Frank Skinner visits Warrington Cemetery

This Is Cheshire: Frank Skinner Frank Skinner

IT turned out nice again for Brummie comedian Frank Skinner when he visited Warrington as part of a programme following the life of his ukulele-playing hero George Formby.

The TV star spent time at Warrington Cemetry, in Manchester Road, on Thursday to visit the grave of the Leaning on a Lamppost singer.

Zoe Timmers, associate producer of the programme, said: “Frank is a genuine Formby fan and suggested to us about doing a programme on him because Formby had such a rollercoaster life.

“Frank was quite moved when he saw the grave and laid some flowers.”

The BBC Four programme will be a one-off hour special with the working title of Frank Skinner on Formby.

Production company Liberty Bell hopes it will be aired to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the George Formby Society next year.

Formby died of a heart attack in 1961. An estimated 100,000 mourners lined the route as his coffin was driven to Warrington Cemetery where he was buried in the family grave.

The Lancashire star of stage and screen appeared in 21 hit films and was well known for playing the banjolele – a banjo ukulele hybrid.

Frank followed in his hero’s footsteps learning to play the banjo as part of a celebrity reality series and played a rendition of Formby’s When I’m Cleaning Windows on the ukulele for the cameras.

Zoe added: “Frank has got a real love for performing.

“He asked us on the train home to London if we thought anyone would mind if he played his ukulele but we advised him against it!”

The Three Lions singer was given a ukulele for his 50th birthday by famous pal David Baddiel and has been performing ‘Formby-esque’ songs as part of his stand-up routine.

Speaking about the documentary, he said: “It gives me the chance to meet a lot of top-notch ukulele players and generally wallow in Formby’s world.

“The ukulele has become an obsession of mine. I rarely travel anywhere without one.”

For more exclusive pictures see this week's Warrington Guardian.

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