This film is part of Free

Cue Danny La Rue

The charming entertainer explains his love of the frock.

Current affairs 1982 5 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Beloved for cross-dressing and innuendo, Danny La Rue is one of the highest paid comedians in Britain. Judi Spiers interviews him in Torquay where he is sincere about his talent explaining that he enjoys making people laugh and that he is simply a comic in a frock. Dubbed by others affectionately as the grande dame of drag, he is known for his lavish costumes, female impersonations with occasional brutish straight male delivery and music hall-style singing.

Irish-born, as a child he moved with his mother who worked as a seamstress from a bomb-damaged Soho in London to Kennford in Devon and at 18 served in the Royal Navy taking up female roles while on board ship. He turned to female impersonation in revue shows after his first few straight acting roles and continued to work as a window-dresser. He published his 1987 autobiography From Drags to Riches two years after the death of his partner of 40 years, Jack Hanson. He was awarded an OBE in 2002 for his work with Aids charities. He became an inspiration to drag queen performers who today have reclaimed the Q for queer. Danny continued to glide the boards in pantomime until his death in 2009. Oh yes he did!