The Alan Titchmarsh Show

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Bobby Ball appeared on The Alan Titchmarsh Show, ITV1 on 15th February 2010. He was talking about his Christmas appearance in The Fattest Man In Britain.

Other guests on the show were Sam and Doug Rao, Mitch Winehouse (father of Amy), Gloria Hunniford, James O’Brien and the Peoples Crooner panel of Tom Lewis, Carrie Grant and Pete Waterman.

Initially the show featured Alan talking to Bobby, Gloria and James together, talking about Valentines Day and maths.

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(Clip from the Fattest Man in Britain player)

Alan: Bobby Ball, playing it straight, well almost, in Caroline Aherne’s hit comedy drama. And Bobby’s here right now, along with Gloria Hunniford and James O’Brien.

(Alan stretches his red braces)

Alan: You haven’t got them on, have you? I’ll lend you mine later on.

Bobby: Thanks, Alan.

Alan: Braces are killing me. Right now then. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Sometimes it’ s good, sometimes it’s not so good. Was your Valentine’s Day a gift from Cupid or an arrow through your heart? Bobby, what was it? I mean, what’s the best Valentine you ever had? And what’s the worst?

Bobby: Well, the worst Valentine I ever had, I asked this girl at school. She was very… it was Valentine’s Day and I asked if I could take her on a Valentines Date. And she was very, very classy, very posh, top end of the school and everything. And I took her to the pictures and I had a plastic jacket on, it was supposed to be leather, and I had me collar up like that, like Elvis, you know? Posing and watching the picture, then the arm went round like that slowly, you know. And I leaned in like that to give her a kiss and as I went like that my collar went ‘boom’ right between us.

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Later the programme featured a one to one interview with Bobby

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Alan: My final guest today started playing alongside Tommy Cannon in one of the most memorable comedy duos of all time. His catch phrase Rock on Tommy became legendary. But last year he decided to play it straight opposite Timothy Spall in this Caroline Ahearne comedy drama.

(The Fattest Man in Britain clip)

Alan: Please welcome Bobby Ball (Bobby pulls braces) Yeah, I know she nicked him. I know.

Bobby:  They belong here. See, I don’t them as much now, Alan, because after 40 odd years of doing this, this bust is one foot bigger than this.

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Alan: You’ll be very, very careful, or getting your C cup sorted. That was a great programme. I sat down and watched it, working with Tim Spall. Now out on DVD. Is it a bit of a relief in a way, Bobby, when somebody else has done the lines and it’s someone like Caroline Ahearn who’s done them and you can just go and be that part rather than, you know, doing it all yourself, as it were?

Bobby:  Yes, but it’s harder in a way because you get, like, with Timothy Spall, all these great, you know, these actors and, oh, man, I was so nervous. Yeah, I was really nervous, you know. But he was great. And he said to me, Timothy, I said, I’m really nervous, Timothy, cause he’s mega ain’t he, and he said I’m nervous too. I said Why are you nervous? Because you’re Bobby Ball.  I said well you’re Timothy Spall. It was fantastic. We had a wonderful… we’re like a real little family and it was great.

Alan: People still presumably shout at you, Rock on, Tommy, don’t they?

Bobby: All the time, Rock on Tommy. Then they go How are you, Tommy. I say I’m Bobby. It’s cause I shout Rock on, Tommy, you know?

Alan: Ohh dear, do you keep up with your old oppo Tommy?

Bobby: With Tommy. Yeah. Yeah, he phoned me yesterday. He’s gone on holiday. He’s gone to Spain for two weeks.

Alan: He heard you were coming on the programme and thought he’d get out of the country.

Bobby: He did, he said I’m going to Spain. Yeah, all the time. We’ve just finished pantomine and we’re going to tour in a bit. So yeah, I’m always with him, you know?

Alan: Alright. So, I mean, this doesn’t mean that you’ve completely left the comedy circuit now then does it?

Bobby: Ohh no, not at all. No. I got offered this Fattest Man in Britain, Caroline said Will you do it? I’ve written this for you, I said. Yeah, I’d love to do. So no no, I would never leave Tommy, and I would never leave comedy, cause that’s where I am, you know? So how can I leave him. He keeps having kids. I’ve gotta keep working.

Alan: When you talk now to the pop singers who were pop stars, you know 20-30 years ago and ask them what they think of it now, they say it’s all so fast. Because they come and they go so quickly and you got people like Cliff have been in the business for 50-60 years, you know huge amount of time. How do you find now when you look at comedy nowadays?

Bobby: I think it’s like anything else. Everything moves on and moves in different circles, you know, but it will come back to variety. Maybe not in our time, but it will come back there. There’s some great comics knocking about today, so you know, that I really like.

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Alan: Who do you rate?

Bobby: I love Lee Evans.  I like Peter Kay. And do you know who else I like, you might think why, but I love Al Murray. And there’s a few I don’t like. I’m not gonna name them but there’s a few I don’t like. But there’s some I do like.

Alan: There’s a great… much more aggression it seems to me, in comedy now than there was. I mean, when you and Tommy were on the go you were taking the mickey out of one another, it was seldom directed at anybody else.

Bobby: That’s right. What we don’t have today in comedy is we don’t have variety in comedy cause all the comics that get up seem to do observation comedy. You know what I mean? When I’d love somebody to just stand there and tell me a joke. A proper joke.

Alan: Rather than Michael McIntyre’s type of thing which is thinking about it. Do you still collect them? Bob Monkhouse was famous, wasn’t he, he had this big book of jokes that he had written?

Bobby: He did, yeah. We don’t, with being a double act you see, we don’t actually do jokes. I do like jokes. Because we don’t them we do the double act thing, you know, when Tommy shouts at me. I’ll always remember, Tommy shouts… we did America and Tom is shouting at me You stupid person, saying at me, and a big guy in the middle of the audience stood up and said hey, leave the little guy alone.

Alan: But it’s always the one who is put upon who gets the audience sympathy isn’t it.

Bobby: But do you know, what people don’t know within a double act, it’s Tommy that’s the main one of the act cause he controls it. I’d just go off on tangents, but he keeps me level and he does all this, you see.

Alan: So it’s the same with Morecambe and Wise, you reckon? The same sort of thing? Ernie was the steerer, the one who steered it.

Bobby: Of course, the same. Steered it yeah.

Alan: But you didn’t start off as a comedy duo, did you? You started off as a music trio.

Bobby: Yeah, we did. Yeah. We started off as the Stan Moores trio. Which is difficult with two of us. I must just tell you this. I must tell you this. When you were on about Valentine’s and all that, we used to, at school we used to play a game with the girls in the class, spin the bottle. And if the bottle went on to you, they would either give you a shilling or give you a kiss. I owned my own house at 16.

Alan:  Well we’ll let you come back to work now and do a bit more. What are we gonna see you in the future? Are we gonna see you again on our screens.

Bobby: Yeah, we’ve got, I think we’re doing, me and my wife are doing Mr and Mrs.

Alan: Are you really?

Bobby: Yeah. There’s little odds and things in the in the pipeline, you know. I want some more straight activity if I can get it. I enjoyed that. Loved it.

Alan: After that performance in The Fattest Man, you’ll get it. It’s been a great pleasure to talk to you. Great fun watching it. Nice to have you back. Ladies and gentlemen. Bobby Ball.

Bobby: Thanks a lot mate. Thanks Alan. Thank you.

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