Cudham comedian Little Tich left lasting legacy
PUBLISHED: 13:22 07 December 2012 | UPDATED: 14:14 07 December 2012
PA Archive/Press Association Images
Armed with a top hat and 28 inch boots, Harry Relph made a huge name for himself across the nation’s music halls as Little Tich.
Born in 1867 at the Blacksmith’s Arms, in Cudham Lane South, Cudham, he was one of 15 children and at just 4ft 6in would stand head and shoulders above his siblings.
Taking his stage name from a Victorian court case, the Tichborne claimant, he would go on to become a vaudeville favourite and even create nickname used more than 100 years later when referring to small people - titch.
With six fingers on each hand and six toes on each feet, Little Tich was inevitably different and used this to his advantage when creating his most famous characters such as The Spanish Senora or The Tax Collector.
But his greatest fame would come from his Big Boot dance, in which he wore ski-length boots to put himself in otherwise impossible poses.
This piece of comedy would be lauded by great French film director, Jacques Tati, as “a foundation for everything that has been realised in comedy on screen.”
Lasting the test of time, Big Boots was parodied by The Monty Python in their Ministry of Silly Walks sketch, with Michael Palin dressed as Little Tich - complete with large shoes.
A stalwhart of the pantomime scene, Harry Relph died at the age of 61. He is remembered by two blue plaques marking both his birthplace and his Hendon home.
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