Richard and Judy 2009


Appearance on Richard and Judy talking about panto and the Best of British Variety tour in 2009. 

Shown on UKTV Watch in March 2009. 

Judy: Our first guests have been in showbiz for over 40 years and they’re still going strong, getting ready to go back on the road for the Best of British Variety Tour. So a big welcome to Cannon and Ball.

All: Welcomes and greetings

Judy: I like your jacket. Very nice.

Bobby: Am I trendy?

Judy: Very trendy

Tommy: You’re very retro?

Bobby: He’s found a new word. It means you’re in fashion, but you’re old.

Judy: I know you’re going on this tour? But I mean, do you still work together quite a bit?

Bobby: Oh yeah, yeah

Tommy: All the time, yeah.

Judy: The same act, in clubs or theatres or what?

Tommy: Yeah, all over the place

Bobby: We do the same thing we do… we’ve changed the act, of course, but yeah, we work together. I can’t get rid of him really.

Richard: How are you getting on these days, cause when you were at your peak in terms of the television years, you didn’t talk very much did you?

Bobby: Well, I think we’re the only double act that admits to this.

Richard: You are. You are.

Bobby: Yeah, absolutely. The truth of the matter is with me and Tom, 45 years we’ve been together and then for three years we didn’t speak.

Richard: At all, or just some?

Bobby: Small, but very attitude there. Yeah, but only for three years out of 45.

Richard: And what was that about? Is that because you were being manipulated.

Tommy: It was about a little bit about suddenly flying in from nightclubs, working men’s clubs, pubs suddenly being sort of discovered, if you like. And then all of a suddenly we had drivers, we had people doing things for us, which we were not, we weren’t, it’s not real. It’s not in a real world. When all this was going on and we had an entourage, Bob had an entourage and then things started to get out of hand, you had two camps and before you knew where you are for some strange reason, it was, it would have been simple if we’d have let the pride drop to be honest, between the pair of us and just said hey.

Bobby: And after three years it did.

Richard: Who made the first move?

Bobby: I don’t know

Richard: We had a discussion about this before, actually, this is the first time we discussed this.

Tommy: I don’t know. I think, I think Bob, Bob has made the first move. I think it were Bradford at the Alhambra Theatre, I think, and he…

Bobby: I remember it, I said ‘shift’

Tommy: It was strange because although people said oh we didn’t get on. Yes we did. We spoke and we had to, I mean, otherwise the act wouldn’t have worked. But he came up to me one day and he just said, look, it’s silly what’s going on and suddenly we woke up to the fact that, you know, I don’t think we realised actually how we’d drifted apart

Bobby: Yeah, we had, we’d drifted

Tommy: And we had, you know, pretty bad

Judy:  But it’s interesting when you say that you’re about the only double act that admits to that, because from sort of, I don’t know for sure about any double acts, but, you know, you can sense sometimes that there must be tension. Sometimes you can tell from when their wives are interviewed. That kind of thing.

Bobby: That’s right. Yeah, we had 3 years of it, which we think out of 45 isn’t so bad. We know double acts that have done it all their career

Richard: Or split up

Tommy: Or split up because they couldn’t take any more of it

Bobby: We’re like you tow, we’re like a married couple, just without the sex, that’s all.

Richard: We can talk about that, give you a few hints, help you along.

Judy: When you first met, you met in a factory didn’t you? And who spoke to who first? I can’t.

Bobby: Well, I spoke to him first and he was waiting, he was starting at the job.

Richard: He was new.

Bobby: Yeah. And I’ve been there and I were always late because I were gigging in the pubs on my own singing. So I was always late clocking in. And I walked past him and he was waiting for a job like this, frightened to death, you know what it’s like on a new job, and I just said ‘How are you, cock?’ and that was it. And then we started going out and drinking.

Richard: And did you start off, you started off as a threesome, didn’t you? There was a guy on keyboard?

