Gary Williams In Conversation
By Gary Williams
Singer and broadcaster Gary Williams chats with musical movers and shakers.
Star of the West End’s “Rat Pack”, Gary Williams has performed worldwide, from the BBC Concert Orchestra to the Melbourne Symphony, Bestival to Buckingham Palace. He wrote the performers’ bible ‘Cabaret Secrets’, recorded at Abbey Road and was profiled in the Sunday Times' ‘Fame and Fortune’ section. He has presented four original Podcasts, and shows for BBC Radio 2, The Wireless and Jazz FM.
Star of the West End’s “Rat Pack”, Gary Williams has performed worldwide, from the BBC Concert Orchestra to the Melbourne Symphony, Bestival to Buckingham Palace. He wrote the performers’ bible ‘Cabaret Secrets’, recorded at Abbey Road and was profiled in the Sunday Times' ‘Fame and Fortune’ section. He has presented four original Podcasts, and shows for BBC Radio 2, The Wireless and Jazz FM.
Are All Entertainers Needy Egomaniacs?
Today we answer the question that the husbands, wives and significant others of singers and actors have been asking themselves for decades: Are all entertainers needy egomaniacs? I'm delighted to bring together two stellar performers: Anna-Jane Casey, one of the UK's most successful and beloved West End stars appearing in West Side Story, Mack and Mabel, and Spamalot to name a few; and Jon Nickoll, resident piano entertainer of The Savoy who has performed for President Bill Clinton, sung with Amy Winehouse and has been pelted with peanuts by the Royal Family.
March 25, 2021
Singer Shane Hampsheir talks about thriving in lockdown
Singer Shane Hampsheir opens up about coping with Covid in the UK and how he is keeping his voice in trim and his fans happy.
March 17, 2021
Are cruise ships safe now? Travelling and entertaining on the MSC Grandiosa during Covid with Karl Lornie
Is cruising safe now? Are cruise ships actually safer than being on land? Karl Lornie from tribute band Beatles Celebration is performing on the MSC Grandiosa and tells us what it’s like cruising and working on a cruise ship during the Covid-19 pandemic. We talk about the safety measures on board, when masks need to be worn, one-way systems, how the buffet works, and testing requirements for guests before boarding. Karl also tells us what it’s like working as an entertainer on board, medical requirements, length of contacts, how many shows they need to do and when entertainers need to quarantine. The ship’s home port is Genoa. It’s doing 7 day cruises, calling only at Italian ports and guests can only leave the ship on an organised tour. After the interview, Karl told me that in one port a small group of guests decided to take themselves off to a restaurant and for that they were denied boarding. It’s reassuring to know the cruise line is taking it very seriously.
September 26, 2020
Singer Christina Bianco talks openly about life in lockdown
I last interviewed Christina Bianco in Edinburgh back in 2014. As you can tell, I am a big fan. Her singular voice and comedic charm have brought audiences around the world to their feet. Bianco captured international acclaim as a YouTube sensation with her ‘diva’ impression videos, gaining over 24 million views. Dubbed ‘the girl of a thousand voices,’ Christina has performed on major television programs such as The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Meredith Vieira Show, The Queen Latifah Show & The Today Show, in the US alone. We talk about how we are coping with the Coronavirus and how to make the most of the time at home and we even get guests appearances from Liza Minelli, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand, thanks to Christina's amazing voice.
May 03, 2020
West End star Anna-Jane Casey talks openly about coping with lockdown
West End star Anna-Jane Casey talks about surviving during lockdown in this very candid interview. Singer, dancer, actor Anna-Jane Casey has began her career in Cats at 16 and went on to perform in numerous shows including West Side Story, Sunday in the Park With George, Mack and Mabel, Spamalot, Billy Elliot, Forbidden Broadway and Chicago, to name a few. She's performed for the Proms in concert with John Wilson and you may have seen her in EastEnders, The Bill, Heartbeat and Holby City. We talk about how we are coping with the Coronavirus and how to make the most of the time at home.
