Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Aimed at the ten- to 15-year-old demographic, this six-episode British series offered an entertaining if not entirely accurate overview of celebrated comedian Charlie Chaplin's formative years. Though fairly explicit in detailing the alcoholism of Chaplin's music hall headliner father Charles Chaplin Sr. (Ian McShane) and the mental illness of Charlie's mother Hannah (Twiggy), the series had a predilection for broad, unsubtle comedy, suggesting that the Chaplin family's various tiltings with landlords, policemen, and orphanage officials were actually "dress rehearsals" for Charlie's famous two-reel comedy films (one sequence with David Kossoff was a virtual carbon copy of Chaplin's 1916 short The Pawnshop). Also, the chronology of events was sometimes fuzzy or misleading, especially concerning such famous Chaplin associates as vaudeville entrepreneur Fred Karno and fellow comic Stan Laurel. Otherwise, Joe Geary was excellent in the title role, as was Lee Whitlock as Charlie's protective half-brother Sydney. Originally telecast in England beginning on January 25, 1989, Young Charlie Chaplin was subsequently seen in America as part of the PBS Wonderworks anthology.
actor, Britain, comedian, silent-film