Auctioning Archie... Superstar dummy goes under hammer
Grace Hammond

One of Britain's most famous ventriloquist's dummies is set to go under the hammer tomorrow.
The original Archie Andrews, star of the show Educating Archie, which attracted millions of radio listeners in the 1950s, is being sold at auction later this week.
In his heyday Archie became the only dummy to top the bill of a West End show and had his own waxwork in Madame Tussauds.
He was brought to life by ventriloquist Peter Brough, who died aged 83 in 1999. Mr Brough's family is now selling the dummy, together with merchandise and memorabilia at an auction in Taunton, Somerset.

Luke Macdonald, fine art partner at auctioneers Greenslade Taylor Hunt, said the dummy was lucky to have lasted for more than 50 years. He said: "He has been kidnapped, left on a train and stolen during his lifetime. "It is a chapter of broadcasting history. He was a real superstar and as far as merchandising went he was on everything, sweets, scrap books, colouring books." Educating Archie, which was broadcast on the BBC's Light Programme, attracted a phenomenal number of listeners. When broadcast on a Thursday it would pull in 7.5 million people, with more than 11 million more tuning in to listen to repeats on Sunday and Wednesday. The show was the launchpad for the career of Julie Andrews, and Tony Hancock, Max Bygraves and Dick Emery also featured.

Mr Macdonald said the dummy was estimated to bring 10,000 to 15,000, but admitted he had no idea what it would make. He said: "Quite a few interested parties have already shown their hands. I expect it will go to a collector of ventriloquist's dummies, or possibly someone involved in the entertainment world."

The auction takes place at the auction house in Taunton at 10.30am.
21 November 2005


Archie dummy sells for 34,000

A private collector has paid 34,000 for the original Archie Andrews dummy used by ventriloquist Peter Brough in the 1950s radio show, Educating Archie. The show had a fan club of 250,000 and attracted 15m listeners at its peak.

The dummy sold for more than double the 15,000 estimate at Taunton auctioneers Greenslade Taylor Hunt on Tuesday, where it was sold by Brough's family.
Buyer Colin Burnett-Dick said he planned to loan the doll to museums so it could be accessible to the public. Mr Burnett-Dick from Blackboys, East Sussex, told BBC News Online: "It was worth it. There is so much history attached to him. I remember him from my childhood. There was lots of dummies but he was probably the most significant. We didn't want him to go overseas."

Peter Brough's family decided to put the 4ft-high, blazer-wearing dummy up for auction following his death in 1999. It had been stowed away in a suitcase for several years, having survived being kidnapped and stolen from a car. 

22 November2005

In case you are wondering... Archie is the one wearing a pair of Clark's Shoes

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