Bernie Clifton launches unique University comedy archive

Wednesday 30 May 2012
Comedian and entertainer Bernie Clifton will be happily recalling his work and friendship with late BBC producer and scriptwriter Mike Craig when he launches a unique comedy archive held by the University of Salford later this week.

During a career working with some of the country’s most famous comedy performers, including Morecambe and Wise, Ken Dodd and Les Dawson, Mike Craig wrote and produced more than 1,200 shows for radio and television. He also amassed a collection of around 500 hours of audio recordings, much of which formed the basis of his documentaries and radio programmes on the history of comedy.

Mike died in 2010, and his widow Sue has now donated this collection, which consists of entire shows, interviews with comedians and light entertainment characters, and other archive material, to the University of Salford to form the Mike Craig Comedy Archive, so that it can be used for education, information and entertainment.

Over the last six months the archive and repository team based at the University’s library has digitised the tapes and the material is now being painstakingly catalogued and cross-referenced so the recordings can be made available to students, academics and the public via the University’s online archive and computer system.

Dr Chris Lee, senior lecturer and film and comedy researcher at the University of Salford, said: “The alma mater of such luminaries as Peter Kay and Jason Manford has brought comedy to a digital level and made ‘logging on’ the new ‘stand up’ as Mike Craig’s choice recordings of the performances and memories of many British comedy greats are now available for comedy fans.”

Bernie Clifton will celebrate the launch of the Mike Craig Comedy Archive with academics from institutions across the country and other guests at Sandbar in Manchester on Thursday 31 May. The launch forms part of the Sixth International Comedy Conference, organised by Chris Lee, and Dave James of Manchester Metropolitan University, taking place in Manchester from 31 May-1 June.