Thursday, July 1, 2010

All his shows ARE great

"If Grade had appeared in fiction, he'd be dismissed as a cliche. Fortunately, he existed, and this entertaining book is a worthy monument." Louis Barfe, The Independent

In his review for Spectator Business Dominic Prince not only proclaims that "Chester tells the Lew Grade story well, the detail is good and he deals with the old man's demise generously", but also reveals that he believes Lewis Chester's account of Grade's life to be better than the account that Prince himself co-authored with Quentin Falk!

Lew Grade was the last of the old-time media moguls, who shaped, and inmany ways revolutionised, post-war Britain's popular culture for over fifty years. From humble, Jewish immigrant beginnings in the East End of London, Lew Grade became world Charleston champion (and could dance it well into his eighties), then, along with brothers Bernard and Leslie, a top show business promoter and theatre proprietor, eventually booking Hollywood's biggest names, from Shirley Maclaine to Sammy Davis Jr. The birth of commercial television saw him win a franchise with ATV, where he presented long-running hits like Sunday Night at the London Palladium and the bizarre crossbow-firing game show The Golden Shot, which brought the nation together in front of the television, and epic mini-series like Jesus of Nazareth. But posterity will probably thank him for bringing Thunderbirds and The Muppets to British screens.

For media students he is a pioneering figure in the history of commercial television; for the rest of us he is the larger-than-life impresario who brought the best of Hollywood to our theatres and gave show business a razzle-dazzle it has never lost.

Lewis Chester was a member of the celebrated Sunday Times Insight Team of investigative journalists . His last book was Troublemaker.

All My Shows are Great: The Life of Lew Grade can be purchased at

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