The Little Waster: 30 Years On

Legendary North East comic Bobby Thompson died 30 years ago but he is still remembered fondly by people in the area.

Thompson, whose stage name was ‘The Little Waster’, told jokes about the issues of the day such as debt and tales about the wife. It’s because of the relatability of his jokes that made him so popular with his audiences.

“My favourite memories are of seeing the adulation in which he was held by almost everyone,” says his son, Keith Thompson.

“Even in his darkest times the newspapers reporting on his latest court appearance would portray him in a roguish light!”

Bobby’s fame did leave its mark on him. After his television show failed he started doing shows in Doncaster and Sheffield, however he was eventually hit with a tax bill and was taken to court to pay it.

“Now I think you should pay your tax like you pay the club money. If the door’s locked he’s missed,” Bobby used to joke.

When he died in 1988 there were thousands turning up to mourn him. There was a worry that his legacy may be forgotten, however through shows such as Pete Peverley’s one man show, The Bobby Thompson Story, audiences can still remember Bobby with a sense of nostalgia.

Keith said, “The legacy lives on but is diminishing. New generations don’t know what an ‘outside netty’ is and have an affluence not seen when Dad was a teenager.”

Dave Harris of Washington was lucky enough to see Bobby live when he was 18 years old. He was fond memories of the comic, “He’s a bit of a working-class hero in a way,” he said.

“He just struck that note that he was one of you and he could say things and get away with things that no one else could.”

The Little Waster has certainly left his mark on the North East and hopefully will continue to influence our culture for another 30 years.

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