Mike Reid (entertainer): Wikis


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Mike Reid
Born 19 January 1940(1940-01-19)
Hackney, London, England
Died 29 July 2007 (aged 67)
Marbella, Spain
Occupation Actor, singer, stand-up comedian and presenter
Years active 1962–2007
Spouse(s) Sheila Reid (m. 1958–1967)
Shirley Collins (m. 1971–2007)

Michael Reid (19 January 1940 – 29 July 2007) was an English comedian and character actor, hailing from Hackney in East London, who is best remembered for playing the role of Frank Butcher in EastEnders and hosting the popular children's TV show Runaround. He was also noted for his gravelly voice and strong Cockney accent.




Personal life

Michael Reid was born in Hackney, East London in 1940 during World War II, and the Blitz bombings of Central London caused him and his family to relocate to Tottenham, North London, where he attended Rowland Hill School.

In 1958, he married his first wife, Sheila, and they had a daughter, Jane. They divorced in 1967, after which he married Shirley (née Collins) in 1971 and had two sons, Michael and Mark Edward (1965-1990) Reid and a daughter, Angela (who in 2008 the press claimed to be a British National Party activist, though the rumour appeared unfounded). In 1985 his son Mark Edward accidentally shot dead his best friend and five years later he committed suicide aged 24 in Colchester, Essex, by setting himself on fire. Shortly after his son's death, Reid's granddaughter Kirsty Anne S. (1990-1990) - Mark's daughter - died in her cot in Colchester,[1] aged just six months.

Mike had moved to a villa in Marbella, Spain so he could live close to a golf course which would enable him to pursue his passion of playing golf three to four times each week.

Reid was known to be opposed to plans to introduce blasphemy laws, for the effect this would have on satire, comedy and free speech.[2]

Reid was good friends with fellow actor and stand up comedian Freddie Starr; together they introduced their sometime-bodyguard, the bareknuckle fighter Lenny McLean, to acting. McLean went on to star in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.


Mike Reid's face on the façade of a shop in Brighton

Mike's first work in entertainment was as a stand-up comedian in clubs and aboard cruise liners in the early 1960s. He then became an extra playing uncredited roles in television series such as Doctor Who, The Saint and Department S. He also worked as a stuntman for films such as Casino Royale (1967) and The Dirty Dozen (1967).

He then became one of the original stars of The Comedians, a popular TV series of the 1970s produced by Johnnie Hamp for the Manchester-based Granada Television, which consisted entirely of short slots by mature stand-up comedians. Being the only obviously London comic in a line-up made up predominately of Northern English and Northern Irish comedians, Reid stood out. As a comedian, Reid's well-known catchphrases included 'Terrific' (pronounced with the emphasis on each syllable), 'Turn It In' and 'Move Yer Arris'.

He capitalised on his initial success with a one-off hit record, a novelty version of The Ugly Duckling recorded on PYE records. In 1975 it reached number 10 in the BBC Top 50 Singles Chart. In 1975 he also became the host of the ITV children's TV quiz show Runaround, fondly remembered for its incomprehensible rules and the incongruity of Reid as presenter. Runaround ended in 1981.

In 1987 he joined the cast of the popular BBC television soap opera EastEnders as Frank Butcher for which he gained much popularity over the years. The part of Butcher earned Reid the public persona of being pessimistic that he enjoyed acting against, for instance in television adverts for the soft drink Oasis. His character was involved in many popular storylines over the years and the most famous of these storylines was his character's long turbulent relationship with Pat Wicks (played by Pam St. Clement). In April 1994 Reid took a long break from the show due to stress from acting out a depression storyline for the show. Later that same year he starred alongside other fellow EastEnders actors Barbara Windsor and John Altman in his classic adult pantomime Pussy in Boots a spin off of Puss in Boots where Reid played the main role of 'Big Dick'. [3]

In 1994 he provided a voiceover for one of the cows in the Anchor Butter adverts. The advert was called Anchor: Never Seen Anything Like It.[4]

He returned to EastEnders in December 1995 as a recurring character and after several brief stints on the show, he returned as a full time character in May 1998 and remained on the show until May 2000 when he announced he would be leaving the soap for good due to exhaustion from the long filming schedules.[5]. He was persuaded to stay on the show for a further five months to give his character a dramatic exit. His last episodes aired in November 2000 when he famously departed after his affair with ex-wife Pat Evans was discovered by his current wife Peggy Mitchell (played by Barbara Windsor). That same year he appeared in the popular British gangster film Snatch playing mob boss Doug "The Head" Denovitz. He went on to appear in several low-budget British films such as Hey Mr DJ (2005), Moussakka and Chips (2005) as well as a Spanish film titled Oh Marbella (2003).

