This website is owned and maintained by Mark Warby

Old Bill on Stage Home Page

"Half Past Eight"

Comedy Theatre, June 1916

Scene Four (by Walter Hackett) featuring Bert & 'Erb - acknowledged "Fragments from France" as it's inspiration


“Flying Colours”

London Hippodrome, September 1916

Included “Bairnsfatherland” (Scene 6) by Bruce Bairnsfather and Basil Macdonald Hastings


"The Johnson 'Ole"

London Palladium, March 1917

Featuring Harry Thurston as Old Bill


“See Saw”

Comedy Theatre, March 1917

Included Scene – “Where did that one go to?” with John Humphries as Old Bill



Vaudeville Theatre, London 1917

Included “Where did that one go to?”

(Lee White and Beatrice Lillie threw Old Bill dolls to the audience during this show)


“The Better ‘Ole”

Oxford Theatre, London 4th August 1917-23rd November 1918


"Bubbly" (2nd Edition)

Comedy Theatre, December 1917

Included Scene - "Worst ‘Ole of All" featuring Arthur Playfair as Old Bill


“Any Old Thing”

London Pavillion. Opened 8th December 1918

Scene 10 – “Ullo” written by Bruce Bairnsfather and Arthur Eliot


“Laughing Eyes”

Shaftesbury Theatre, London. Opened 1919

Included “Souvenirs” sketch written by Bruce Bairnsfather and Arthur Eliot


“Old Bill M.P.”

Provincial tour (opened 17th April 1922, Hippodrome Golders Green), April-July 1922

Lyceum Theatre, London July-November 1922

Provincial tour (two companies) Jan-July 1923



Revue by Bruce Bairnsfather

Opened 13th Oct 1924 Hippodrome, Birkenhead.

Provincial Tour Oct 1924-Sept 1925


“Carry On Sergeant”

Revue by Bruce Bairnsfather

New Oxford Theatre, London 28th Oct 1925-28th Nov 1925

During his career Bruce Bairnsfather wrote numerous sketches and full length plays (several in collaboration with other authors), which were produced with considerable success, a number of them reaching audiences worldwide. His cartoons were also the inspiration for several sketches which featured in London revues during the First World War.

Click on any of the links opposite for more information on any of the theatrical productions with which BB was associated.



More than 30 actors played Old Bill on stage and screen, from John Humphries in the 1916 revue Flying Colours to Morland Graham in the 1940 film Old Bill & Son.


Click on the link below for images and biographical information on some of the actors who brought Old Bill to life.


If you knows of a better role -

A gallery of Actors who  played

Old Bill,1916-1940




& Old Bill


Fragments from France

Bystander Merchandise

BB Books

Grimwades Bairnsfather Ware

Old Bill on Stage

Old Bill on the Screen

Old Bill Newsletter

News and Events

BB in WW2

Carry On



the Wars