Summer 1996 – Blackpool


Running Order

Brochure running order Rock with Laughter

At the Hop
with the Juke Box Jivers and Peter Piper

Get Ready it’s Tommy and Bobby

Peter Piper – Rock with Laughter

Leader of the Pack
Tommy, Bobby and the Juke Box Jivers

Sheila Ferguson’s Tribute to the Three Degrees


The Rock ‘N’ Roll Motel
The Full Company

Jungle Rock
Peter Piper and Friends

Sheila Ferguson

Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball

The Elvis Megamix Finale

Programme Introduction

Brochure page Welcome to Rock With Laughter 1996!

How often do you and your family say, “There’s not much worth watching on TV tonight”? Too often I would bet!

When was the last time you and your family had a really good laugh watching a light entertainment TV show? (Excluding the Eurovision Song Contest!) Probably not for a long time.

Today’s Broadcasting Chiefs screen programmes THEY think the public want or that please the advertisers. Little new light entertainment talent is encouraged. Talent to entertain the nation must be replenished. The new generation of ‘Forsyths’, ‘O’Connors’, ‘Cillas’ and ‘Barrymores’ – where will they come from?

It is down to shows like tonight’s ROCK WITH LAUGHTER to nurture new talent and present established acts with creative flair. Babby Davro, Brian Conley, Joe Pasquale, Shane Ritchie and Billy Pearce ‘cut their teeth’ in our shows, all progressing to headling the bill, whilst long established comedy acts such as The Grumbleweeds and Little and Large have been given a fresh new treatment. Tonight, undisputed comedy kings Cannon and Ball achieve their ambition to star in their own Rock ‘N’ Roll spectacular. We as producers are proud to be presenting Tommy and Bobby for the first time in Summer Season.

Rock With Laughter is Blackpool’s most successful summer season show and has been seen by over half a million people to date. In 1993 Rock With Laughter transferred to television achieving six million viewers weekly despite a ‘graveyard slot’ on Monday nights through the summer!

We have a passionate commitment to entertain YOU the public with shows YOU want to see. So tonight, switch off the telly, forget your worries and cares and relax! Loosen tight clothing, flex your ‘Chuckle Muscle’ and let’s go back in time together as once again we ROCK WITH LAUGHTER.

Nick Thomas and Jon Conway, London, July 1996

Brochure pictures


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Cannon and Ball

Brochure pageTommy Cannon and Bobby Ball are one of Britain’s funniest and most successful double acts. In a career spanning over 25 years they have achieved a string of honours that includes them among the all-time greats of showbusiness.

On television they have starred in their own series practically every year since 1979. They have ‘guested’ on all the major shows including Wogan, Parkinson, The Des O’Connor Show, Sunday Night at the Palladium and several Royal Variety Shows. They featured in a BBC documentary Funny Business based on double acts, which also included footage of comedy legends Martin and Lewis, Laurel and Hardy, and Morecambe and Wise.

To add to their pedigree, they remain the only act to have won three separate National Club Awards and be names as the Variety Club ‘Personalities of the Year’. Their feature film The Boys in Blue in addition to its cinema success, has gone on to become a video best seller. The boys have also been the subject of This is Your Life!

As the undisputed Kings of Live Entertainment, Cannon and Ball have set standards that will never be equalled

During the 1970s they built a strong reputation around the UK cabaret club circuit for being a great live act. They also toured extensively in the hotel circuits of Australia and South Africa.

In 1980 they ‘topped the bill’ for the very first time at the North Pier, Blackpool, where they played to capacity business for 22 weeks; a feat they surpassed in 1991 when they returned to the pier and celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a 25 week sell-out season.

Blackpool is a ‘happy hunting ground’ for the Lancashire born twosome, who played the 3,000 seat Opera House during the summer 1994. This was their third season at the theatre, following their enormously successful seasons in 1985 and 1987.

In addition to Blackpool, Tom and Bob have broken records in theatres all over the UK, including London. In 1981 they played a six-week season at the Dominion Theatre. Every seat was sold before the show opened, and in 1988 their pantomime Babes in the Wood broke all previous pantomime records at the world famous London Palladium, where Cannon and Ball created the record for the largest box office amount taken in one week in British theatre history.

