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24Seven: Tribute to a truly original pop act; Profile (BBC2, 11. 35pm).

VIVIAN Stanshall was described by Stephen Fry as `one of the most talented, profligate, bizarre, infuriating, unfathomable and magnificent Englishmen ever to have drawn breath'.

Profile takes a look at the man who turned music on its head before drink and drugs helped ruin a glittering career.

Born in 1943 in Oxfordshire, Victor Anthony Stanshall's love of traditional jazz and art school prankishness paved the way for one of the most original pop acts of the 1960s.

Co-founder, lead singer and co-writer of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Stanshall and the gang burst into the spotlight in 1965, eventually scoring a massive hit with Urban Spaceman produced by Apollo C Vermouth alias Paul McCartney.

Despite being a breath of fresh air in the charts, they eventually became victims of their own success.

``I think it was the basic integrity of the band that stopped it, '' revealed Stanshall.

``We became that which we reviled. Lofty and cocooned rock and roll people that we were supposed to be parodying. ''

This profile examines his Southend seaside childhood, his years at art school and his 1980 film, Sir Henry at Rawlinson's End, which featured Trevor Howard.

Stanshall burnt himself out early and had a nervous breakdown brought about by tranquillisers and booze -- a `lost weekend of 14 years'.

He died at his third-floor flat in Muswell Hill, north London in March 1995, aged 52 after a fire.


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 30, 2004
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