He also made brief returns to EastEnders in January 2002, a spin-off special episode titled "Perfectly Frank" in 2003 and made his final comeback to EastEnders in early December 2005, for another week stint. He later appeared on The Paul O'Grady Show and made it clear that he had no interest in any possible future re-appearances in the programme, and then in 2006 he rejected another offer to return to the series.

He was semi-retired from show business at this time, and lived in a villa in Spain. He returned to acting in early 2007 and appeared in two episodes of the long-running ITV police drama series The Bill where he played the part of corrupt businessman Brian Stevens. This was his last broadcast television appearance, though he had filmed a reality series for ITV entitled The Baron before his death; the network was undecided as to whether it would be aired[6] but the programme started airing on 24 April 2008 on ITV1. Reid was the eventual winner, facing off against Suzanne Shaw after the departure of the other contestant Malcolm McLaren. Reid was thus bestowed with the title of Baron of Troup, a genuine and hereditary barony, though one conveying no privilege aside from the use of the title itself. Mike had also completed filming as a gangster in the independent British film Jack Says 4 days before his death. The film was released on DVD on 22 September 2008. His character, "The Guv'nor", also features in the Graphic Novel prequel "Jack Said".

Stand Up Routines

Throughout his life, Mike Reid performed at many venues, but only a few were recorded for release on VHS and DVD. These titles are:

  • Mike Reid Live & Uncensored (Only available on VHS)
  • Mike Reid Live & Uncensored 2 (Only available on VHS)
  • Alive & Kidding (Only available on VHS)
  • Some Of That (Only available on VHS)
  • Live At The Queen Vic (Only available on VHS)
  • Seriously Funny (Available on VHS & DVD)
  • Live At The London Palladium (Available on VHS & DVD)
  • The Guvnor's Last Stand (Available on VHS & DVD)

He also appeared in a pantomime entitled Pussy In Boots, an obvious pun to Puss In Boots, which starred Barbara Windsor.


Mike Reid died in Marbella, Spain on 29 July 2007, aged 67[7] from a suspected heart attack. Two weeks before he died, he had received a full medical examination and had been given a clean bill of health.[8] The 30 July 2007 EastEnders episode featured a dedication to him following the end credits.

Mike's funeral was held on Tuesday 14 August 2007 at Little Easton Parish Church, Essex, and was attended by over 250 people including his former EastEnders co-stars Pam St Clement, Sid Owen, Michael Greco, Bobby Davro, June Brown, Barbara Windsor and other members of the EastEnders cast.[9]

He was cremated the following day at Chelmsford Crematorium, Essex.

Reid's family decided to allow fans to attend his funeral, and his widow Shirley also invited them to speak. Mike's former co-stars in EastEnders were all given the day off work to attend his funeral.[10]

In November 2007, just over three months after Reid's death, the BBC announced that his EastEnders character Frank Butcher would be killed off in April 2008. The week had been dubbed "Frank Week". In the EastEnders episode on 1 April 2008, Frank's funeral was held. Frank's children, Ricky, Diane and Janine also made a comeback.[11] In the episode in which Frank's funeral took place, Mike Reid appeared in previous scenes which had aired years earlier, in flashbacks in Pat Butcher's head. He was also heard saying "Take care of yourself, babe," to Pat at the very end of the episode. Ironically the flashback of the words Frank had spoke, were taken from the end of the last-ever scene Mike performed in, in EastEnders, which originally broadcast in December 2005.

On 31 March 2008 the High Court in Winchester said that Mike was worth £881,381 at the time of his death, however after creditors were paid this left nothing at all in his will to his family. Although his agent stated "I was completely unaware he had any debts," a friend stated that Shirley didn't seem to be "struggling financially."[12]

Selected filmography


External links


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