May 01, 2020
Prints for India's Sam Beech talks about helping victims of Covid 19
The lockdown implemented in India as a result of Covid-19 created a humanitarian crisis overnight, with millions of day labourers and migrant workers suddenly trapped with no resources or income. Many fear starvation above contracting the virus. Prints for India is a limited-time photographic print sale showcasing work shot in India by a diverse collective of photographers. The initiative has been set up by Sam and four friends who met on a photography workshop in India, and aims to raise funds to aid some of those in India hit hardest by the virus. For more details on this initiative go to http://www.printsforindia.com
April 29, 2020
Pianist Eric Yves Garcia talks openly about Covid 19 and living in New York
Eric Yves Garcia is a New York based singer, pianist, writer and actor. The Wall Street Journal described his shows as “... Incredibly moving and very funny—often both at the same time." He's performed his cabaret in New York, London, Paris and beyond. We talk about how we are coping with the Coronavirus and how to make the most of the time at home.
April 28, 2020
MAD fundraiser Melanie Tranter on the impact of the Covid 19 on performers
The Make A Difference Trust (trading as TheatreMAD) was founded in 2008 by Melanie Tranter, David Pendlebury and Julian Bird, establishing the first official stand-alone Charity to coordinate the theatre community’s fundraising and grant making for HIV and AIDS. In recognition of the theatre industry’s long term fundraising efforts, MAD set up The Make A Difference Trust Hardship Fund to support people in the theatre industry affected by long term chronic illness. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
April 27, 2020
CBSO Chief Exec Stephen Maddock talks openly about the impact of Covid 19
CBSO Chief Exec Stephen Maddock talks openly about the impact of Covid 19 on the CBSO and orchestra throughout the world.
April 26, 2020
Ventriloquist Gary Hunter talk about Covid on cruise ships
Ventriloquist Gary Hunter talk about Covid on cruise ships. He’s been performing professionally since 1975, when he boarded his first cruise ship in the port of Miami. Hundreds of cruises later with stops in over 165 countries he has visited some of the most famous sites in the world, all because he "Works with Dummies". In 2014, he was voted Best Cruise Director by Porthole Cruise Magazine.
April 26, 2020
West End star Jacqui Scott on the impact Covid 19 and cruise ships
West End star Jacqui Scott on the impact Covid 19 on entertainers and especially cruise ships. At the age of fifteen Jacqui Scott became the youngest winner of the first ever BBC talent show Rising Stars. This led to her own series for the BBC, performances for the Royal Family including three televised Royal Variety Performances in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Princess Margaret. She has a regular slot on BBC Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night and has starred in the West End playing the leading roles of Ellen in Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Grizabella in Cats - both on tour and at the New London Theatre, and Eva Peron in Evita. Other theatre credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Misérables and Nunsense.
April 24, 2020
Clemmie Haynes from the Crazy Coqs on coping with the Covid 19 in London
Clemmie Haynes from the Crazy Coqs on coping with the Covid 19 in London and the inpact on the cabaret scene.
April 23, 2020
Musician Harry The Piano talks openly about coping with lockdown
Musician Harry The Piano talks openly about coping with lockdown. Harry has earned a reputation as one of the most gifted improvising pianists in the world and promises his audiences any tune in any style at the drop of a hat. His shows have taken him from the Moulin Rouge, to the Royal Albert Hall and numerous appearances on BBC Radio. One of his YouTube videos has over 1.7 million views.
April 21, 2020
Singer Peter Grant talks opening about his career and life in lockdown
Singer Peter Grant talks opening about his career and life in lockdown with Covid 19. At 17, Peter Grant recorded his first album 'New Vintage' and entered at no. 8 in the UK Albums Chart. After chat show appearances with Michael Parkinson, Davina McCall and GMTV it went gold. Since then has has continued making music and performing sell-out shows all over the world. Saying he loves making music but hates the music business, he lives in Spain where he works from his home studio.
April 20, 2020
Theatre Digs Booker founder Phil Barley on the impact of Covid 19
Theatre Digs Booker founder Phil Barley on the impact of Covid 19. After working as an actor in musical theatre productions like Beauty and the Beast, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Rat Pack, Phil Barley founded TheatreDigsBooker.com - the UK’s number one Theatre Accommodation website.
