Coco the Clown OBE

Olympia Events


As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of legendary Coco the Clown OBE, aka Nicolai Polakovs OBE, we remember this beloved local character who performed with the Bertram Mills Circus for 37 years. Each Christmas, Coco would perform in the Grand Hall in Olympia, which was his favourite venue, only a stone’s throw away from Olympia Railways station, where he lived with his wife for many years, in a caravan located on one of the platforms!

Born in Russia, the war drove Coco to begin clowning and a life on the road, and although through his career he entertained politicians and royalty, it’s his work for children – something close to his heart – that he’s most remembered for.

Here’s to Coco, and to his granddaughter Mina, who is working hard to keep his memory alive!  She did have a question for our readers: does anyone know how Coco and his wife were able to live on the Olympia Railways platform? Put your answers on a postcard, please.

Find out more about Coco’s life and craft in this interview with Joan Bakewell in 1966 for the BBC here.