One of Britain’s most loved comic entertainers brings his unique 25-date comedy, music and sketch show to the Bedford Corn Exchange on Thursday, June 5,writes Layth Yousif.
Brian Conley has starred in TV, film, theatre and musicals over the course of his 40-year career in entertainment which has seen him win multiple awards, including a National Television Award for Most Popular Television Performer.
Brian, who has presented the Royal Variety Performance a record-breaking five times and appeared as a performer a further six times, told bedfordtoday: ”I am looking forward to coming to Bedford. The show will be a comedy-driven night with a medley of songs as well as a retrospective look through some of the highs of my career in stage and screen. We are going to have a lot of fun and there will be lots of audience participation too.
“Being involved in the Royal Variety Performance is a huge honour but intimate shows like Bedford are great because people are turning out for you and are very supportive which is a fantastic feeling.
“I remember being introduced to the Queen after one particular Royal Variety Show. I don’t know if she knew who I was but she was very complimentary which was kind of her.
“But as I bowed I fell into the pit behind me! My wife who was watching said the Queen started laughing. I suppose there’s not many people who can say they’ve made the Queen laugh heartily!”
Entertainer Brian has had a long and varied career. He has starred alongside Amanda Holden in an ITV sitcom, had his own episode of ‘An Audience With...’ in which well known stars such as himself perform for an invited audience of celebrity guests and presented the BBC National Lottery game show.
He previously appeared in Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away, has been a contestant on ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ and is currently hosting Sky Television’s brand new flagship quiz show, Timeline.
He is also well-known for his stage work including the lead role in Me and My Girl, before going on to cement his reputation with the Olivier Award-winning Jolson which saw him secure a personal Olivier Award nomination.
Brain said: ”The highlight for me is that I’ve managed to survive for so long. I think doing Jolson changed a few people’s perceptions of me as it showed I could do more musically and wasn’t just pigeon-holed as a comedian. Things move on but I’ve always enjoyed my careeer. I am very lucky to do what I do.”
London-born Brian has met some of the biggest names in showbiz from Ant and Dec - “I’ve known them years and they’re good lads” - to touring with Hollywood legend Bob Hope on his last tour of the UK.
Brain says: “ Bob Hope was amazing. A wonderful man. He came to see me when I was in ‘Me and My Girl’ a few years previously and told me: ‘Let me tell you my boy you’ve got it all’ which was nice of him.”
With a glint in his eye Brian added: “I do love comedy though. My show is an orgy of laughter...it’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on. They say laughter is the best medicine - in which case come to my Bedford show and get a good dose.
“The show is actually going to save people money because it has pieces taken from a lot of different shows I’ve done - and if you went to every one of the shows I’ve taken songs from and comedy sketches from it would cost you a fortune!
“It’s also a type of farewell as I will be taking Barnum round the country before ending up in the West End.”
Brian also spoke about his time in the Australian jungle on the hit show ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’.
He said: ”Helen Flanaghan [Coronation Street] didn’t do any of the trials so we didn’t eat for eight days! All we had was small portions of chick peas and rice - it tasted like wet sawdust. I went to the dunny and just blacked out. The next thing I knew it was two days later. I was diagnosed with malnutrition and exhaustion. I was on a drip in hospital.
“I’m up for anything but I’m no good when I don’t eat - I’m no Bear Grylls! But I did have the holiday of my life after I got out of hospital waiting for everyone else to leave the jungle - it was great.”
Happily for his fans in Bedford, irrepressible Brian will be fed and watered by the time he gets to the Corn Exchange and ready to delight them all at what promises to be a great evening’s entertainment.
Brian will be performing at Bedford Corn Exchange at 8pm on Thursday, June 5. For ticket details and to book, visit http://www.bedfordcornexchange.co.uk/ or call the box office on 01234 718 112.