Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Grayson, Larry (1923-1995)

Presenter, Comedian

Main image of Grayson, Larry (1923-1995)

Larry Grayson opened the door for other gay presenters with his brand of gentle, camp humour during the 1970s and 1980s when he hosted the long-running BBC Saturday night gameshow The Generation Game. His effeminate mannerisms were complemented with a host of characters that he conjured up in his stand-up act (Everard, Apricot Lil and Slack Alice) and with a set of catchphrases which were guaranteed to raise a laugh - "Look at the muck on here", "Seems like a nice boy" and his trademark "Shut that door."

Grayson was born William White in Banbury on 21st August 1923, and grew up with adoptive parents in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. His long comedy career started when he left school at 14 and joined the club and variety circuit, using the stage name of Billy Breen. He often appeared in drag shows, changing his stage name in the Fifties to Kathryn Grayson.

His big break in TV came in January 1971 when, as Larry Grayson, he appeared on ATV's Saturday Variety. Regular TV appearances followed, which led to his own show Shut that Door (1972). However, his biggest career move was to follow when he replaced Bruce Forsyth as host of The Generation Game (1978-1981) where, aided by Isla St Clair, he regularly brought in audiences of 18 million.

Despite his openly gay persona Grayson kept his own counsel about his homosexuality. He died on 7 January 1995 in Nuneaton, aged 71.

Eddie Dyja

More information


From the BFI's filmographic database

Related media

Selected credits

Related collections

Related people and organisations