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Legends of Variety Tour

Anita Harris FRSA

Anita has portrayed many leading roles in plays including ‘My Cousin Rachel’, ‘Bellbook and Candle’, ‘Stepping Out’, ‘Double Double’ with Simon Ward, ‘Come on Jeeves’ with Victor Spinetti, Agatha Christie’s ‘Verdict’ and ‘Unexpected Guest’ with George Sewell, Francis Durbridge’s ‘Suddenly at Home’, Miss Hannigan in ‘Annie’ with Mark Wynter, ‘Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting on a Green Park Bench’, ‘Fatal Encounter’ and previously for Bill Kenwright, Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret, Elizabeth in Ruth Rendell’s ‘The House of  Stairs’, Also seven Royal Command Performances requested by the Royal Household. She starred frequently at the London Palladium. The Cannes Palm Beach Casino bestowed on her the soubriquet ‘The Flaming Comet’. 

Films and Television include; Classic comedies’ Carry on Doctor’ and ‘Carry on Follow that Camel’ with Phil Silvers. She played Beatrice Lillie in ‘Remember Jack Buchanan’, which won the Golden Palm at the New York Film Festival.  Anita’s BBC2 TV Special ‘The Television Machine’ was the hit of the Montreux Festival. Many Television Specials with the likes of French and Saunders, Morecambe and Wise, Harry Secombe, Tom Jones and seven years of ‘The Magic Box’ with David Nixon.
Most recently Anita was seen in ITV’s Last Laugh in Vegas, BBC1’s Eastenders, ITV’s Midsomer Murders, BBC’s Celebrity Masterchef, BBC2’s Antiques Road Trip and Channel 5’s Five go Barging
along with tribute shows to Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Bobby Ball, Jimmy Tarbuck, Cliff Richard, Hattie Jaques and Les Dawson

Anita’s record-breaking hit ‘Just Loving You’ earned a double gold disc for two million sales. Her many albums are available on iTunes and Amazon; ‘The Essential Anita Harris’, ‘Give a Little Love at Christmas’ and the CD of ‘Anita in Jumbleland’ on Strike Force Records and (as heard on the Jools Holland show). Anita continues with her concerts and live performances and recently sold out at the London Venue ‘The Crazy Coqs’.

 

Bobby Crush

Few entertainers can claim to have had as varied a career as Bobby Crush... famous in the U.K. for 50 years primarily as a pianist but also as a songwriter, actor, broadcaster and television presenter. Bobby became known nationwide after six winning appearances on TV's "Opportunity Knocks!", receiving along the way the Variety Club of Great Britain's Award for "Best New Artist of 1972". This was presented to him by the late Lord Mountbatten of Burma and heralded the first of many appearances before members of the Royal Family.

West End successes include three seasons at the London Palladium alongside Jack Jones, Vic Damone and Dame Julie Andrews. As a regular performer at that theatre, Bobby's name was inscribed on the "Roll of Honour" at the Palladium stage door. He also spent a year with Max Bygraves in "SwingalongaMax" at the Victoria Palace and was chosen to appear for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother at "The Royal Variety Performance".

Bobby's work abroad has also been extensive: a tour of Canada with Sir Harry Secombe and concerts in Australia and New Zealand, where he also co-hosted "The Countrywide Music Awards Show" and received a gold disc for sales of his "Piano Party" album. He is also a regular guest on the Queen Mary 2, P&O, Crystal and Royal Caribbean cruise ships, where his cabaret shows invariably receive standing ovations.

Recording successes include his debut album "Bobby Crush", which reached the UK top 20: chart singles "Borsalino" and "The Sting" and the TV advertised "Double Decker Party Album", which sold over 100,000 copies and brought Bobby two more gold discs. In all, he has made 13 albums (not including compilations). As well as his piano albums, Bobby can be heard vocally on two show recordings. He plays the role of "Pharaoh" on Pickwick's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and sings three songs on Carlton's "Songs from the musical Hair".

TV credits include two series of "Sounds Like Music" as the show's host,  "Pointless Celebrities", "Celebrity Eggheads", "This Morning", "When Saturday Night TV Goes Horribly Wrong", "Celebrity Squares", "Wetty Hainthrop Investigates" with Victoria Wood and Julie Walters for "Comic Relief", "Through The Keyhole", "Cash in the Celebrity Attic", "The Antiques Roadshow", "Live from Her Majesty's", "Give Us A Clue", "Noel's House Party", "The Unforgettable Hughie Green", "Victoria Wood, as seen on TV",  "Jim Davidson's Generation Game", "The Talent Show Story" and countless guest appearances. He has also been a guest judge on Sky TV's talent show "Star Search" and Carlton's "Pot of Gold" with Des O'Connor. Recently, Bobby has been playing "Billy Sparkle" in the popular TV comedy "Benidorm". Bobby was also seen recently in a major new series for ITV called "Last Laugh in Vegas", which documented Bobby's American debut alongside 7 other legendary British acts.

