Played by Richard Hearne in a 1936 stage show Big Boy, Mr Pastry was one of British TV's first clowns, appearing on the small screen since 1946. He was an accident prone but surprisingly nimble old man (although Hearne was only 28-years old when he first created him) whose trademark appearance of bowler hat, white walrus moustache and long coat-tails was still captivating and amusing young audiences in the 1960's with his own series, as well as appearances on Crackerjack and Sunday Night at the London Palladium. His theme tune was Pop Goes the Weasel.
Known as Papa Gateau in France, this wasn't Hearne's first TV series as the eccentric old man who made his on-screen debut in a 1946 self-penned sketch for BBC Television called The Village Store which was shown in the BBC series Variety. The first series to feature Mr. Pastry in the title was Mr Pastry Gets A Job which ran fortnightly from April to July 1950 and followed on from a single sketch the previous year titled Mr Pastry At Home. In 1957 Hearne moved on from the BBC and temporarily played two characters; Billy McQuirtle and Mr Pastry in Highland Fling - a six-part musical sitcom concerning the sale of an ancient Scottish castle. Interviewed for TV Times in August 1957 Hearne said of the part "For a change I'll play myself...and Pastry. And I'll have a little romance for the first time."
Following Mr Pastry in 1958, Hearne only made four more series, the last being Mr Pastry's Pet Shop in 1962. In 1963 Hearne became President of the Lord's Taverners charity and he subsequently raised money for hundreds of hydrotherapy pools. In 1970 he was awarded the OBE for his charitable work. He was also considered, at one time, for the title role in Doctor Who.
Published on January 8th, 2019. Written by Sources: Radio Times Guide To Comedy by Mark Lewisohm. TV Times Midlands Edition 2 August 1957. Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.