During 1993 they were offered the chance to play a season in the USA. Orlando, Florida was the location. Their three month season was such a success that they were immediately re-booked for April, May June 1994, starring at King Henry’s Feast, Orlando and making several US television appearances.

In 1995 they appeared on many major TV shows including The Des O’Connor Show, Noel Edmond’s House Party and Talking Telephone Numbers.

After a month long Gospel Tour, and another trip to the USA, it was on to Glasgow for Babes in the Wood!

Rock with Laughter 96 fulfills Tommy and Bobby’s ambition to star in their own Rock ‘n’ Roll spectacular, in this their first summer season for producer Nick Thomas. After an extensive Autumn tour and a trip to Israel, the boys play the Chinese Policemen in Aladdin for Nick at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

Even after nearly 30 years of making people laugh, Tom and Bob are still enjoying every minute and are looking forward to entertaining for many years to come.

Sheila Ferguson

Brochure pageThe celebrated lead singer of the legendary Three Degrees has been described as Sassy, Sexy, Sophisticated and Sultry, in short, the very lovely Sheila Ferguson is the total show person.

Her shining and powerful lead vocals spearheaded the group in to receiving 28 Gold and Silver records along with world-wide acclaim with hits like “When Will I See You Again”, “Dirty Old Man”, “Take Good Care of Yourself”, “A Woman in Love”, “Giving Up Giving in”, “The Runner” (which Sheila co-wrote with Gloria Moronder). The Movie Theme of the Golden Lady (co-written by Sheila and George Garvarentz) and countless others. Sheila also sings in six languages, delivers a tightly packed, power based show and comes complete with her own musicians and backing vocalists.

Sheila has performed at Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles’ 30th Birthday party, as well as being a specially invited guest, and has done charity concerts for many members of the Royal Family. She was also invited to the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and is referred to by the media as ‘Charlie’s Angels! Sheila performs for the most exclusive and sophisticated audiences and enjoys the title of being one of the most celebrated entertainers of Royal European gentry.

Sheila’s vibrant and zany personality is much in demand on television shows such as Phil Donahue, Des O’Connor, Live at the Piccadilly, Wogan, Aspel, Parkinson, Gloria Hunniford, TVAM, numerous documentaries such as The Home Service, Coast to Coast and Daytime Live. She appears regularly on Sky satellite television. Sheila completed her course at RADA. This led to the principal character role in the highly popular situation television series for Thames Television entitled Land of Hope and Gloria.

Her first book published by Widenfield and Nicholson, world-wide, entitled SOUL Food – Classic Cuisine of American South – released on 15th September 1989, in the UK, US, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other foreign territories is already being acclaimed by food historians around the world as a work of outstanding genius. The BBC are looking at a possible documentary series for Sheila to present based on the contents of this unique book.

In 1993 Sheila undertook a nation-wide tour with Bobby Davro. This was so successful that Sheila was asked to appear in Torquay for the summer with Bobby and make a special guest appearance on his hit TV series “Rock with Laughter”. 1994 saw Sheila releasing a Dance mix re-make of that classic hit “When Will I See You Again”. Sheila was delighted that this version created such a “Buzz” in the industry and saw her appearing in Discos and Clubs up and down the country. This was the year that Sheila was to travel the world entertaining the British troops in such diverse places as the Falklands, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany. Sheila was such a smash hit that she has now taken on the title of the New Forces Sweetheart.

1995 was an extremely busy year for Sheila with return bookings for the Troops, a nation-wide tour of UK Leisure Centres, private and corporate cabaret shows for Mercedes, Ford and Sony, plus TV appearances on the Brian Conley Show, Celebrity Squares, Pot of Gold and Des O’Connor shows.

Sheila has already a full date sheet for 1996 with another trip to the Falklands in April, an autumn UK tour with the Stylistics and is particularly looking forward to appearing in her first major UK summer season at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool in “Rock with Laughter”.

