I was mildly surprised at the extent of the obituary coverage accorded to the Northern Irish comedian Frank Carson following his death on February 22, aged 85. Most would have regarded him, surely, as something of a forgotten figure, harking back to a time in British cultural life — when he starred on ITV’s The Comedians with Bernard Manning, Jim Bowen and Charlie Williams — that now seems like a bad dream.

According to the Daily Telegraph, he considered himself The Queen’s favourite comic and claimed to have met her more than 100 times. Somehow it is hard to imagine him delighting the monarch with his banter: “It’s the way I tell ’em, Your Majesty”; “It’s a cracker, ma’am.” Pope John-Paul was someone else he met when he received a Knighthood of the Order of St Gregory recognising his extensive work for charity. Asked by the pontiff if he had met Elvis Presley, he replied that he had not — but expected to very soon.

I was someone else he met, in circumstances that have led me to illustrate this short piece with a picture of Carson on Celebrity Ready Steady Cook!.

We were together, in August 2000, at a Sunday evening launch party for Jim Thompson’s Bar and Flaming Wok, a short-lived business that replaced The King’s Arms pub, in Banbury Road (now The Dancing Dragon). Naturally, I didn’t recognise him. When Rosemarie and I were repeatedly approached at the bar by a friendly Irishman, I continually batted him off in the mistaken belief that he was a tedious wino I had come across years before in The Half Moon, in St Clements.

Only when he took to the microphone to make a speech of welcome did I discover that he was a famous comedian — and the father of the restaurant chain’s managing director.