When Charlie Chaplin was born in London on the 16th of April 1889, no one could have predicted what his future would be. Charlie's meteoric rise to fame in the pioneering days of the film industry is truly one of the most dramatic rags to riches stories ever told, and the enduring charm of his instantly recognizable "Little Tramp," continues to thrill film enthusiasts the whole world over to this very day. Chaplin's life was full of contrasts, from his poverty-stricken childhood in the London slums, right through to his millionaire status as one of the first great celebrities of Hollywood. The treasured black and white silent movies that made Charlie his fortune give a fascinating insight into the character of this great comedian, but to really understand the nature of his genius you need to step back in time. This program will transport you back to Chaplin's London at the turn of the 20th century and you can see for yourself the influences that were to shape his later work on the silver screen. Trace his footsteps to the workhouse and the lunatic asylum where his beloved mother struggled to overcome poverty and illness, and see the school where Charlie first faced the injustice of authority. Follow the story further with Charlie's departure for America, as his phenomenal success is charted in precise detail with extracts from his movies providing a stunning backdrop. Every aspect of Chaplin's life and work, triumphs and disasters, are all explored in order to bring you the real man behind the "Little Tramp's" mask.
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