Peter Piper

Brochure pageThe classic clown who combines visual humour with genuine warmth. He is an Actor who loves his audience, but one who cannot be categorised.

Peter Piper is one of life’s people watchers….. He’s a talented actor, who is spontaneously funny and a deadly accurate impressionist. An accomplished singer, whose natural flair for dance has been acknowledged and utilised in various production shows.

‘My performance is an observation of life’, he says. ‘It’s an extension of myself and the things around me, but, of course, I exaggerate and take the situation to comedic extremes’. Peter recognises that there are two kinds of comedy. ‘There are people who say funny things, and there are funny people. I like to think of myself as a funny person’.

Peter Piper, born in Cheshire, England in January 1957 was determined to succeed – and thats exactly what he has done both on stage and on television in England and the U.S. His more prestigious credits include headlining two successful ‘Five Alive’ series, which ironically won him the Gold Award at the New York Comedy Festival. His live TV credits include Live From Her Majesties, A Royal Command Performance at the Drury Lane Theatre, and Live from the London Palladium. He appeared in all three Ronn Lucas television series for Thames Television as his regular Special Guest Star.

He emigrated to Los Angeles in May 91 to sign a Holding Deal with Lorimar Television, and has worked constantly on both sides of the Atlantic since. Last year he completed filming 22 episodes of the world wide syndicated television series Acapulco Heat. This series, shot on location in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, was syndicated throughout the United States. It is currently being screened in Europe, and will hopefully reach our British Shores soon.

Peter returned to England at the end of 1994, and although he continues to work in the United States his home is now in Marple, Cheshire. He is delighted to be back in Blackpool, his second home.

Brochure pageSharn Adela

Sharn trained at The London Studio Centre, while at college Sharn sang in various clubs, pubs and the Variety Night (Theatre Royal Stratford East). She soon became the resident singer at the Battersea Show Palace.

Her early theatre credits include The Frankenstein Monster Show (Theatre Royal Stratford East & Jennetta Cochran Theatre), Dame Purecraft in Bartholomew Fair (Tom Allen Centre), Chicago & A Tribute To Broadway (choreography by Jack Cunn), Fairy Sunbeam in Dick Whittington (The Peckham Civic Theatre).

While at college, she engaged in her first overseas contract as a singer/dancer a cruise of South America which was followed by a cruise of The Mediterranean and shows in Italy, Spain and Cannes Palm Beach Casino (choreography by Dougie Squires).

Most recently Sharn has appeared as Columbia In The Rocky Horror Show (European Tour), Chiffon In The Little Shop Of Horrors (National Tour), Eadle in Long About Midnight (Lilian Baylis Theatre), A Blues Sister in The Brian Conley Show ’92 (Pavilion Theatre, weymouth), Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon).

She toured the Falkland Islands as a Solo vocalist for HM Forces after which she enjoyed her second season as A Blues Sister in The Brian Conley Show “93 (Futurist Theatre, Scarborough & Blackpool Opera House).

Sharn can be seen singing with a four girl group The Divas. The group have toured France, Italy, Switzerland, The Falkland islands, Bahrain and New Orleans. Sharn has recently appeared as Aretha Franklin in A Tribute To The Stars (Sporting Club, Cannes).

Sharn’s TV credits Include A Blues Sister In The Brian Conley Show, Des O’Connor Tonight and The Royal Variety Performance ’93, BBC’S EastEnders as a young mum, a Robert Palmer Video, and BBC’s Wogan as a dancer for Paul McCartney.

Lorayne Robinson

A founder member of The Essex Dance Theatre, Lorayne left college to front top Showband RITZ touring throughout Europe and UK appearing with Bobby Davro, Jim Davidson, Michael Barrymore etc and for three years was retained with the Duncan Norvelle Chase Me Show. Lorayne was featured in the acclaimed BBC Tv series Call Me Mister and for three years starred in the award winning Rock n Roll musical That’ll Be The Day – today she is still the permanent choreographer for the show.

