THE PATRICIAN tones and Oxbridge origins of Stephen Fry do not suggest a Hackney background, yet the actor-writer-comic and Twitteriste lived in Dalston for several years.
With the similarly talented Hugh Laurie, Fry bought a four-floor Victorian Gothic-style terrace house, above, in St Mark’s Rise E8 2PD in the 1980s.
The job of doing up the house went to fellow theatricals Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse, who were living on the Morningside Estate a few kilometres away in Homerton, and supplementing their embryonic careers by working as decorators.
Several of their friends were also living in Hackney. Harry Enfield was doing stand-up comedy gigs in between his main job of milkman and Whitehouse was encountering lots of source material in a post at Hackney town hall.
The area was fertile ground for comedy writers. Enfield, Higson and Whitehouse based Loadsamoney, a brash cash-flashing decorator, on some of the characters they met in a Homerton pub. Another creation, Stavros, was inspired by a Greek-Cypriot in Well Street, Hackney, who served them scrumptious kebabs.
As their careers blossomed, Higson and Whitehouse found themselves doing less decorating and earning more money from their desired careers. They decided to buy a house.
Fry and Laurie’s terrace home was for sale. Higson and Whitehouse knew it was in good condition because they had decorated it so, with another man, they had no hesitation in giving their fellow comics £250,000 for it.
The third person bought the comedians out and the house is now worth more than £1 million.
Higson says: “I really think there should be a blue plaque on the wall.” Fry, who was once a blue plaques panellist, described plaques as “a unique imaginative portal into the past”.
Hackney council declined to comment.
Hamish Scott 100614
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