But Will It Get a Laugh? The Life of Doris Hare in Three Acts

Kate Crehan

‘Doris was straight out of a prop basket, shaken up, dusted down and ready to go on.’ Tony Warren (creator of Coronation Street)

The Society’s Publication for 2021/22 is a biography of Doris Hare (1905-2000), by her daughter Kate Crehan. Doris Hare was a much-loved member of the cast of the television sit-com On the Buses, but that was only one chapter of a career spanning almost the entire twentieth century. Beginning as a child actor with her parents’ portable theatre touring the mining towns of South Wales, achieving success in Cabaret and Revue in the 1930s, Doris became a household name during the War, hosting a popular radio programme Shipmates Ashore, and becoming celebrated as ‘the Sweetheart of the Merchant Navy’.  Twenty years later – after  stints with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre – she again became a household name playing Mum in On the Buses, a television sitcom universally despised by the critics but adored by its fans.

This biography draws on family recollections, interviews with colleagues and fans, and the photographs, documents and mementoes collected by Doris herself, which cover the Hare family’s history and her own career. Kate Crehan’s proposal for the biography won the 2020 Tony Lothian Prize for an uncommissioned biography by a first-time biographer.

Hardback (2022), 312 pp, 42 illus., ISBN 978 0 85430 086 0

This biography of Doris Hare by Kate Crehan describes a career that spanned almost the entire twentieth century, beginning as a child actor in travelling theatres and encompassing radio, cabaret and revue, the RSC and popular television.

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