Veteran per­form­ers on the patch

Let's Talk - - CONTENTS -

Des O’Con­nor is an in­stant tonic. Whether it’s his ir­re­press­ible sense of hu­mour, his quick-wit­ted one­lin­ers or his quirky rhymes, he has a charm­ing sense of fun.

The au­di­ence at his forth­com­ing Nor­folk show can look for­ward to dou­ble the laughs and twice the en­ter­tain­ment - as Des is shar­ing the stage with an­other show­biz gi­ant, Jimmy Tar­buck. Their per­for­mance at Nor­wich Theatre Royal on June 20 is part of a UK tour prompted by the pop­u­lar­ity of a one-off show ‘Sun­day Night at The Lon­don Pal­la­dium with Des O’Con­nor and Jimmy Tar­buck’ in Oc­to­ber 2015. It was such a hit with the au­di­ence and crit­ics that the pair re­alised they had strong on­stage chem­istry.

“It just works,” Des ex­plains. “We only started this out as a one-nighter for the Royal Va­ri­ety Char­ity. It was jam-packed full - fan­tas­tic au­di­ence, ab­so­lutely won­der­ful. And so after that we did an­other six, and we’re cur­rently in the mid­dle of an­other 12!”

Des is no stranger to East Anglia. He has per­formed in Suf­folk, including at Ip­swich and Low­est­oft, and knows Nor­folk well too.

“As a mat­ter of fact, the very firstever one-man-show that I did was at the Theatre Royal, Nor­wich,” he says. “It was great. I’ve done them all around the world since then, so Nor­wich has one lit­tle, spe­cial part of my heart, you know.

“I know that part of the coun­try very well any­way be­cause I got an ama­teur jockey’s li­cence, but I never ac­tu­ally rode be­cause they banned me - I was at The Pal­la­dium at the time and that was

deemed to be a dan­ger­ous sport. But I used to get up ev­ery morn­ing, some­times be­tween 5am and 6am, drive to New­mar­ket and then some­times on to Nor­wich.

“And, of course, I’ve played Great Yar­mouth enough times. I love that part of the world.”

He adds, in a pitch-per­fect lo­cal ac­cent: “They know how to laugh boi, I’ll tell you that!”

At the Nor­wich show, Des’s af­fa­ble anec­dotes and singing prow­ess will be matched with Jimmy’s charm­ing ban­ter and gag-a-minute rou­tines. The pair will share sto­ries and memories in the show which will be mixed with mu­sic and video.

Des says: “I re­ally am not ab­so­lutely cer­tain what we’ll do, be­cause he’s a bit naughty with me. He’s a won­der­ful lit­tle per­former, gets lots of laughs. He’s a very funny guy and he knows how to make an au­di­ence laugh, but he does wind me up a lit­tle bit - and I don’t mind it be­cause I’m used to it.

“He’s never rude, he’s never crude, he’s never crass, but he’s in­clined to be a bit cheekier with his stuff.

“The first part of the show is mainly Jimmy - it’s me but it’s mainly Jimmy -and then I do the sec­ond part of the show. And then we get to­gether at the end as well.

“We’ve got a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing – some­thing for every­body there, I think. We’re both hams! We love to hear the sound of laugh­ter and Jimmy will pro­vide that. I cer­tainly will as well.

“I re­ally do look for­ward to it – and I know he does.”

Since land­ing his first tele­vi­sion se­ries in the UK in 1963, Des starred in his own main­stream tele­vi­sion show for more than 45 years - longer than any­one any­where in the world.

He is one of only a hand­ful of Bri­tish en­ter­tain­ers to be ac­claimed in­ter­na­tion­ally on stage and tele­vi­sion. His Amer­i­can se­ries was shown in more than 40 coun­tries and seen by 200 mil­lion peo­ple world-wide.

On stage he has ap­peared at the MGM Grand in Las Ve­gas, The

They know how to laugh boi, I’ll tell you that!

Syd­ney Opera House, The O’Keefe Cen­tre, Toronto and more than 1,200 solo per­for­mances at the Lon­don Pal­la­dium.

“In my study now I’ve got a lot of gold plaques which were given to me at the Pal­la­dium,” he says.

“If you did a week then and it did well they would give you a lit­tle plaque and I’ve got one to note ‘his 1,000th per­for­mance’ and they gave me this in 1972!”

Now 85, but still with a bound­less en­thu­si­asm for show­busi­ness, Des re­mains busy. As well as his shows with Jimmy, he is also tour­ing alone in his new show, The Ul­ti­mate Des O’Con­nor, this year.

“That’s the nice thing about show­busi­ness - you never, ever get to do it all,” he says. “There’s al­ways some­thing you can im­prove on, some­body you can learn from... It’s a lovely job. It’s bet­ter than work­ing!”

Des still clearly loves en­ter­tain­ing peo­ple and will con­tinue to do so, as long as they want him to.

He says: “When I fig­ure they’re not go­ing to buy records, they don’t like me singing, they don’t like the jokes – when­ever that hap­pens I’ll just get on my bike, pedal over the hill and say ‘Chee­rio, it’s been nice know­ing you’.”

Some­how, show­biz would lose some of its sparkle with­out Des, so we can only hope that day is not for a long while yet.

Des O’Con­nor at the Nor­wich Theatre Royal

Des O’Con­nor shares his show­biz memories of East Anglia.

Jimmy Tar­buck pic­tured in Ip­swich in May 1966.

Jimmy Tar­buck pho­tographed at the Spa Pav­il­ion in Felixs­towe in the summer of 1983.

Des O’Con­nor has a long as­so­ci­a­tion with the Nor­wich Theatre Royal..

Des O’Con­nor and Jimmy Tar­buck are com­ing to Nor­wich.

Des O’Con­nor meet­ing fans at Felixs­towe, in July 1982.

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