Egg-head among the hens!

Meet People and Places’ comic inventor

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From the TVTimes for week commencing 9 September 1962

SCHIZOPHRENIA — believing you are two different people — is not something to wish on anyone.

But 48-year-old Jack Woolgar quite enjoys his own particular form of split personality. And he gets paid for it.

Jack is a well-established Northern repertory actor. A sensible, sane chap, busy with theatre and television work and living comfortably and quietly with his family in Huddersfield.

But when he enters the Granada studios an alarming transformation takes place. He parts his hair in the middle, dons steel-rimmed spectacles and becomes Albert Sowerby, the crackpot chicken farmer and inventor who will be making more “scientific revelations” in Granada’s People and Places on Monday.

I asked Jack to introduce me to his other self — and it was Albert who answered.

He told me he lives on a lonely, windswept farm at Salaithewaite on the slopes of the Pennines, with his Chinese wife Lotus Blossom and several hundred hens.

“We have two cottages,” he assured me, solemnly. “My wife and I live in one and the hens in the other.”

Lotus Blossom is Albert’s second wife. “My first was blown over the cliffs in a high wind at Scarborough,” he said.

He and Lotus Blossom met when he was supplying chickens to the local Chinese restaurant. They fell in love over a chicken chow mein.

Now, on the moors, they enjoy an idyllic existence, supplying eggs to the Egg Marketing Board — and dreaming up fantastic inventions to keep up payments on the television set.

Albert has a problem, though. The world still hasn’t recognised his genius.

“But they will,” he told me confidently.

His “dream-machine” had half the West Riding agog.

“It was an armchair with a bucket seat and a steering wheel,” he explained.

“There was a tape-recorder playing recordings of car noises on one side, and a packet of sweets on the other.

“You could sit in it and dream you were going anywhere. And I like sweets. Very convenient.”

The world hasn’t yet seen the best of Albert, because he is working on a system of engendering poetic inspiration in the layman.

“You lie flat on your back, gazing at the fleecy clouds,” he said.

When this has been marketed, he will be tackling the problem of runners who jump the gun in sprint races at the Olympic Games.

“I’ve got it all worked out,” said Albert — “sprung traps like those in use at greyhound tracks.”

Mercifully, Jack Woolgar never lets Albert out of the studios.

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