April 17, 2020
Juggler Pete Matthews talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Juggler Pete Matthews talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Widely recognised as the UK’s Premier Comedy Juggler, Pete’s early career kick started in 1990 with TV appearances on “Barrymore” and “You Bet!” He blends high energy comedy and technical skill to create an unforgettable show. Saying Pete Matthews is just another juggler is like saying London is just another city!
April 16, 2020
Photographer Ian Weldon talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Photographer Ian Weldon talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. He has made his name as a wedding photographer – but in a very particular style, breaking traditions by employing his discipline as a documentary photographer. In 2019 he had a solo exhibition at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, where his work is also now held in the permanent collection.
April 15, 2020
Singer Carl Draper talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Singer Carl Draper talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Carl is a singer-songwriter based in New York. Theatre credits include Kiss Me Kate (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Oklahoma! (Paramount Theatre Aurora), Carousel (Lyric Opera of Chicago), West Side Story (Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace) and a soloist for Crystal Cruises.
April 14, 2020
Photographer Verity Fitzgerald talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Photographer Verity Fitzgerald talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Verity is a commercial photographer based in cape town, focusing on advertising and lifestyle, working on TV commercials to feature films. Past clients include: Nestlé, Garnier (Russia), Zurich Insurance (UK), GlaxoSmithKline/GSK (Global) and Sony Pictures (USA).
April 13, 2020
Singer Glenn Macnamara talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Singer Glenn Macnamara talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Scottish born Glenn Macnamara has performed in front of royalty at Hampton Court Palace, sung at The Dorchester and Savoy hotels, Ronnie Scott's and Birdland Jazz Club in New York. He has shared a stage with Sinatra’s guitarist Lino Patruno and toured in a Rat pack tribute show.
April 10, 2020
Producer Mark Halliday talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Producer Mark Halliday talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. I first met Mark on tour with The Rat Pack. After a stint in the West End's Jersey Boys, he carved out a new career as a producer of shows. Now, his company presents 100s of shows every day including tributes to Dusty Springfield, Michael Bublé, Abba, a disco show and many more.
April 09, 2020
Vocal coach Richard Halton talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Vocal coach Richard Halton talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Richard has played the title role in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London and Ravenal in Showboat, which he performed for nearly two years on national tour and twice at The London Palladium. He now works with his wife, Julie, teaching a variety of singers on a one-to-one basis as well as directing choirs and musicals.
April 08, 2020
Producer Libby Battaglia talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Producer Libby Battaglia talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Libby was one of the first agents to book me for large cruise ships. Nowadays she creates and produces remarkable public art projects by collaborating with some of the world's leading lighting designers, engineers, programmers, mathematicians, film-makers and more. If you're on the south coast of the UK you may have seen her work in the annual “Light Up Poole” event.
April 07, 2020
Fixer and journalist Ravi Mishra talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Fixer and journalist Ravi Mishra talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Ravi's clients include National Geographic, The New York Times, TIME, APT (American Public Television), NBC Universal, Channel 4, Vice on HBO, Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel, Getty Images, Associated Press, The Sydney Morning Herald, and more.
April 06, 2020
Big band leader Joe Pettitt talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Bass player, teacher and big-band leader Joe Pettitt talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Joe has worked with the Ronnie Scott's Big Band, the John Wilson Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and South Bank Symphony Orchestra. If that wasn't enough he's also travels the country as the leader of the Len Phillips Big Band.
April 05, 2020
Stride pianist Judy Carmichael talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Stride pianist Judy Carmichael talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Judy is a Grammy nominated American jazz pianist who hosts her own nationally syndicated radio show in the States. The London Times called her “a player of extraordinary accomplishment who has made stride piano relevant again” and the New York Times declared her “astounding, flawless and captivating.” She's met legends like Sinatra, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan and Antonio Carlos Jobim, to name a few.
April 04, 2020
Singer, comedian, actor Allan Stewart talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Singer, comedian, actor Allan Stewart talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Allan has appeared in numerous pantomimes throughout the UK but for the last 20 years he has topped the bill in pantomime at the Kings Theatre Edinburgh. He performed lead roles in the West End and on TV he has appeared in two Royal Variety Shows before the Queen and Prince Phillip, hosted Chain Letters quiz show for Tyne Tees, four LWT series of Copy Cats and his own shows for Scottish television.
