Jack Douglas was born in Newcastle in 1927. Born to a family whose roots in theatre could be traced back four generations, it seemed inevitable that he, too, should one day tread the boards. Indeed, during the war years, he abandoned school and went to help his father, a theatrical impresario in the north of England, as a general helper.
It is said that for Douglas' fifteenth birthday, he was given a pantomime script by his father, and told to travel to Sunderland and produce the show himself; a baptism of fire for one so young. The project was mildly successful, and put Douglas firmly into the role of producer. It wasn't until one of his actors was taken ill before a performance that he donned a costume and appeared on stage, himself. The experience gave him a taste of comedy and whetted his appetite for more
Douglas earned something of a reputation as a stooge, alongside such luminaries as Bruce Forsyth and Benny Hill. He was appearing with comedian Joe Baker when one night Baker was accidentally locked out of the theatre. Forced to go onstage alone, Douglas stood there, fidgeting with his cap, looking extremely nervous before an increasingly bemused audience. Thus was born the character Douglas was to bring to the Carry On series.
As well as being an accomplished comedian, Douglas has wide range of offstage activities. As well as being a passionate fan of jazz music, he is known to be an excellent cook, and has published a number of books under the name Alf Ippititimus (the character he created as his on-screen persona).