Frank left with a fishy tale to tell

Frank Carson - comedian
Frank Carson - comedian

IT was the way he told them that delighted fans of comic Frank Carson who has died aged 85 at his home in Blackpool, writes Bob Burgess.

And this week a former Selkirk pub owner recalled the night that the Belfast-born comic left the town chuckling with a couple of illegally-caught salmon in the boot of his car.

The two crackers had been howked from the water as a special treat for Carson after he performed to a packed Tower Tavern during the late 1980s.

Owner of the Tower – now Connections – in the Lower Back Row, Chris Flanders recalled the night the stage, radio and TV star came to town.

He told The Wee Paper: “It was a Sunday night and as well as a host of Selkirk folk, there were large contingents from Galashiels and Hawick.

“Frank had been performing in Ayr and was looking for another Scottish venue before heading back to Blackpool and we managed to book him.

“He went down a treat and after the show he stayed on and chatted with everyone, listening to their jokes and stories. It was like talking to an old friend.

“Somehow the conversation got round to salmon and a couple of my locals hatched a wee plot. They disappeared and returned an hour or so later and presented a surprised Frank with two wonderful, freshly-poached salmon. He was absolutely tickled pink and said he would never forget his visit to Selkirk.

“He stayed longer than he intended then loaded the fish into the boot of his car and he and his driver headed off grinning from ear to ear. He was a really great guy.”

Carson shot to fame in the 1960s after thrice winning the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks.

z As the statute of limitations for taking a poacher to court for an alleged offence in the 1980s has now expired, The Wee Paper can reveal that the initials of the salmon providers are JL and BP. Both have now retired from the profession.