Rex Harrison urged him to take up a career in showbiz; Charlie Chaplin named him his favourite clown. Yet Norman Wisdom remained that most modest of British superstars, unpretentious, full of humility, despite a dizzying rise to international fame. Or, rather, extreme popularity in the UK, and extraordinary adulation in other slightly unlikely other countries, most notably Albania, where he was, notoriously, the only Western actor whose films were allowed in the country during the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha.
Wisdom had a tough upbringing - sleeping in the same room as his whole family; a spell in a children's home, then employment by the Merchant Navy at a young age - which left little time for him to be a child. It seems striking then that his stage and screen