12:51PM, Friday 09 November 2018
A plaque celebrating an iconic children’s television character inspired by a Cookham waiter has gone up in a pub in the village.
Thunderbirds character Parker, the butler and chauffeur to Lady Penelope, was based on a wine waiter named Arthur who used to work at the Kings Arms in High Street.
Gerry Anderson, the Thunderbirds creator, often went to the pub and was so intrigued by Arthur’s gruff voice and mannerisms that he created Parker in his image. David Graham, the original voice actor who played Parker in the Sixties programme, was on hand to unveil the plaque on Monday, along with Gerry Anderson’s son Jamie.
Jamie said: “Dad told that story many times, he never sat me down and told me but I just heard him do the impression so many times - he was never as good as David.
“I think Parker is probably the most memorable character, he’s the biggest character in a lot of ways.
“He’s the most interesting and he was dad’s favourite.
“It was a really nice reunion with David there and John Brown, one of the original puppeteers, showed up out of the blue.”
The Kings Arms general manager Chris Gowers treated the guests to a five-course meal at the unveiling when Jamie was just expecting to have a few sandwiches and then go home.
David Graham, who was taken to the Kings Arms by Gerry Anderson in the Sixties to study Arthur, also enjoyed the occasion.
The 94-year-old is still working, providing the voice for Parker in the Thunderbirds animated programme on ITV.
Jamie said: “David always says that Parker was his golden ticket, it’s kept him going. He’s still going, he’s brilliant. Parker still holds a special place in his heart, he found it quite touching.”
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