Ashton writers release comprehensive account of comedian’s life

TWO local brothers have just released their latest book about the extraordinary life and career of Lancashire comedian Frank Randle.

Philip and David Williams have been writing together since their teens and early 20s respectively.

Well-known for their love of their hometown Ashton-under-Lyne, they have penned a host of popular books about local history, cinema and the world of entertainment.

Alongside new material, their freshest offering entitled ‘The Complete Frank Randle’ combines the writers’ two previously published Randle biographies.

David (left) & Philip

The first, ‘Wired to the Moon’, was published to mark the 50th anniversary of his death in 2007. During the many years of research undertaken for the book, the authors used all of the archival information then available for them to develop as full a picture of Randle’s life as possible.

Philip and David were eventually able to piece together a more complete picture of Randle’s early career a few years later, when various archives became more accessible, which they used, along with new oral testimonies, to publish ‘The Theatrical World of Arthur Twist’ in 2011.

By merging material from both volumes, along with new information, into a single volume, the most comprehensive biography of the legendary comic’s life has been achieved.

The near 300-page book delves into the life of the Wigan-born comedian, widely recognised as the King of Comedy in British music halls, as it reveals his distinctive traits such as his penchant for drinking, occasional outbursts of temper, and bouts of jealousy.

His successful variety show, ‘Randle’s Scandals’, attracted packed audiences for more than 10 years, both entertaining audiences and shocking those in positions of power.

He also gained a significant number of fans through his starring roles in 10 feature films, which he proudly claimed had ‘made him a fortune’.

The authors said: “Through extensive research spanning several years, we have crafted a seminal account of a man who left an indelible mark on British comedy. Our primary objective was to separate fact from fiction. This book may not necessarily change your opinion of Randle, but it will certainly offer a fascinating glimpse into his life.”

The book, which includes a foreword by comedy historian Robert Ross, is available now in paperback for £16 by ordering directly from the publishers at

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