FAMOUS fox Basil Brush starts his nationwide tour tomorrow (Saturday) and comes to Bromsgrove’s Artrix with his TV chum Mr Stephen on Tuesday (February 17).
The Standard’s Tristan Harris caught up with the children’s TV star who has been entertaining youngsters (and their parents) for more than 50 years.
Q: Have you always wanted to be in show business?
A: If someone gave me the option of stardom or living in a den in Richmond Park, I know which one I’d prefer.
But I do know what it’s like – I have been chased by men in red coats – just because I didn’t pay my bill at Butlins.
Q: What is the best thing about being a world famous superstar?
A: When you are a celebrity, people say it opens a lot of doors, but I’ve never found that and got a flat nose a lot of times finding it out.
What is good is that you get to hobnob with famous people and get lots of Tweets – I have a lot of people following me on Twitter these days.
I also get so many people coming up to me that I have to go incognito a lot of the time. If I’m in a seaside town, I dye my tail pink and disguise myself as some candy floss.
Q: Why do you think you have managed to remain so popular after all these years?
A: It’s very important to have a really good catch phrase. Mine is simple, just two words – Boom and er what’s the other one… oh yes, Boom. It’s a lot more memorable than Bruce’s ‘Nice to see you’ or Paul Daniels’ ‘Not a lot’.
Q: What has been your most memorable moment in show business?
A: There have been so many over the years. Performing for Harry and Wills at Buckingham Palace, meeting HM The Queen on her 80th birthday and sitting on Danni Minogue’s knee on Blue Peter – although I think that was more memorable for her.
Q: In 2005, you won the Weakest Link. What was that like?
A: It was wonderful – I deliberately got a lot of questions wrong in the early rounds and people kept me in because I made them laugh. Then when I got into the final with Christopher Biggins, I showed how intelligent I really was. Everyone thought I was daft as a brush, but really I was as cunning as a fox.
Q: What do you like best about being on tour?
A: It’s great getting to take my TV show to all four corners of the Kindgom and meeting all the girls and boys. It’s gruelling, but lots of laughs make it all worthwhile. Also, we’ll be in the front of house after each show so all of the girls and boys can meet me and have their photographs taken with me.
Q: Have you ever been to Bromsgrove?
A: I have never been to Bromsgrove. I’ve seen it from the M5 lots of times, but I’ve never actually stopped there. That’s another great thing about being a tour – getting to visit so many places. I hope there’s somewhere where I can get a good chicken tikka masala.
Q: What can people expect when they go to the show?
A: They will get to see me – Basil Brush, Mr Stephen, lots of laughter – some even in the right places – lots of songs, the chance to go up on stage, a gigantic screen to take us all into space and they may even see some ghosts. There will be lots of shouting out so parents need to bring some ear plugs. It’s like pantomime, Star Wars, Sherlock Holmes and the Basil Brush all rolled into one.
There will be two performances of The Basil Brush Show at Artrix on Tuesday – one at 11am and the other at 2.30pm.
Tickets are £14 for adults, £12 for under 16s and £42 for a family ticket (two adults and two children or one adult and three children).
For more information or tickets, visit www.artrix.co.uk or call 01527 577330.
Visit twitter.com/realbasilbrush to follow the fox on Twitter.