In 1993, Lorayne realised a lifetime ambition and formed her own renowned vocal harmony group The Divas – the incredible harmonies and fabulous costumes quickly established the 4 stunning girls as one of the most popular acts in the country with regular appearances at leading cabaret venues, holiday centres and performances on British television. A tragic car accident In 1993 claimed the lives of two members of the group – with encouragement from family and friends Lorayne reformed The Divas and in 1994 the new line up was in constant demand for corporate events not just in the UK but also Monte Carlo, Austria, New Orleans, Bahrain and were firm favourites with the British Forces throughout the world.

In addition to live shows, Lorayne is also a respected studio session vocalist and has recorded back up for many name artistes – in 1995 she directed and produced The Reflections – a Tribute to The Supremes a touring show based in Majorca.

Brochure pageNicky Hooper

Nicky Hooper is one of the busiest and most exciting Choreographers in Britain today.

Since graduating from the Laine Theatre Arts College in 1982, her work as a dancer and choreographer has taken her all over the world, from the Far East to the Falkland Islands in Cabaret, top Summer Shows and Pantomimes in Theatre and Television.

Her first choreography job was for Bobby Davro’s Dick Whittington panto in which she also played Tommy the cat! Since then she has staged virtually all Bobby’s stage shows and became a specialist in Choreography productions, featuring comedy stars such as Little & Large, Brian Conley, Cannon & Ball and Shane Richie, to name but a few.

Nicky has choreographed and been Assistant Director on numerous Summer Shows and Pantomimes teaching diverse talents as Geoff Capes and Barry McCuigan to dance along the way. Summer Shows include nine consecutive seasons at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool. It was here that she created the Juke Box Jivers team for Rock With Laughter, a show now seen by nearly half a million people, and which later became a BBC TV series. She also staged the Blackpool Grand Centenary Gala in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Her various groups appear at leading cabaret venues and product launches. Her recently formed team A.W.O.L has been specially designed for CSE Troop Shows and is proving to be a big hit.

Sean Begbie

Surrey born Sean trained on the Musical Theatre Course at Laine Theatre Arts. He recently returned from a cruise liner, sailing around the Mediterranean. Previous pantomime engagements include & Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Rhyl and Aladdin at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth both for E & B Productions. Last Christmas Sean appeared in The Sleeping Beauty at Poole.

Cabaret engagements include Variety Club of Great Britain at the Dorchester Hotel in London and Sean has appeared in many promotional shows including Levi Jeans.

Sean is a keen fisherman and swimmer, but his main interest (apart from the theatre) is motor sport.

Sean is very much looking forward to his first season in Blackpool.

Claire Morland

Claire is from Gateshead, where she trained at the Reavley Theatre school from the age of five. She has completed many professional engagements to date both in England and abroad.

Summer Seasons have been spent in Scarborough and in Blackpool at the Horseshoe Bar in Mystique, the Joe Longthorne Summer Spectacular and with The Grumbleweeds at the Grand Theatre. Abroad, Claire has completed contracts in Spain, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Germany and America. She has entertained the British Forces in both Northern Ireland and the Falkland islands.

Pantomime Seasons have seen Claire at   Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre with David Essex and at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal with Bobby Davro and the following year with Little & Large and most recently at Darlington’s Civic Theatre with Paul Shane.

Claire is delighted to be back at the Grand Theatre this Summer with Rock with Laughter.

Brochure pageRachael Ellis

Rachael Ellis trained at Laine Theatre Arts. She was born in Scotland and at an early age moved to Chelmsford. She commenced her professional career at the age of eight, when she featured as a Diddyman in the Ken Dodd Show! Rachael was a member of the Chelmsford Ballet company, in which she performed many ballets including The Nutcracker, Napoli and Les Sylphides and Coppelia. Television credits include two appearances on the 6 O’clock Live Show and as a Sky Striker for the Premier League. Rachael has modelled for several Jeans companies and has become a qualified dance teacher and aerobics instructor. Having done a variety of shows, she has been lucky enough to work alongside people such as Joe Pasquale, Billy Pearce, Dora Bryan, Sheila Ferguson and…. Take That! She was even sent out to Bosnia to entertain the Troops!