Bobby has starred in many pantomimes, starting out as a teenager in "juvenile lead" roles but in recent years, he has become one of the country's most in-demand "Dames", a role he has played every year since 2000. In January 2021, Bobby was inducted into "The Panto Archive Hall of Fame" in recognition of his 37 panto appearances from 1973 to present day.

Bernie Clifton
 

Bernie started out as a Boy Singer in his home town of St Helens. He then joined the RAF and was posted to Yorkshire as a Radar Mechanic at RAF Lindholme the Bomber Command Bombing School. At weekends he borrowed the Sergeants Bike, peddled into Doncaster and became a 'Turn' in the local Clubs and Pubs.

He turned to Comedy, eventually catching the eye of Barney Colehan the BBC 'Good Old Days' Producer, resulting in his first TV Show on the famous Leeds City Varieties Stage, (exactly 50 years ago). Topping the Bill that night was Les Dawson who became a close friend and Mentor encouraging him to become a 'Prop' Comic.

Bernie's career spans more than 60 years, the highlights including a life changing Royal Variety Show and the presence of her Majesty and more recently as part of the ITV Series, when he earned a standing ovation onstage in Las Vegas. Along with this tour Bernie has just completed his hilarious autobiography starting with his childhood in St. Helens leading to the present day, dealing with the vagaries of being an Octogenarian

Following his appearance on 'The Voice' he has released an LP, 'The Impossible Dream' featuring many of his favourite ballads. He is loving being part of the 'Legends' Show especially as he is performing with the 'Turns' he grew up with. Bernie has no plans to retire and aims to 'keep going till the twig breaks'.

Freddie Davies

Freddie's amazing career has taken him from the tough working men's clubs of the North East of England for thirty shillings a night (£1.50) to the Royal Shakespeare Company. Seasons at the famous London Palladium with Cliff Richard, television shows with the legendary Judy Garland, touring the world with his stand up comedy act and counting among his many fans the late film idol Cary Grant. In a career spanning over 60 years in show business he has seen the demise of the music halls, variety nearly dying along with the night club circuit during the sixties and seventies. 

Born in Brixton, Freddie was an evacuee in 1940 and after several stops along the way and a family tragedy his family settled in Salford, Lancashire in 1941, where he stayed until his National Service call up in 1956 resulted in him being ensconced into the Royal Army Pay Corps for two years. On demob in 1958, Freddie applied for and became a famous Butlin Redcoat alongside budding comedians Dave Allen. Jimmy Tarbuck and Mike Newman. He stayed with Butlins honing his craft until 1963 after which he developed the character which was to become a national favourite ‘Mr. Parrotface' With just one appearance on Opportunity Knocks on August 1st 1964 Freddie was an overnight success, the rest being show business history as Freddie went on to become one of the UKs best loved comedy characters appearing in over 500 Television and Radio shows with his unique stand up routine. His act is still acknowledged today after more than 60 years as a professional comedian. 

His grandfather, music hall and variety comedian Jack Herbert, toured the country playing in revue and variety until the late fifties and much of Freddie's knowledge and experience was gained by studying many of the great performers of the day from the privileged position of the stage wings. This wonderful grounding and knowledge of the business was invaluable in the development of his future performances. Years later his memory and first hand experience was very useful in forming the basic story line idea and original premise for the critically acclaimed Disney film Funnybones, in which Freddie co-starred with Jerry Lewis, Leslie Caron, Oliver Reed and newcomer, Lee Evans. 

An acting career always seemed inevitable but it was not until 1992, after spell in the U.S.A that Freddie was taken seriously as an actor. He has appeared in many television drama series including Casualty, Heartbeat, Preston Front, Hetty Wainthrop investigates, Band of Gold, Medics, Micky Love, Last of the Summer Wine and two series of Harbour Lights. His recent appearances have been as a special guest on My Family the series Born and Bred Sensitive Skin, Hapless on Netflix, The Thief his wife and the Canoe.

On Stage Freddie has starred in several successful nation-wide theatre tours more recently in the stunning RSC production of The Secret Garden at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon followed by a run in London's West-End at the Aldwych Theatre. 

