Mike Yarwood, an English impressionist, comedian, and actor, held a prominent status among Britain’s most highly regarded entertainers, maintaining a frequent presence on television spanning from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Full name- Michael Edward Yarwood
Born-14 June 1941
Birthplace-Bredbury, United Kingdom
Death-8 September 2023
Profession-Comedian, Impressionist, Actor
Spouse-Sandra Burville (m. 1969–1985)
Michael Edward Yarwood entered the world on June 14, 1941, hailing from Bredbury in Cheshire. Unfortunately, there is no available information regarding his parents.
Wife and Children
Yarwood tied the knot with dancer Sandra Burville on November 8, 1969, and their marriage endured until 1985. they welcomed two daughters.
In October 1999, Yarwood sought treatment for depression at the Priory Clinic in Roehampton, London.Starting in 2007, Yarwood resided independently in Weybridge, Surrey.
Following his departure from secondary modern school, he initially took on the role of a messenger and subsequently worked as a salesman at a clothing warehouse. Although he had a childhood interest in playing football, he did not pursue it as a professional career. At a later stage, he assumed the position of director at the Stockport County football club.
London’s renowned venue, the Palladium, served as a significant platform for Yarwood’s television career during the 1960s and 1970s. Prior to his own BBC series, he began his television journey with ITV’s ATV and later transitioned to Thames Television after departing from the BBC. Yarwood’s initial breakthrough coincided with the rise of Harold Wilson, the Labour Party leader and Prime Minister, whom he skillfully impersonated, on the iconic Sunday Night at the London Palladium variety show in 1964.Yarwood’s heyday unfolded in the 1970s, marked by his inclusion in a constellation of stars managed by Bill Cotton, a luminary in BBC’s light entertainment realm. This constellation featured luminaries like Bruce Forsyth, Dick Emery, Morecambe and Wise, Val Doonican, and the Two Ronnies, all of whom launched their careers on ITV in the previous decade. By the late 1970s, some of these luminaries had departed from the BBC, returning to independent television.
During its zenith, Yarwood’s BBC television programs consistently attracted an audience of 18 million viewers. These shows encompassed a diverse assortment of comic sketches, musical guests, and Yarwood’s signature closing performance, introduced with the phrase “and this is me,” which later became the title of his inaugural autobiography.
In 1977, the Mike Yarwood Christmas Show on BBC 1 garnered a staggering 21.4 million viewers, making it the highest-rated British television program of that year. To this day, it remains one of the most-watched television programs, excluding news and sports, in British broadcasting history.
Both Yarwood and Morecambe and Wise eventually inked deals with Thames TV. In 1978, Morecambe and Wise made the transition to Thames, while Yarwood followed suit in 1982, experiencing mixed outcomes. Morecambe and Wise enjoyed continued success with commendable ratings, whereas Forsyth, who joined LWT, initially faced adversity with the cancellation of his Big Night series. However, unlike Yarwood, Forsyth managed to bounce back, ultimately achieving triumph with Play Your Cards Right.
Yarwood’s life was celebrated in a special episode of “This Is Your Life,” hosted by Eamonn Andrews, on May 31, 1978. Additionally, a documentary titled “Mike Yarwood: This is His Life” was produced six years later, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his world. This documentary featured contributions from notable figures such as Bruce Forsyth, David Frost, and Harold Wilson, along with appearances by Andrews.
His television career at Thames TV came to an end in 1987, prompting Yarwood to shift his focus towards stage performances. Although he made an appearance on the satirical show “Have I Got News for You” in November 1995, subsequent efforts to revive his television presence proved unsuccessful.
In the mid-1990s, Yarwood had the opportunity to return to the stage, portraying Prime Minister John Major. However, he faced challenges in re-establishing himself, particularly as Major and Tony Blair were perceived as “nice guys.”
In 2003, Yarwood made a rare public appearance at London’s Albany comedy club, at the invitation of Bob Monkhouse. This event was recorded for a proposed TV documentary and eventually aired in December 2016 as a one-off special on BBC Four.
In 2021, Yarwood’s Christmas shows were licensed by That’s TV from Fremantle/Thames. These shows became part of the network’s festive programming, joining other classic programs like “The Kenny Everett Video Show,” “The Benny Hill Show,” and “Beadle’s About,” which had not been broadcast in their entirety on British television channels for over two decades.
- Three of a Kind (BBC) (1967)
- Will the Real Mike Yarwood Stand Up? (ATV) (1968–1969)
- Look: Mike Yarwood (BBC) (1971–1976)
- Mike Yarwood in Persons (BBC) (1976–1981)
- The Mike Yarwood Show (Thames) (1982–1987)
- Yarwood’s in Town (Thames) (1982) Live on-stage show
- And This is Me (1974)
- Mike Yarwood’s Confession Album (1978)
- Impressions of My Life (1986)
Net Worth 2023
The estimated net worth or net income of Mike Yarwood falls within the range of $1 million to $5 million dollars.
Cause of Death
Comedic talent Mike Yarwood, renowned for his television impressions that catapulted him to widespread recognition, has passed away at the age of 82.
During the 1970s, Yarwood established himself as one of the era’s prominent television personalities through his successful BBC programs.
He gained particular acclaim for his spot-on imitations of former British Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and Ted Heath, as well as the then Prince Charles.
BBC’s Director General, Tim Davie, paid tribute to Yarwood, labeling him as “undoubtedly one of the finest” and “one of the most beloved entertainers in the UK.”
“From his portrayals of Harold Wilson to Frank Spencer, his iconic impressions were consistently precise, heartwarming, and humorous. We will cherish each of them with a smile,” Davie remarked.
The Royal Variety Charity, which confirmed his passing, noted that his departure leaves an irreplaceable void within the entertainment industry.
“His exceptional knack for impersonation brought joy to the millions and his unique talent for capturing the essence of his subjects elevated him to an icon in the realm of comedy,” the charity concluded.