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© Bob King/Corbis
“I think it is easy to get it wrong. I think musical comedy was, for years, derided as some kind of mongrel version of neither comedy nor music.
"It suffered a lot of very bad press for years and years. I remember I’d always get castigated for it, and I couldn’t understand this antipathy towards it. I think that the association was that it would be some bawdy song and the music was immaterial.
"[With] the early comedy and music acts - and comedy and music generally for years - the music was secondary; it was irrelevant really. You could take the music away and just read the funny lyrics. What I tried to do over the years was to make the music centre stage so that the music is an observational gag in itself.
"You pastiche the style of music in a way that people can recognise. It’s not just an anonymous sound that just happens to accompany some funny words; it is integral to the comedy itself.”