After doing Pantomime 1995 in Darlington, Rachael worked a contract in Portugal. She Is now cruising between Newcastle and Norway and she is looking forward to doing her Summer Season in Blackpool.

Andrew Campbell

Nineteen year old Andrew comes from Luton in Bedfordshire, and has just completed a three year performing arts course at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London.

Credits include Chalk for BBC TV, Trans world sport, Ski Yoghurt and Breakfast Television. Andrew has appeared in numerous Pantomimes including Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White all at Luton and Cinderella at Borehamwood. Andrew also appeared in The Nutcracker at Borehamwood, and has danced at numerous venues including the Alexandra Palace.

Suzanne Lines

Since finishing her course at the Performers Dance College, Suzanne has performed in numerous Summer Seasons and Pantomimes which have taken her the length and breadth of the country, working with celebrities such as Ken Dodd (London Palladium), Su Pollard (Bristol Hippodrome), Wayne Sleep (London Dance Festival), Cannon & Ball (North Pier & Opera House, Blackpool) Jim Davidson (UK Tour of Sinderella) to name but a few.

Suzanne has also had the privilege of working in front of the camera on a number of television shows, one of which took her to Belgium for the Golden Eye Awards, dancing alongside Cliff Richard and Kylie Minogue. Another from the list includes two Clive James Reviews with Jason Donovan, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Tom Jones.

She has also performed several seasons in Blackpool with Shows at the North Pier, The Tower Ballroom, The Opera House, The Mystique Show and last year at the Grand Theatre in That’s Showbiz. Over the winter period Suzanne was in Wolverhampton doing pantomime and has recently toured Germany with Bobby Davro. She is happy to be back once again at The Grand Theatre, for this year’s summer season, Rock With Laughter.

Alison Reid

Alison Reid is from Berkshire and trained at the Linda Butler Academy of Classical Dance and the London College of Dance and Drama. Alison has worked as professional dancer for 6 years and is a qualified dance teacher and choreographer.

Her choreographic credits include Pantomimes, Cabaret, Hair and Fashion Shows and most recently for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Alison’s first professional engagement was in the Canary Islands and then she went onto the high seas with Chandris Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. She has danced her way around Alaska, Mexico, the Panama Canal, Africa, the Caribbean and throughout Europe.

As well as performing in the Broadway/Las Vegas style Revue shows, Alison has shared the stage with Jerry van Dyke, The Platters and Kelly Monteith. Rock with Laughter is her first summer season in England and Alison is delighted to be part of the cast at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool.

Brochure pageArtist Management Group

Artist Management Group is the largest broad based Entertainment Company in the UK.

On the live stage AMG Productions co-produces 35 number one pantomimes in a successful longstanding partnership with Paul Elliott’s E & B Productions. This year the e&b/amg Pantomime Season features a bigger star line-up than ever Including Russ Abbot, Cannon and Ball, Bobby Davro, Lesley Joseph, Joe Pasquale, Rolf Harris and Mr Motivator, to name just a few!

The Company leads the field in Summer Season productions with star shows in virtually all major resorts. Blackpool Grand represents the Company’s Flagship Summer Show, and tonight’s Rock With Laughter 96 is the ninth consecutive AMG/Grand Theatre collaboration. The Company has enjoyed a long successful relationship with Haven Holidays and this year over 25 Holiday Centres are playing AMG shows.

AMG Television has co-produced The Chuckle Brothers new BBC TV series To Me To you currently transmitting. The Company has been commissioned by GMTV to produce 26 Mole in The Hole programmes currently in production. The Company also has a newly formed independent Radio production arm presently working on various new commissions.

AMG Representation handles a broad talent base of Artists, Writers and Producers Including Danny Baker, Victor Lewis Smith and Barry Humphries across the spectrum to Bobby Davro, The Chuckle Brothers and many household name broadcasters.

Artist Management Group has offices in London’s Covent Garden and a large productions centre in Scarborough, housing £1m worth of sets, lighting and costumes together with the necessary workshops and administration office.