Freddie's appearance as a talking portrait in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban film brought fan letters from a new world wide audience. Freddie now lives in North Yorkshire with his actress wife Lisa David and Dottie a spoilt King Charles spaniel. Recently Freddie has become the face of McDonalds in France with a T/V commercial called ‘Grand Papa’ Freddie’s acclaimed Biography ‘Funny bones,  My life in Comedy’ is still selling well throughout the world.

Tommy Cannon

Heʼs a  national treasure who became 'household name's one half of Cannon and Ball. Tommy Cannon played the straight man to the late Bobby Ball. The double act dominating prime-time TV for more than a decade.

Tommy Cannon born Thomas Derbyshire on 27th June 1938 in the small town of Oldham, now lives in North Yorkshire with his devoted wife Hazel and has 5 children.
Tommys hobbies include Golf, staying fit, reading, gardening and spending time with his extended family!

Tommy's first appearance with Bobby in 1979, on the Wheeltappers and Shunters club, and nearly 50 years later, he is still going strong!

The Cannon and Ball Show ran from 1979 to 1998 becoming one of Great Britains best loved and most popular double acts until Bobby's demise from Covid related problems. He died on 20th of October 2020 in Blackpool.

Tommy has appeared in Masterchef, I'm a celebrity get me out of here, Heartbeat, Emmerdale and many tha'tre and cabaret shows in between!As an Actor, Singer, Straight man and Comedian, Tommy has lived an extr'ordinary life – most recently being lauded by rock star Robbie Williams, at his sell-out concert in Manchester before 20,000 adoring fans.

The Grumbleweeds

With over 100 years of combined experience (yes, really!) it should come as no surprise that THE GRUMBLEWEEDS have done it all.  From Cruising to Television, from Radio to Cabaret, Pantomime, Corporate and Circus, they have left no stone unturned.

James Brandon joined Grumbleweeds originator, Robin Colvill and have worked together for over 20 years, writing, directing and performing their own remarkable brand of zany comedy, both nationally and internationally.  They have also written for and directed many of the UK's household comedy names.
They are equally at home with physical comedy, wordplay and patter comedy, as well as being masters of the hundreds of classic comic sketches that are known to comedy lovers everywhere.

They are also the authors and originators of so many of the much-imitated routines that are seen and copied on the comedy circuit today.
“You've never seen a funnier pair of comedians in your life.  These two fellas are not only the nicest fellas on Earth, but also the two most brilliant comedians...  One of the greatest live acts ever.  And they still are.”  Celebrity Radio.

Billy Pearce

Yorkshire born Billy Pearce emerged from the fertile talent fields of Butlinʼs. Being a Redcoat was a great apprenticeship only to be followed by the fruitful training grounds of the northern club circuit. Billy is without doubt one of Britainʼs most talented comedians.

If proof were needed for this, in 1994 he won a British comedy award with “Top live theatre variety entertainer”, an award won against very high profile opposition. Billy, though, is no stranger to awards. In his formative comedy years he was voted club mirrorʼs solo comedian of the year by his fellow professionals, and followed this with best television comedy newcomer at the London Palladium.

He has been honoured to have appeared in three Royal Command shows and five Childrenʼs Royal Shows. He is absolutely delighted to be asked to join “Legends of Variety show” touring the country having fun an making the nation laugh after the past three years its what we all need.

 

Hilary O'Neil

Hilary performs worldwide as a Comedienne, Impressionist and Singer. After training at Laine Theatre Arts her career began as a dancer working with Sir Ken Dodd at the famous London Palladium.  A venue she has proudly performed at 7 times. Her major TV break was on the hit  impressionist series 'Copycats', in which she appeared for two years. From there she appeared on numerous TV shows including 'The Royal Variety Show', 'Live from the Palladium','Summertime Special', 'Night of 100 Stars', Two Freddie Starr Series, Des O’Connor Tonight, Celebrity Squares, and many more.

Her West End credits include Acorn Antiques the Musical, written by Victoria Wood and directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, in which Hilary appeared and understudied the lead roles of “Mrs Overall” and “Miss Babs” played by Julie Walters and Celia Imrie. She also co-starred in the musical Summer Holiday (West End & UK tour), the 60’s musical Shout and the Marx Brothers Comedy, Animal Crackers, at the Lyric Theatre.

