It’s Elvis and Chico Time in Battersea Park Posted July 6th 2010 at 2:47 am by Michael Dias
Fans enjoying a charity concert by singing and dancing sensation Chico may have had a suspicious mind when he announced a surprise at the end of his set.
Moments later, he was joined on-stage by an Elvis Presley tribute artist, and the two sang a duet in front of the 10,000 amazed fans.
Elvis Shmelvis, who sings at The Amazing Great Children’s Party in Battersea Park every year, received a call from fellow Hertfordshire-based singer Chico the night before, asking if he would perform a duet on stage, in support of Children with Leukaemia.
Elvis Shmelvis, aka Martyn Dias, happily agreed, and the two sang Suspicious Minds and Can’t Help Falling In Love, two of The King’s biggest hits.
Chico, who topped the charts in 2006 with ‘It’s Chico Time’, said: “It’s been my life-long dream to sing on stage with Elvis. He was my first inspiration and I’m absolutely thrilled. I think the audience really loved it, too.”
Elvis Shmelvis said: “I’ve sung this song thousands of times, but it gave me a real buzz to perform it with my friend Chico. It was great seeing the children having such a good time.”
A video of Chico and Elvis’ duet can be found on Youtube.at http://tinyurl.com/elvischico
The event featured sets from other recording artists, including The Cheeky Girls. The event also included funfair rides, stalls and attractions, and was well-populated with clowns and children’s entertainers.
Celebrities meeting and greeting the 10,000 partygoers included Bill Oddie, boxer Lloyd Honeyghan, Phillip Madoc, Gary Wilmot, Linda Robson, Dave Lee Travis, Su Pollard, former motorcycle stunt champion Eddie Kidd and John Altman (‘Nasty’ Nick Cotton in Eastenders).
Bill Oddie, naturalist and former Goodies member, said: “I have been here before but not for some time. This year’s event is much bigger than I expected.
Hugo Amaya-Torres, Chairman of the party committee at Children with Leukaemia, said: It has been a wonderful day. The sponsors and helpers have done their utmost, the children have behaved impeccably, and I can’t wait until next year’s party.
Jack Dee is the perfect host for I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
The grumpy comic has taken over from the late Humphrey Lyttleton and proved a hit. But are some presenters simply irreplaceable?
guardian.co.uk, Monday 5 July 2010
Rock groups routinely soldier on for decades without one or more of their original members, and fans don't tend to gripe so long as the same old songs get played. But the radio show which loses its lynchpin faces an altogether more precarious future, especially if the history of the series in question is bound up with the departing host.
Last week, I attended a recording in Cambridge of two shows in the current series of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (6.30pm, Mondays, R4), where I was struck by what a neat fit Jack Dee is as anchor. His dexterity with material that requires a measure of toxic disdain has already been proved in his solo stints on two series of the programme. But it was encouraging to see up close how he marshals the team members – Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke Taylor and, on this occasion, David Mitchell – and chides them gently like a PE master. Behind the audience's easy laughter, I detected authentic relief that the show hadn't gone to pot. After all, ISIHAC underwent an initially fraught probationary period in which three different hosts (Dee, Rob Brydon, Stephen Fry) were auditioned publicly after the death in 2008 of Humphrey Lyttleton.
Light entertainment is a medium where the word "inimitable" gets used as frequently as "dahling", but you need only sample five minutes of "Humph" on ISIHAC to appreciate the balance he struck between cultivated bumbling and wry naughtiness. The shortcomings of two of the trial hosts made Humph's persona seem all the more miraculous. Fry sounded, as he so often does, as though he were broadcasting to the proles from a throne in the clouds; the effect was rather as if Zeus had been handed Radio 4's 6.30pm comedy slot.
Brydon's turn in Humph's chair, on the other hand, felt all wrong for the opposite reason. A friend of mine put it best when she said that Brydon just made the jokes sound dirty. Of course, they are dirty – some of the filthiest broadcast anywhere, before or after the watershed, particularly the ones involving "the lovely Samantha", or Lionel Blair. But Humph delivered those gags with a bored obliviousness; not only did the doubles entendres appear lost on him, his world-weary tone suggested that he couldn't be bothered to fathom the jokes anyway.
