'Your search is ended!' announced Thomas Criddle over the telephone a few days before this booklet went to press.
He was born in Edmonton, London on 9th March 1928 and, at the age of fourteen-anda-half, Thomas took first prize in a talent competition at the Granada Empire Cinema, Edmonton, singing Because. The organist, Andrew Fenner happened to be playing and, two weeks later, the manager of Granada, Sydney Bernstein came to see Criddle's father with a view to the boy touring the cinemas.
Thomas was soon on the BBC; his first broadcast was with Albert Sandler at the Palm Court Hotel studio in Lower Regent Street. He was later filmed by Pathe and signed up by H.M.V. Over the next three years he recorded at the Abbey Road Studios, with Andrew Fenner as his accompanist. `I didn't need singing lessons by then,' he told me. `We made many records but due to the war-time shortage of shellac only the more popular ones were released.' Thamas's last record I give thanks to you /I shall be there was recorded in January 1944 when he was almost sixteen. By that time his voice had taken on a richer quality. On wings of song was his second record, made when he was fourteen-and-a-half.
'At the age of 18 I joined the army, and I was still giving concerts. In fact, although my speaking voice had long since broken, my singing-voice did not break until I was 22. I sang soprano at the training barracks. Sometimes the sergeant would shout: 'Criddle! Go home and fetch your records'. I think my voice was eventually finished off by a combination of gin and cigarettes'
Thomas Criddle became a well-known actor, touring with such famous artistes as Katherine Hepburn and Sir Donald Wolfit. He now lives in Scotland.
Copyright © 2003 Stephen R. Beet
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