We nearly lost him but ‘The Car­rott’ has now got a new lease of life and he is bring­ing his unique show to Nor­folk in July. Derek James spoke to him.

Let's Talk - - Contents -

Fun­ny­man Jasper is back from the brink to make us laugh again

Ayear ago the fu­ture looked bleak for a man who has en­ter­tained us so well since the 1970s.

He was hol­i­day­ing abroad be­fore em­bark­ing on another tour when Jasper Car­rott start­ing to feel un­well ... and this time around he wasn’t jok­ing.

“I started to feel very strange. My chest was tight. It is dif­fi­cult to de­scribe but I knew some­thing wasn’t right,” says Jasper, one of the friendli­est men in the tough world of show­biz.

Now aged 73, be­lieve it or not, he flew home from Ma­jorca to see his doc­tor - and only just in time.

He needed a quadru­ple heart by­pass op­er­a­tion – ur­gently.

“I am such a lucky boy. We have lost Ray Wilkins and Eric Bristow re­cently and that could so eas­ily have hap­pened to me,” says Jasper.

And we are also lucky be­cause this sum­mer he and his tal­ented pals are bring­ing a unique show to the Holt Fes­ti­val in Nor­folk.

Stand Up and Rock blends great com­edy and clas­sic pop mu­sic star­ring Jasper and his school chum Bev Be­van, his friend who went on to be the drum­mer with two of the great­est groups this coun­try has ever pro­duced – The Move and then the Elec­tric Light Orches­tra.

And they are joined on stage by other top mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing Ge­off Tur­ton, the lead singer with the Rockin Berries, another class act who also had a string of hits in the 1960s.

“We re­ally are hav­ing a fab­u­lous time and we all get on so well. It is re­ally lovely,” says Jasper.

He was forced to can­cel about 30 gigs last year fol­low­ing his life­sav­ing op­er­a­tion but now he and the gang are back on the road and they are hav­ing a ball.

“Up un­til then I had only ever can­celled one show. I felt ter­ri­ble but I couldn’t be­lieve how gen­er­ous and friendly peo­ple were. I had 700,000 mes­sages of good­will. Ab­so­lutely un­be­liev­able! I was flab­ber­gasted,” he says.

Proof, if any were needed, that Jasper is loved. He is a man who has given us so many laughs through the years but he is also a mu­si­cian, game show host, ac­tor, au­thor and mu­si­cian.

Birmingham-born, he and Bev worked to­gether in a city cen­tre de­part­ment store called the Bee­hive when they left school. “Are You Be­ing Served must have been based on it,” re­flects Jasper – real name Robert Davis.

Bev went on to join The Move, while Robert turned into Jasper and started a folk club. He hit the charts in the sum­mer of 1975 with Funky Moped. Re­mem­ber that?

He had a string of TV shows which at­tracted mil­lions of view­ers in the 1970s and ‘80s and the com­edy po­lice drama with Robert Pow­ell called The De­tec­tives was a class act.

Over the past 30 years he has be­come one of the fun­ni­est and best loved co­me­di­ans in the land. He is a premier league sto­ry­teller who doesn’t rely on swear­ing to get jokes, un­like so many do to­day.

“I’m not go­ing to be eff­ing and

blind­ing. Com­edy is no less funny be­cause you’re not swear­ing,” he says.

His sto­ries, such as the one about moles and in­sur­ance claims, are time­less.

To­day Jasper is a happy man, tour­ing with a group of great mu­si­cians. He does 30 min­utes, they play some great tunes, he comes on again. And the show ends with them all bring­ing the house down.

It’s a win­ning for­mula which has been play­ing to packed out houses across the land.

“We are all mates. The at­mos­phere is great. We are hav­ing such a good time,” he says.

As he adds: “Laugh­ter is the best medicine – un­less you’re di­a­betic, then in­sulin comes high on the list.”

He has been mar­ried to Hazel for more than 40 years and they have three daugh­ters and one son, Lucy, Han­nah, Jenny and Jake. He was awarded an OBE for his tire­less char­ity work and he was also par­towner of the pro­duc­tion com­pany which made Who Wants To be A Mil­lion­aire.

Now he and his friends are back on the road and hav­ing a ball.

Jokes and tales from Jasper, great rock ‘n’ roll from Bev and the boys. What bet­ter way to spent a night. See you there ... Jasper Car­rott’s Stand Up And Rock show is at the Theatre in the Woods, as part of the Holt Fes­ti­val on Sun­day, July 29. For £ 30 tick­ets click on the Holt Fes­ti­val web­site or call 01603 598699.

Jasper Car­rott is back in busi­ness af­ter a ma­jor health scare.

Jasper Car­rott is head­lin­ing the Holt Fes­ti­val on Sun­day, July 29.

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