Deryck Guyler was born on 29 April 1914 in Wallasey. His father, Samuel, was a jeweller and pawnbroker, his father William having founded the business. The family soon moved across the river and Guyler spent his early years in Liverpool. First living at 12 Prescot Drive L6 (now demolished)by the early 1920's they had moved to 113 Hartington Road L8. Living next door to them at number 111 was a young girl called Irené Eastwood, who would also find fame in the world of entertainment when she changed her name to Anne Ziegler and teamed up with Webster Booth. Just before the war they moved to a large house overlooking Sefton Park at 13 Aigburth Drive. The young Guyler attended Liverpool College.
Guyler had married during the war and in 1945 he and his wife Margaret were back at Hartington Road, this time at number 135. She had been in the entertainment business too, as Paddy, one of the Lennox Trio of dancers.
He had tried his hand at a number of occupations, including a year spent at theological college, but found his way into the Liverpool repertory company in 1935 and appeared in a variety of roles as well as spending time in a music-hall singing act. The war saw him enlisted into the RAF but after being invalided out he returned to performing, firstly with ENSA and then with the BBC drama and repertory company in Manchester. It was in the war years that he gained some national prominence as a cast member of the hugely popular radio comedy show It’s That Man Again (ITMA), starring fellow Liverpudlian Tommy Handley. In the show he played a character called Frisby Dyke, the name being taken from that of a shop in Liverpool’s Bold Street.
His later radio work included the classic Journey into Space series in the 1950’s and The Men from the Ministry, in which he starred with Richard Murdoch from 1966 to 1977. On television he was a regular in Sykes and Please, Sir. He appeared in a number of films, including both the Beatles' Hard Day's Night and Gerry Marsden's Ferry Cross the Mersey. His distinctive voice was heard on countless voice-overs for commercials and on documentaries. In 1955 he appeared in a short documentary entitled Main Street Mersey in which he takes his nephew Keith on a sightseeing tour of Liverpool. The film can be viewed on the British Film Institute website.
Guyler was ever a modest man, talking of his good fortune in managing to land so many ‘old codger’ parts. Off-screen he was a man of varied talents and interests. A jazz enthusiast, his expertise on the washboard featured on many TV shows including Morecambe and Wise and even resulted in his appearing of three tracks of a Shakin Stevens album. [See on YouTube] He owned a collection of model soldiers which numbered in excess of 10,000, making it one of the largest in the country.
He retired to Australia in 1983 and lived there until his death in 1999.
Young Deryck's next door neighbour at 111 was Anne Ziegler.
A substantial home located where Lark Lane meets Aigburth Drive.
Guyler and his wife Margaret lived here just after the war in 1946.
© Liverpool Footprints