Popular Black Country comedian 'Aynuk' dies aged 84

Alan Smith, who personified the character for over 50 years, passed away earlier this week at the age of 84.

Smith, who performed the role as a comedy partner to 'Ayli', who was originally played by John Guest and then John Plant was inspired to get into entertainment aged 9, when his parents took him to see Laurel and Hardy at Dudley Hippodrome. The comedy duo played thousands of gigs across the region in their heyday and spearheaded a trend of Black Country humour.

Inspired by 1920’s folklore and stories of ‘Enoch’ and ‘Eli’, the duo started out at a local fundraiser for Cole Street Methodist Church, before going on to perform in working men’s clubs in the 1960s.

Alan and John Guest performed for 25 years, before John retired from the duo. Alan then found another ‘Ayli’, in the form of John Plant - and they went on to perform together for another 25 years until his death in 2006.

‘Aynuk and Ayli’ became local stars in their own right, especially through the Black Country Night Out events and went on to inspire the next generation of local comedians including Doreen Tipton, The Fizzogs and Jonny Cole.

Their popularity soared and by the 90s they were performing over 360 shows each year, including matinees and evening performances at weekends.

Alan’s son, Paul Smith, said he was "incredibly proud" of his Dad and spoke of his dad’s friendship with comedy legend Ken Dodd. The pair were penpal friends for many years and were finally able to meet up when Ken played a gig in Wolverhampton, shortly before his death.

Alan was also a TV extra in many shows including The Singing Detective, The New Statesman with Rik Mayall and was the resident under-taker in ITV soap opera, Crossroads

Alan also raised tens of thousands of pounds for many charities and causes throughout his life. His last gigs were at Brierley Hill Civic Hall in 2012, where he supported Chas Hodges and a final performance at the Red House Glass Cone in 2014.


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