April 03, 2020
Magician Hector Ruiz talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Magician Hector Ruiz talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Hector has performed on numerous TV shows, such as “Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde” (Paris,France), “O domingao do Faustao” (Brazil) and “Penn and Teller’s Fool Us!” (Las Vegas, USA). When not on TV, he brings his beautiful show with its jaw-dropping illusions to theatres and cruise ships all over the world, and tours with international magic productions, such as “The Illusionists, Live from Broadway”.
April 02, 2020
Producer Justin Stucey talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Producer Justin Stucey talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. An adventure-filled career path has led Event Producer Justin Stucey around the globe to learn and work with organisations like Santa Fe Opera, MTV, Princess Cruises, BMW Americas and more.
April 01, 2020
Comedian Brian Conley talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Comedian Brian Conley talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Over his 40 year career Brian has presented the Royal Variety Performance eight times, starred in multiple award-winning television sitcoms and in the West End, he has played the lead role in musicals such as Me and My Girl, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hairspray, Oliver!, The Music Man, Barnum and Jolson for which he was nominated for a prestigious Laurence Olivier Award.
March 31, 2020
Singer songwriter Jon Nickoll talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown
Singer songwriter Jon Nickoll talks openly about coping with Covid 19 lockdown. Jon went from busking on street-corners to being the youngest ever resident musician at The Savoy Hotel. He's a singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist. He's made countless radio, TV and film appearances. He's performed for President Bill Clinton, hung out with Sex Pistols, sung with Amy Winehouse and Paul McCartney and has been pelted with peanuts by the Royal Family.
March 30, 2020
In Conversation with Ava Astaire
Ava Astaire is the daughter of the Hollywood legend Fred Astaire. He made 31 musicals, was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of Old Hollywood by the American Film Institute, and introduced numerous standards to the Great American Songbook like The Way You Look Tonight, Puttin on the Ritz, Cheek to Cheek, Night and Day, They Can't Take That Away to name a few. In this interview Ava shares tells me about being her father's chauffeur (before she could drive), where the top hat image came from, and why his was famous as a practical joker.
January 26, 2017
In Conversation with Christopher Biggins
Christopher Biggins has appeared in the West End show Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and on British television classics like Porridge and Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em but he's probably best known for his work as a presenter for shows like On Safari and Surprise Surprise with Cilla Black. He's gone from being voted 'the most hated man on TV' to winning I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. In this interview he tells me why he loves a good party, what was special about Margaret Thatcher and how he came to be Frank Sinatra's bodyguard.
January 18, 2017
In Conversation with Jeffrey Archer
P is for Penthouse. That’s where I found Jeffrey Archer, in his famous penthouse apartment on the Thames flanked by his Monet, Lowry and Picassos. He welcomed me into his home to record an interview for my In Conversation podcast. It’s like Desert Island Discs only I get to ask the questions. After a brief tour of his multi-million pound art collection (“Shoes off in the bedroom please, Mary’s concerned about the Chinese carpet”) we settled down to business. I’ve interviewed over 130 people and my goal is always to find something new, get them off-script, willing to share a secret or two. Jeffrey Archer’s a tough nut to crack. He’s had too many people like me wheedling him for a juicy bit of gossip. His friend, Barrie Humphries said, “We all, to some extent, reinvent ourselves. Jeffrey’s just gone to a bit more trouble.” I ask Jeffrey what he meant by that and he flatly tells me, “I have no idea”. “What did your wife mean when she said fidelity isn’t important in a marriage?” “I have no idea”. Not a man to dwell on past mistakes (or even acknowledge them) Jeffrey Archer has plenty to feel happy about. He’s healthy, wealthy and has the satisfaction of being one of the country’s most successful writers. Not bad for a working class boy from the West Country. Say what you like about him but to many he’s a modern day hero, a survivor, living proof of the power of hard work and unshakable self-belief.
