Freddie Frinton Project


NE Lincolnshire arts organisation Our big picture has secured National Lottery heritage funding for the Freddie Frinton Project.

The project will recognise the life and work of Grimsby, UK born theatre and TV star Freddie Frinton, one of Europe’s most celebrated comedians. The Project includes the production of a TV documentary, an exhibition at the Fishing Heritage Centre, Grimsby and an end-of-the-pier show and premier at Papa’s Fish & Chips at Cleethorpes Pier, on Friday 8th November 2019.

Who is Freddie Frinton?

Frederick Bittiner Coo was born on 17 January 1909 to humble beginnings in Granville Street Grimsby and raised by his aunt in nearby Hainton Avenue. He left school at 14 and started work filleting fish on Grimsby Docks. Following dismissal from his job for entertaining his work mates, Freddie started his career in show business in the 1920’s by joining Jimmy Slater’s Follies, a seaside performance troupe based next to Cleethorpes Pier, where he received great reviews as a comedy act.

Freddie’s talent led him to star in panto’s across the country and his career blossomed in Blackpool, where ‘Dinner for One’ was first performed – and later filmed by the German National Broadcaster, NDR. His popularity grew so that he became a headlining act at the London Palladium, and working with stars such as Jimmy Tarbuck, Morecambe & Wise, Nickolas Parsons and Harry Secombe.

However, the rise of television in the mid to late 1950’s heralded a difficult time for performers like Freddie. As the old-style Music Hall variety theatre acts became unpopular, they had to reinvent themselves. Freddie transformed into a household name across the UK, starring in top TV series ‘Meet the Wife’ with Thora Hird, and helping to create slapstick Brit-comedy in films with Sid James and Adam Faith.

Freddie’s story encapsulates how entertainment changed from the pre-war seaside ‘end-of-the-pier’ years, through the war and into the TV era. His story is one of how the country’s entertainment tastes changed and how the popularity of owning a television set in your own home turned ‘jobbing actors’ into household names.

Since 1972 he has been a recognised household name in Germany, with over 12 million viewers settling down at New Year 2018 to watch the now cult classic TV sketch ‘Dinner for One’

What is this project about?

  1. Making a Documentary: Working closely with the Frinton family the documentary that will focus on his life and legacy, and show how the humble seaside variety shows were the platform for the television stars of the future. TV Producer Lia Nici is working with Our Big Picture throughout this project.

2. Exhibition at Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre
2nd November 2019 to 15th March 2020 Covers Freddies Frinton’s life and career and the popularity of the inter-war seaside entertainment scene that propelled so many careers in the entertainment business.

3. Freddie Frinton celebration ‘Dinner for 100’ Friday 8th November 2019 6.30pm to 9.30pm A Fish & Chip supper at Papas Fish and Chips Cleethorpes Pier and a music hall ‘Good Old Days’ show performed by British Music Hall Society, with support acts from our local performers. Tickets are £25 per person and includes a two-course supper and all entertainment. Tickets can be obtained from Papa’s Fish & Chip Restaurant Cleethorpes Pier and Eventbrite (plus booking fee).

How can people get involved?

 Do you have a story of Freddie?

• Interesting in volunteering to do historical research?

• Are you a performer interested in theatre, performance, musical theatre and dance, theatre costume and make up and would like to learn music hall and variety act skills from professionals?

• This project has both national and international interest. Any business that would like to know more about our sponsorship and partnership opportunities, please contact

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Want to get involved

Paula Denton MD OBP 07793114180
Lia Nici – Freddie Frinton TV Producer T: 07779 036 339