Dave Allen died in March 2005 at the age of 68, not a great old age, but his showbusiness career took in over forty years, and was surprisingly eclectic. This hour long BBC 2 documentary
was made with the cooperation of family, friends and contemporaries. It is notable that not one of them had a bad word to say about him, but the same cannot be said for everyone of a certain religious disposition, including and especially in his native Ireland.
Although born into the Catholic faith, Allen rebelled against it at an early age, and was a declared atheist. It is difficult to credit that he did not hate religion, especially Christianity and most of all Catholicism as claimed here, but it is perhaps unwise to read too much into his constant guying of the cloth in especially the cameos that peppered his shows.
At the time these brought sacks full of complaints, but in the 21st Century when profanity and utter filth are never more than a couple of mouse clicks away, the outrage factor has diminished considerably, although the humour remains.
Allen is credited here with inspiring the new generation of so-called alternative comedians, which presumably includes self-styled funny feminist Caitlin Moran
. Although she is not consciously in the funny business, one wonders what Allen would have made of his fellow lapsed Catholic and accidental comedienne Julia Long
. Doubtless she would have branded him sexist
, but Allen laughed at everything and everyone, including himself. When he was young, he lost the tip of a finger, apparently in some sort of accident. He told countless stories about how this came about, all of them different. Behind the laughter he had a serious side, and also made a series of thoughtful documentaries.
This programme won't be on iplayer for much longer, but the good news is that it has already been uploaded to YouTube. If you haven't heard of or seen Allen performing, check him out. Surprisingly there does not appear to be an official or even a Dave Allen fan site, but his legacy was already confirmed well before the age of the Internet.