Bobby: Yes

Tommy: Gambo’s Trio we were called.

Richard: And you just sang, that’s all you did?

Bobby: Tommy used to be the drummer

Tommy: I used to be the drummer

Richard: But you didn’t do any comedy?

Tommy: No. None at all.

Richard: No patter between the songs?

Tommy: And the reason we did comedy, we were in a nightclub, We were in a working men’s club, actually. And this comic was being paid out and he actually got more money than us.

Bobby: £3.

Tommy: And I said hang on there’s two of us. And he said no, he said, you have to be a comic to be on the extra money. So we went and changed to comedy cause we wanted the £3.00.

Richard: So you went on opportunity knocks in 69, I think you came last.

Bobby: A rat won on the way back to the canteen playing the spoons

Richard: But let’s see you in in your heyday. This is a really simple routine. It’s just Old McDonald had a F arm, with you doing the singing. And you, mugging basically. It’s just lovely really.

Richard and Judy 2009 screenshot

(They played an except from the Old McDonald sketch in The Cannon and Ball show)

Richard: You had a very good, long TV career, you know, longer than most sort of you know, here they come there they go acts. How long were you

Bobby: 14 years

Richard: That’s a really good amount of time

Tommy: lt was lovely, yeah

Richard: And that’s provided the impetus for what you do now, basically, cause you’ve still got a big following out there.

Bobby: Yeah, we’re doing really, really well, we’ve already got the panto booked now.

Judy: Where?

Tommy: We’re in Lincoln, Theatre Royal.

Bobby: All already booked

Judy: Our first mention of panto!

Richard: Talk about ahead of the curve. It’s only March. That’s the earliest I’ve ever heard a panto plugged on television. Congratulations.

Judy: What do you play? I mean in it, in the panto.

Tommy and Bobby: We play Fleshcreep, and Bad Bob

Bobby: In Lincoln Theatre Royal.

Judy: And what’s the panto? You might as well carry on

Bobby: What’s it called? Jack and the Beanstalk. Mind you. We’re doing this tour as well.

Richard: Now tell us about the tour. That’s in August. Well, that’s a long way as well. Let’s get into it.

Tommy: Last year we did this tour and the lad that took this tour on the road, I was so pleased for him. We took it out and sold out everywhere, and we’re doing it again this year and at this moment in time it’s looking like it’s going to do it all again.

Richard: Best of British variety. Because you don’t get variety on telly.

Tommy: It’s gone.

Bobby: Because you don’t see the old guys, you know? People want to see it.

Richard: Yeah. Well, who’s with you then, who’s on? Who’s on the bill?

Bobby: Well, Tom O’Connor

Richard: Yeah, he’s funny. Great jokes. Very good comedian.

Bobby: Norman Collier

Richard and Judy: The chicken, kept breaking up, yeah.

Bobby: Roger de Courcey, and Nookie Bear. Bucks Fizz

Judy: Bucks Fizz!

Bobby: Good music. Yeah, and Faith Brown.

Judy: I love Faith Brown

Bobby: It’s a great bill.

Richard: Yeah, and you.

Bobby: And us

Tommy: Great. Yeah, we’re there and It’ll be great.

Judy: And it starts in August.

Tommy: Yeah. Starts August.

Judy: Yeah. And you’re starting… where are you starting off?

Tommy: We’re starting off in Skegness. And we’re finishing at the, in Newcastle City Hall.

Judy: I knew that. I remembered that.

Bobby: Judy, Judy, you’re pushing him too much. He wanders a lot.

Richard: It’s all going now, Judy. He’s OK for 10 minutes and then he needs a little rest.

Bobby: The matron doesn’t know he’s out yet

Judy: It’s good that you’re still so strongly together, I really like seeing that.

Bobby: Yeah, we are very much, yeah.

Richard: On which note we can tell you that the Best of British Variety show 2009 does start on the 6th of August. Make a note in your diaries.