Ronnie Corbett, Jimmy Gilbert, and Walter McGowan among 228 contemporary figures added to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


09 January 2020
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Prominent Scots from the fields of academia, politics and entertainment have today (9 January 2020) been added to the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
The Oxford DNB is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history, worldwide, from prehistory to the year 2016. From January 2020 the Dictionary includes biographies of 63,693 individuals, written by over 14,000 contributors.
 
New figures include:
 

Robbie Corbett (1938-2016)

 
Edinburgh-born Ronnie Corbett once said, ‘I think I saw theatre as a way to overcome my size and the problem of not being noticed’. Noticed he certainly would be, as one of Britain's most popular entertainers and a fixture of British television for more than fifty years, from Crackerjack in 1957 to a documentary about Colin Montgomerie in 2009 (golf being his greatest passion).
 
He was best known for his appearances with Ronnie Barker in the long-running series The Two Ronnies, which arose accidentally when the two comedians (who had previously worked together on The Frost Report) were hosting a BAFTA awards ceremony, and had to improvise following a technical hitch; the resulting series ran for 93 episodes and attracted audiences regularly in excess of 20 million.
 

Jimmy Gilbert (1923-2016)

 
The entertainment theme continues with Jimmy Gilbert, also from Edinburgh, the television producer who brought The Two Ronnies (as well as Last of the Summer Wine, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, Fawlty Towers, and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin) to our TV screens.

 

Walter McGowan (1942-2016)

 
Hamilton-born Walter McGowan initially had his heart set on a career as a jockey, before following his father into boxing; in his subsequent professional career he registered thirty-two wins, seven losses, and one draw, and in 1966 became the world flyweight champion (at the time of his death one of only thirteen world champion boxers from Scotland). In retirement he ran the Walter McGowan Bar & Grill in Carluke, and was a witty and articulate boxing commentator on radio and television.
 
For more information on the DNB, visit the website.
 
 
Photo by Josh Vuong on Unsplash