18th April 1966

TV’s Jeeves is rushed to hospital on Guernsey

Dennis Price appeared in more than 170 films, but is best remembered for playing Jeeves in the BBC’s World of Wooster.

He had moved to Sark in March 1966 after filing for bankruptcy following a fall from grace, involving alcoholism, gambling and a failed marriage. Very self-aware, he blamed his bankruptcy on “extravagant living and most inadequate gambling”.

Price made the news one month after his move to Sark when he was rushed to Guernsey on the Flying Christine II ambulance boat. He was suffering from what his manager, Marcus Wootton, described as “Sark Tummy”.

He was kept in hospital overnight and said to be “quite comfortable” the following day following a full check-up.

A troubled life

Price had been born in Berkshire in 1915, and shortened his name from Dennistoun John Franklyn Rose-Price.

Although married, he was found to be gay when homosexuality was still illegal in Britain. Unrelated to this, he had almost died after inhaling gas at a guest house in 1954. He was found in time to be revived, and taken to hospital to recover.

Price was only 58 when he died in hospital, in Guernsey, on 6 October 1973, where he’d ended up after falling and breaking his hip at his home on Sark.

He is buried on Sark.

The World of Wooster

The World of Wooster ran to 20 episodes in three series. They were broadcast between May 1965 and 1967. All were recorded in black and white. Derek Nimmo appeared in five episodes as Bingo Little, and Simon Ward in two as Eustace. Bertie Wooster was played by Ian Carmichael. Almost all of the material has been lost due to the BBC’s policy of wiping old tapes so they could be re-used. One complete episode has been posted to YouTube.

The World of Wooster was followed by a spin-off series, also on the BBC, called The World of Wodehouse.

Although popular with viewers, the BFI’s Screenonline reveals that,

[PG] Wodehouse himself was apparently less than impressed with Ian Carmichael’s performance (in his mid-to-late forties, Carmichael was at least a decade too old to make a truly convincing Bertie), and although he was much more positive about Dennis Price’s suavely avuncular Jeeves, he remained firmly convinced that the characters’ rightful place was between the pages of a book.


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