustic, and oicky
That is how he got the lovley sound

wastedpapiers said...

Thanks Arthur - much obliged for your info.

Arthur Brownwindsor said...

Ooh aar

And Heathrow itself…a row of cottages on Hounslow Heath………..agricultural workers…….
Growing the food now flown over the area.
I am a Green but not cabbage looking………..well just abit

soubriquet said...

I grew up with this record, but the 78 version, I think, hope, my brother still has it.
A few weeks ago (May2010), I drove through Ivinghoe, past the church, was on my way to a wedding, no time to stop, I'd really like to see if theres an old crusader in the church, "the foinest bit o' sharp'nin' stone in 'ertfordshire".
Another day, perhaps. Thanks for an old memory, revived.

wastedpapiers said...

Thanks for dropping by soubriquet. Let us know if you find that old crusader!

Norman Cooper said...

Just saying to brother Donald, I remember his sisters living at the top of Pole Hill Road in a lovely house, now gone I think, great memories of Bernard's ramblings.