Norman was born in Hull on Christmas Day 1925 into a working-class family becoming the eldest of eight children.
In 1948, while visiting Hull’s Perth Street West club, an act failed to turn up, and Collier volunteered to fill in, he proved to be a natural and sought further work in the northern workingmen club scene, becoming a full-time comic in 1962 with regular live venue performances throughout the decade.
It wasn’t until the 1970s however that he would become a household name via the medium of television. First off in 1970 when he became the victor in ITV talent show Ace of Clubs, in which club entertainers battled to be voted the funniest by a panel of judges, this lead to a successful appearance at the 1971 Royal Variety Command Performance and regular guest spots on entertainment, chat shows and children’s series Tiswas followed (pictured).
“He will be best known for pretending to be a chicken, I would think” says ATV Today’s telly expert Queenie, adding. “Its the first thing I think of when I hear the name Norman Collier, those clucking noises, wing gestures and high-knee leg movements like a chicken, using his outturned jacket to suggest the fowl’s wings.”
He is also well known for his performance as a northern club compere whose microphone is working intermittently, he was the originator of the ‘club chairman’ character later popularised by Colin Crompton in the Granada series Wheeltappers and Shunters Club. Here Norman himself talks about the microphone gag…
Norman Collier – 25th December 1925 – 14th March 2013