Hilary now headlines in her one-woman show all over the world on Cunard, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Oceania, Regent, Holland America, Azamara, Cunard & P&O cruise lines. She also has 40 Pantomimes under her belt! On UK tours, she has co -starred alongside Joe Longthorne, Joe Pasquale, Jim Davidson, Brian Conley, Richard Digance & Freddie Starr, even travelling to New Zealand & Australia to support Hale & Pace on their tour. Hilary toured the UK in ‘Menopause the Musical’ twice! Plus 2 tours of the Comedy Musical HOT FLUSH starring Lesley Joseph. Hilary’s work has taken her to entertain the British Troops in Belize and even the Falklands!

Hilary formed O’Neil Management  and is super proud to personally manage up and coming Comedy Ventriloquist Max Fulham, Mind Reader Matt Daniel-Baker and Magician Fay Presto!

Paul Zenon

Paul has performed in around forty countries and appeared on hundreds ofnetwork TV shows, including four series on Children's BBC (Tricky Business and Tricks 'n' Tracks) and four one-man, hour-long C4 and ITV specials, where he was the UK pioneer of 'Street Magic' Since 2004 he's been a regular special guest in Dictionary Corner on C4's Countdown, appearing on around 150 episodes. Other recent TV appearances have included 50 Greatest Magic Tricks (C4),The One Show (BBC1), BBC News (BBC1). This Morning (ITV1), When Magic Goes Horribly Wrong (C5), Mysteries at the Museum (Travel Channel) and Houdini's Lost Diaries (History).

He is a veteran of the Variety and Comedy Club circuits and has long been an in-demand presenter at corporate events, performing and hosting at high profile events worldwide. Over many years Paul has performed sell-out shows at international Arts festivals, notably as Ringmaster in the Olivier Award winning circus-cabaret hit La Clique, and he is the author of three best-selling books on magic, practical jokes, and bar bets.

In 2015 Paul was the the recipient of the Carlton Award for Comedy, and in 2017 he was presented with The Ken Dodd Comedy Award by the man himself, in his final appearance at Blackpool Opera House. In 2019 Paul received the Neville King Award for Speciality and the David Berglas Award for 'exceptional contribution to the field of Magic'. He is a Member of The Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star - the highest level achievable in the famed organisation.

As actor, Paul played a lead role in two series of the Children's series Tricky Business (BBC1) and he appeared in productions of The Merry Wives of Windsor and Macbeth as a member of Brighton Shakespeare Company. In 2018 he played Abanazar in the Preston Guild Hall production of Aladdin. His self-penned theatre piece Linking Rings received 5 star reviews and was released in 2019 as a DVD and online download in the UK and the US.

Paul has appeared in a number of independent films, including Mr. Mzuza and Fired! (Big Bright Lights). and most recently played a cameo role in the comedy horror musical Powertool Cheerleaders Vs the Boyband of the Screeching Dead, as a TV magician who gets zombified - typecast again!

Jon Courtenay

Jon put together a unique show with music, comedy and the piano over twenty years ago and became one of the most sought after entertainers in the cruise and corporate industry before appearing on Britain’s Got Talent in 2020 where Ant and Dec awarded him their Golden Buzzer. He then went on to be the Judges Choice in the semi-final and then the first ever Golden Buzzer act to win the whole show. The following year Jon was awarded Best Performer at the National Reality Television Awards in London.

Jon has since appeared on The Royal Variety Show, Britain’s Got Talent Christmas Special, Good Morning Britain, This Morning, Lorraine and BBC Breakfast often performing original songs written for the moment. He composed and performed the opening song for the ITV Panto, the re-opening of Wembley Steps, The Michael Ball Show on BBC Radio 2 and The End of the Show Show for Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway plus made a guest appearance on Les Dawson, The Lost Tapes documentary on ITV.

In 2021 Jon completed his first hugely successful UK theatre tour. Jon then wrote a new one-man dramatic-comedy musical about his experiences which he took to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2022 to great acclaim. Jon’s new album ‘What It’s All About’ is available now.

“Jon you’ve made me fall to bits, I just saw a man who made all his dreams come true…I think this is one of the best Golden Buzzer’s we’ve ever had on the show.” Amanda Holden,

Britain’s Got Talent “It was magical and done so simply. it made me feel warm inside. You nailed it my friend. You ticked every single box.” Alesha Dixon, Britain’s Got Talent  “It’s funny, it’s touching, it’s unique to you…You have set the bar, that was unbelievable.” David Walliams, 

“A remarkable talent and a fantastic Showman.” Head of Events, Claridges Hotel

“Easily one of the best entertainers I’ve ever seen.” Cruise Jungle
“In 25 years, one of the greatest shows we’ve ever had.” Voyageur

“You’re wonderful!” Simon Cowell