CHARLES GRAHAM - Setting the celebrity record straight

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AFTER my call in last week’s column for a couple more of Wigan’s comic greats to be recognised with blue plaques (once such things are affordable again), I am very grateful to Wigan’s registrar for setting me straight on both of their addresses.

You may recall that I suggested Roy Kinnear and Ted Ray were worthy recipients but I hadn’t been given a definitive birth address for the latter.

I had been variously informed that TV, film, stage and radio star Ted came into this world on either a side street off Frog Lane or at what is currently the Rajgate Indian restaurant (formerly the Abbey Lakes) on Orrell Road.

Well, in a kind letter from the town hall register office, Paul Ogden can confirm that it was in fact...neither of these!

Ted Ray (real name Charlie Olden) was in fact born on what is now the house-less Great George Street (last turning on the left before you go under Wallgate bridge into the town centre) on November 21 1905. His father Charles was a music hall comedian and they moved to Liverpool soon after Ted’s birth. His son Robin, some may recall, attained stardom, not least as a regular on the panel show Face the Music.

In fact I’ve been set right on Mr Kinnear too!

Despite my being assured that he was born at 55 Mesnes Road ,Mr Ogden informs me that in fact he was born on Mesnes STREET in the town centre (and it wasn’t number 55 either!) on January 8 1934.

Roy, who cornered the 1970s market in sweaty, shifty characters (see Mr Salt in the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie for instance), had fame in his blood too.

His dad, also called Roy, was a top rugby union player in Scotland who was signed by Wigan Rugby League Club on January 29 1927. He played in the first ever Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 1929 and actually scored a try.

Sadly, like his son, Roy Snr died tragically. This was during a service match at Uxbridge where he was a sergeant PT instructor during the Second World War.

But the famous family name lives on in Roy Jnr’s son Rory Kinnear, now a well-established actor who has appeared in several James Bond films and the recent Loving Miss Hatto.

In 1987, to mark the 150th anniversary of births, marriages and deaths, an exhibition was planned by the Register Office and famous people (Roy Kinnear included) and their relations, gave permission for their details to be displayed.

Unfortunately, for political reasons, the plan never came to fruitition.

And Roy died after a horse-riding accident in Spain while filming The Return of the Three Musketeers with Oliver Reed and Michael York the following year.