'Gorden' Kaye did not actually attend King James's Grammar School, but
'Gordon' Kaye most certainly did: the involuntary change of name
occurred as a result of a typing error when he joined the actors'
union Equity many years ago. Gorden himself claims that it
was 'a sign of his misspelt youth'.
Although his schooldays acting was limited to a brief and somewhat
inglorious appearance as Lord Scroop, Earl of Masham in the 1956
production of Henry V, he became an amateur actor with Bradford
Amateur Theatre group before joining Bolton Rep at the newly formed
Bolton Octagon as a professional earning £18 a week. A year later he
was spotted by Patricia Phoenix ('Elsie Tanner' in Coronation
Street) which led to appearances as Elsie Tanner's nephew,
accompanied by a welcome tenfold increase in his weekly
This led to an invitation to play the part of cafe owner René
Artois in a projected new BBC comedy series set in Nazi-occupied
France during the war. It became so popular that some 90 episodes
were eventually recorded and are still repeated regularly today. The
show also led to a massively successful London and internationally
touring stage show. This, and other stage appearances all over the
country, result in Gorden remaining a very busy actor today.