That's why Dee has turned out to be such a boon for the show. His grumpiness may be synthetic but it has a similar effect on the series as Humph's wry befuddlement – it introduces just the right amount of comic distance between the host and the demeaning material he is forced to read.
In recent years, Radio 4 listeners have had to acclimatise themselves to changes of personnel on other key shows. Sandi Toksvig, already a joy on Excess Baggage (10am, Saturday), has proved to be a jaunty, jousting successor to Simon Hoggart on The News Quiz. And Kirsty Young, now four years into her stretch on Desert Island Discs (11.15am, Sunday), and therefore past the point where she can be thrown to the piranhas, recently coaxed the writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce into giving one of the most purely life-affirming interviews ever heard on the series. Desert Island Discs was always going to be a survivor, since it depends more on its whimsical castaway conceit and the calibre of the interviewee in any given week than on its presenter's personality. It's the Doctor Who of radio institutions.
No one expects the same host to go on for ever, so regeneration is always on the cards.
But if there is a rule about shows that survive a participant's death or departure, it seems to be that the less amorphous the format, the greater the chance of longevity. Lurking in the back of the mind of any producer or radio station forced to ponder the future of a much-loved show must be the example of Home Truths, which limped on for over a year after the death in
2004 of its host, John Peel. The problem there was that the fuzzy, throwaway humour was borne out of, and inseparable from, Peel himself, as the Radio 4 controller, Mark Damazer, acknowledged when he said in 2005: "John's personality was bound up in Home Truths, and now it's time to look for a different programme." (That was good or bad news depending on your feelings about Saturday Live, with its irksome in-studio poet and "Inheritance
I see no reason, though, why ISIHAC can't continue under Dee's stewardship.
Quite apart from the fact that the show's scripts still crackle and fizz, Dee's unimpressed line readings pay an ongoing homage to Humph; he seems not so much to have replaced him as to be keeping his place at the table. But how do you think he's handling the task of following a legend like Humph? Is there someone who might have been an even better contender? And are there any shows currently running which, like Home Truths, would collapse, Jenga-style, if you removed the presenter?
• This article was amended on 6 July 2010. The original named Alan Coren as host of The News Quiz. This has been corrected.
Barry's still clued up
10:29am Friday 25th June 2010
Barry Cryer is a comedy legend. As well as writing gags for countless comedy stars, from Tommy Cooper to Richard Pryor, via Kenny Everett, he is also an accomplished performer in his own right, starring in countless series of the ever-popular “antidote to panel shows”, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, on Radio 4 as well as many-a stage show.
The 75-year-old funnyman is bringing his ever-changing revue, Still Alive, to the Landmark Arts Centre next week.
The undisputed king of the showbiz anecdote will dig out some of his best stories, sing a few songs and get the audience involved in the action.
On the way into the auditorium, they will get the chance to throw in a question or a comment for Cryer and, in the second half of the show, he will, lucky dip style, pick out a selection to respond to.
“The show is different every time,” he says.
“The audience can write anything they like and I just live dangerously and cope with it – it’s my favourite part of the show.
“The best comment ever was when someone wrote, ‘thanks for the free pen!’”
Doubtless plenty of the audience’s questions will relate to I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, which Cryer has been a part of since it first appeared on our airwaves 38 years ago.
When it looked like ‘Clue’ would not be coming back after the death of host Humphrey Lyttelton in 2008, fans flooded the BBC with emails.
Thankfully, it did return and, as a new series gets under way laconic comic Jack Dee is settling nicely into the role of presenter.
“We lost a great man in Humph, but Jack’s detached sarcastic air is just perfect,” says Cryer.
As well as touring Still Alive and recording ‘Clue’, Cryer is also preparing a new show for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
How does he still find the energy to keep the laughs coming?
“By still enjoying it – I wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise,” he adds.
Barry Cryer, Landmark Arts Centre, July 1, 7.30pm, £14-£18, landmarkartscentre.org