Larry Grayson




Every Second Counts (non-broadcast pilot)

The Generation Game

A Question of Entertainment (team captain)



Born William White in Banbury, Oxfordshire, in 1923 to unmarried parents, Grayson was adopted into a coal mining family in Nuneaton.

By the age of 14, he was working under the name of Billy Breen as a supporting drag act on the comedy club circuit, and over the next thirty years he toured Great Britain with various male revues and drag shows.

After touring and presenting further variety shows in the 70s, including his own TV series Shut That Door (one of his catchphrases), he took over presenting The Generation Game from Bruce Forsyth.

He retired from television in 1981 (apart from being a team captain on A Question of Entertainment and a number of guest appearances on various other shows, such as Crackerjack and What's My Line?), but continued to perform in the theatre, particularly in pantomime. He died in 1995, aged 71, due to a perforated appendix.


He was the presenter for the pilot of Every Second Counts.

Another unsuccessful pilot he presented was called Beyond Belief (Thames TV) and featured purported clairvoyants competing to predict events in the lives of members of the public.

Grayson made two appearances in the ITV soap 'Crossroads' - he was a close friend of the show's main star, the late Noele Gordon. One of those appearances was as a chauffeur, rather ironically, given that he was a non-driver in real life.

His catchphrase, "Shut that door!", reputedly came about after his agent asked repeatedly for privacy when he and Grayson tried to have a private dressing room conversation. Other memorable catchphrases included, "What a gay day!" "Seems like a nice boy..." , "Isla, can we have the scores on the doors, please?" and "What a lot you've got!" - the latter two being from "The Generation Game".

He had a number of 'imaginary' friends which he would use to tell his anecdotes, including Everard, Slack Alice, Pop-it-in-Pete (the postman), Top-it-up-Ted (the petrol station attendant), Apricot Lil (the tart who worked in a jam factory), Self Raising Fred (the baker), Non Stick Neil and Once a Week Nora.

Web links

Internet Movie Database entry


Shut that Door - Larry Grayson at ITV (DVD, 2009)


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