Appeared on 9th March 2009 to talk about the Best of British Variety tour later that year, They were interviewed by John Stapleton and Kate Garraway.

  John: I tell you what, longevity is talent

Bobby: Longevity. That’s it.

Tommy: Longevity

Bobby: What’s that mean? What that mean

Tommy: I’ve not a clue

John: And let’s face it, you’ve been around a while. We’ve been a while.

Bobby: Oh, that’s right, yeah

Tommy: Dinosaurs.

John: How did you two first meet?

Bobby: We were welders, well, I was a welder, he was a fitter welder.

John: Is there is one superior to the other?

Bobby: He used to run a lot… anyway. We were two welders

Kate: I’ve only just got that. Go on.

Bobby: Did you only just get it. Good, good…. Anyway, we were welders.

Tommy: Yeah.

John: Yeah, yeah. That’s another thing we gotta do, Michael Jackson. Cannon and Ball.

Bobby: Are you with us?

Kate: Just about

Tommy: Good girl

Kate: I’m catching up.

Bobby: We started as welders. We started doing the clubs around the north and that’s it. That’s it. Went from there really.

John: Were they tough days, do people give you a hard time in the in the arenas – in the arenas! – in the clubs and pubs that you learned in, did people give you a hard time? Did you have to deal with that?

Tommy: Yeah. Got paid off, didn’t we? Two or three times like most acts who learn the trade you get paid off, and they sort of do a lunch time and then if you’re good enough, you do the evening as well at the same club. And you know when you’re not good enough they come in and give you £3.00 and say you’re off and that’s the end to that.

John: Thank you very much.

Tommy: Thank you very much

Bobby: But you learned your craft because if you were no good, they wouldn’t have you. But if you’re alright, you learned, you went on, then you got a following. And it went like that. I mean we had a big following before we got on television, in clubs.

John: Mm-hmm. And when you went on TV, how long was it after your sort of the first gigs and when you were learning? When did TV come along for you guys?

Bobby: 18 years after.

John: Was it?

Both: Yeah.

John: So you were an overnight success after eighteen years.

Tommy: Yeah. Well, the press said it actually, we’re an overnight success. But we’re 18 years learning our trade first.

John: And what were the names of your programmes throughout the 70s?

Bobby: It was the 80s, actually. We did from 1980 to 92, it was the Cannon and Ball Show. So we had our own show every Saturday.

Tommy: Christmas specials, Easter specials.

John: And give people an idea of the sort of numbers that we’re talking about that were watching.

Bobby: We got 15 to 18 million viewers.

Kate: Wow

John: That’s amazing. I mean, they’d give a lot of money now for that, wouldn’t they?

Tommy: I’ll say

John: There was Rock on, Tommy, which is the one I remember. What was the other ones?

Bobby: We did You’ll do for me. You’ve got me skin. Oh, we’d loads.

Tommy: Yeah, everybody used to catch on. Oh, you hate me, don’t you? You really hate me? People used to go out and saying to them, you know you really hate me

Bobby: You know where Rock on, Tommy comes from?

John: No.

Bobby: When we were welders we welded in a quarry which used to weld the tracks. And they used to blow for when they were blasting, you know. And we used to go in the huts while they blasted. So they blasted and we’re in the huts. And he weren’t in, he were in another hut, and a bloke come in. He said you better come and look at Tommy. Went round, he’s laying there with a big boulder on his chest. And the bloke said look at that. Rock on, Tommy.

Tommy: If you believe that you believe anything.

John: No, I’m not buying that.

Bobby: She did. She did

Tommy: She bought it

Kate: I’m naïve…

John: She’s a sweet, gullible thing.

Tommy: No, that’s not true.

John: Now you’re on this tour, aren’t you? You’re on this tour. Second year of this, isn’t it? Tell us a little bit about that. We got you guys there. Who else?

Tommy: We’ve got Faith Brown, Tom O’Connor, Norman Collier, Roger de Corsey and Bucks Fizz.It’s fantastic. It’s just brilliant. As well as being a great variety show, it’s nostalgia. We’re meeting up with all our old pals again from the 80s. It’s fantastic. Last year was unbelievable. Sold out everywhere we went. It was just incredible.

John: And after the show you’ll be rock’n’roll all night

Tommy: Rocking and rolling all night till 5:00 in the morning.

Bobby: Well, till at least 10.

Tommy: Till ten, aye

John: We wish you the very best of luck with that, that’s gonna be cracking fun. And you guys are getting on now, aren’t you?

Bobby: No. He is.

John: No, because didn’t you have…

Tommy: Have a row. No, he means that we’re getting on getting on as pals.

Bobby: Oh I though he meant getting on in age

Tommy: Turn your deaf aid up

John: I say you’re getting on now? But you are cause you had a scrap for a while, didn’t you? You had this close partnership and now?

Bobby: We’ve been together for 45 years and we had three years that we didn’t speak, which isn’t bad.

Kate: It’s like a marriage, isn’t it?

Bobby: And the reason we didn’t get on because egos took over. Because he thought he was the main one of the act. And I thought that I was the main one of the act. So he should have realised it was me.

Tommy: Yeah. He sent me enough letters.

John: So what have we decided now, we’re sharing the glory?

Both: We’re sharing it now

John: Oh great. Well it’s good to see you boys. And the very best of luck with the tour

Tommy: Thanks very much. Cheers.

John: All over place. Great to see you.

Bobby: And you too

Tommy: Thanks sweetheart

Bobby: This is Bobby. That’s Tommy.

Kate: I know that much.