Nick Thomas – Producer

1996 is Nick Thomas’ fifteenth year as a Producer. As Managing Director of Artist Management Group he now controls the largest Entertainment Company in the UK, with interests’ in Theatre, Television, Radio and Artist Representation. Nick has homes in London and North Yorkshire with a wife and two children in one of them.

Jon Conway – Director

Every year over one million people see a ‘live’ show written by Jon Conway. At this rate, he believes that statistically speaking he should have made the whole nation laugh by the end of his career!

As the leading Light Entertainment Director, Jon is proud to have helped develop many of today’s comedy acts careers towards stardom. Bobby Davro, Brian Conley, Shane Richie, Billy Pearce and latterly Joe Pasquale have all worked under Jon’s guidance over many years.

Jon has staged over 100 major Pantomimes and comedy shows and has directed several Royal Galas including the Centenary Celebration Spectacular before Her Majesty the Queen here at The Grand.

Jon has become increasingly involved in AMG’S Television Production activities most recently with The Chuckle Brothers new BBC series To Me To You and the forthcoming GMTV Mole in The Hole series.

Born on Bertram Mills Circus, Jon’s early career spanned Circus through comedy magic to straight acting in TV soaps! Less of a nomad these days, Jon and his wife Nicky Hooper divide their time between homes in London and Scarborough.

Andy Walmsley

Andy’s career began at the age of just 15 when he designed a television series of The Paul Daniels Show.

In 1988 Andy made his West End debut as production designer of the Musical Buddy making him the youngest designer ever to work in the West End. Andy then designed the Broadway production of Buddy and went on to design another 14 productions of the show worldwide.

Andy designed the Broadway, USA, Canadian and UK Touring productions of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers’ for the first time attempting both sets and costumes.

Other Musicals include Good Rockin Tonite (Strand Theatre), Oklahoma (Queens Theatre), imagine (Liverpool Playhouse), Only The Lonely (Piccadilly Theatre and 2 tours), Elvis (Prince of Wales) and the forthcoming west End Musical The Fly (set and costumes). Andy has also designed 14 Summer Season variety Shows, Paul Daniels (Prince of Wales Theatre and Maria Friedman (Whitehall Theatre).

In Television, Andy has recently designed Beadles Hot Shots (LWT), It’ll Be Alright on The Night 8 (LWT), Ten Ball (LWT), Dr Fox’s Video Jukebox (LWT), Paul Daniels Secrets (BBC), The 1995 Royal Variety Performance (LWT, Dominion Theatre), and more recently The Big, Big Talent Show (LWT).

This years production of Rock With Laughter marks Andy’s eighth consecutive Summer season at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.

Phil McCandlish

Phil McCandlish has worked in professional theatre since 1980 after two years at drama school. He started his career as Assistant Stage Manager at Liverpool Playhouse. After working at Oldham Coliseum and then the Duke’s Playhouse, Lancaster, he moved to become Stage Manager at the Young Vic, London. After a short spell working in television, he returned to theatre and has worked for Artist Management Group as Production Director since 1988. He started lighting while at drama school and has been the lighting designer on many projects including Musicals, Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Pantomime, and, of course, Summer Season.

Rick Coates

During a varied career, Rick has been privileged enough to work with a whole host of household names including Freddie Starr, Cannon and Ball, Norman Wisdom, Jim Davidson, The Nolans, The Krankies, Tony Christie, Tommy Steele, singer songwriter Gerard Kenny, Frank Carson, and the late Marti Caine.

His work has also included writing incidental music for radio and television and spells in the musical theatre on Les Miserables and Cats.

Since 1993, Rick has had the opportunity to assist Cannon and Ball in exporting their unique brand of comedy to the United States including engagements in Florida, Missouri and on tour.

Rick has been Musical Director on many pantomimes and summer seasons, the recent Granada TV series Live from the Lillydrome and the last two seasons has conducted the orchestra for the Lord Delfont Gala Tribute Concerts at the Blackpool Opera House. He is delighted to be once again working in his home town at the South Pier Theatre.

Rick is a keen golfer and tennis player and likes to spend his spare time watching his local football team Blackpool ‘Wren’ Rovers.