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Broughton, England, UK

Al Read (3 March, 1909–9 September, 1987) was a popular British radio comedian active throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Read was born in Broughton, Salford, Lancashire and was a sausage maker in his father's business. He became known as a popular after dinner speaker with wry and well-observed humour in clubs. In 1950 Read made his radio début on the BBC. His comedy was based around the monologue form, but he also became known for dialogues in which he played both voices. His humour was observational and was about northern English working class people, often in a domestic situation.

The Al Read Show was one of the most popular radio comedy shows in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s. Up to 35 million people listened to it each week. His catchphrases "Right Monkey" and "You'll be lucky, I say you'll be lucky!" were well known. In 1963 he headed a variety format for ITV called Life and Al Read which was apparently unscripted and was broadcast live. In 1966 another ITV series called Al Read Says What a Life! was broadcast. He also worked extensively on the variety stage. It was generally considered that sound radio was his best medium.

In 1954 he appeared high on the bill at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium. In 1959 he appeared with comedian Jimmy Clitheroe in the Royal Northern Variety Performance, in the presence of the Queen Mother, at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.

The introduction to his radio show was usually "Al Read: introducing us to ourselves"; and he himself described his work as "pictures of life". His monologues were certainly very perceptive about the human condition, and also very witty. Many of his monologue recordings are still available from the BBC.

Surviving editions held by the BBC Sound Archive: