Episode 42

Soho Bites 42: A Fallen Idol?

Not a normal episode.

We're not actually talking about a Soho film in this episode. It's a long story... We do, however, talk to a genuine film star from the golden era.

As an eight year old boy, Bobby Henrey was rocketed into the public eye when he starred in Carol Reed & Graham Greene's 1948 thriller, "The Fallen Idol". He joins us on Soho Bites (on his 84th birthday!) to tell us about that experience.

Bobby is now known as Robert and there is a double reason for having him on the show. His mother, Madeleine Henrey, was a French author, based in London, who wrote several memoirs - social histories - about Soho and the west end. These included "A Village in Piccadilly" from 1942 and "Spring in a Soho Street" from 1962. Her books were often published under her married name, "Mrs Robert Henrey" which seems quite an odd decision to make, but Robert explains the reasoning behind this and talks about how this literary career began.

Robert spent his early childhood living in Mayfair, specifically in Shepherd Market during the blitz. This period is documented in Mrs Robert Henrey's memoir, A Village in Piccadilly.

In the final part of the show we preview our upcoming three part special seasn about Soho's very own fallen idol, the 1930s mega star, Jessie Matthews.

An article about Robert.

You can buy Robert's book, Through Grown Up Eyes, at Foyles.

Some of the people who have helped me research this episode include Professor Debra Kelly of Westminster University, Celia Cotton of the Brentford High St Project, who put me in touch with Anne Wallace who is a distant relative of the Henreys and Roger Greaves, whose book, Reading Madeleine, is currently in production.

Madeleine Henrey's Wikipedia entry and her obituary.

Images of Shepherd Market from then & now.

Our favourite tired old queen reviews The Fallen Idol.

During the pandemic, we made an episode of Mural Morsels about Jessie Matthews.

Custom artwork for this episode was created by Andy Oliver.

Thank you for listening.

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Loved the last episode about Bobby Henry and the Fallen Idol. Have a tenner.
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Worked in Soho many moons ago and was always fascinated by its past. Really enjoy this show and didn't realize so many films were set there!
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