January 11, 2017
In Conversation with Hannah Waddingham
Hannah Waddingham has been nominated for three Olivier Wards, wowed the critics in shows like Spamalot, A Little Night Music and the Wizard of Oz. You may have seen her on television in Benidorn, Miss Marple and recently the Game of Thrones. One critic said she has “slender legs, perfect pitch and a full-pearled smile.” In this interview she tells me why she's never has a singing lesson, the special appeal of playing Tonya Dyke and how The Game of Thrones changed her life.
January 04, 2017
In Conversation with Jay Rayner
Jay Rayner is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster. He writes about crime, politics, the arts and fashion but he first love is food and fortunately for him he's the restaurant critic for The Observer. You might have seen him on Masterchef, Eating with the Enemy, and Channel 4's Despatches and he's the host of Radio 4's The Food Cabinet. He also loves to play the piano. In this interview he talks about his years as a seasoned newspaper hack, playing the piano, the advantages of celebrity and what it was like growing up with an agony aunt for a mum.
December 28, 2016
In Conversation with Bobby Crush
Bobby Crush made it big in 1972 when he won six appearances on the ITV talent show, Opportunity Knocks. He won the Variety Club's award for 'Best New Artist' and starred at the London Palladium alongside Jack Jones, Vic Damone and Julie Andrews. Since then he's toured all over the world, won two gold discs and brought Liberace back from the dead. A couple of years ago he celebrated his 60th birthday with a gala concert in London's West End. We talk about the highs and lows of show-business, why he stayed in the closet so long, drinking champagne with Julie Andrews, and why he's a self confessed applause junkie.
December 14, 2016
In Conversation with Jonathan Nickoll
Jonathan Nickoll went from busking on street-corners to being the youngest ever resident musician at The Savoy Hotel. He's a singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist. He's made countless radio, TV and film appearances. He's performed for President Bill Clinton, hung out with Sex Pistols, sung with Paul McCartney and has been pelted with peanuts by the Royal Family. We talk about the highs and lows of entertaining in London's five stars hotels, singing with Paul McCartney and why Amy Winehouse was told to stop singing.
December 07, 2016
In Conversation with David Knight
David Knight is a hypnotist with over twenty-five years experience and five-thousand shows to his credit. He's worked in forty-eight Countries around the world and has hypnotised over 50,000 volunteers and counting. I interviewed David right after he'd brought me out of a hypnotic trance. We discuss the validity of clinical hypnotherapy, the fear of cheese, and why it took an appearance on MTV for his kids to think he was cool.
November 23, 2016
In Conversation with Matt Ford
Matt Ford is an award-winning vocalist performing for big bands and orchestras like the Halle, the Philharmonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and John Wilson's fabulous orchestra as seen at The Proms. He is widely regarded as the finest big band singer in the UK with numerous albums to his name including projects at Abbey Road Studios. He tells me about his first time singing with a big band and why it took five hundred shows before he got the hang of it, why he left the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, and the joys (and tears) of singing for John Wilson.
October 23, 2016
In Conversation with West End Star, Anna Jane Casey
Anna Jane Casey is as much a fixture in London's West End as The Groucho Club and the Angus Steakhouse. She made her West End debut at just 16 years old as Rumpleteazer in Cats and since then she's performed in Grease, Starlight Express, On Your Toes, Mack and Mable, Chicago, Spamalot, Billy Elliot, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium and many more. In this interview she talks about joining the cast of Cats as at young girl, meeting her husband in West Side Story, making her debut with the John Wilson Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall and why you should have your kids when you're young.
October 12, 2016
In Conversation with Guy Barker
Guy Barker comes from true showbiz stock – his mum is an actress and his dad was a stuntman. He's recognised as one of the UK's finest trumpet players and has worked with such varied names as Wham, Erasure, Kajagoogoo, Sammy Davis, Liza Minelli, Gill Evans, Clare Teal, Quincy Jones, George Benson and Oscar Peterson. He was awarded an MBE for services to jazz but happily crosses over into classical music. In this interview he tells me about meeting his childhood hero, working with Matt Damon, and the benefits of meditation. He dispels a famous myth about Miles Davis and shares the joy of working with Frank Sinatra.
September 21, 2016
In Conversation with Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is an author, archivist, singer and conductor. Since his close working relationship with Ira Gershwin he's become well established as the world's ambassador for the Great American Songbook. His albums have gone platinum and he's been nominated for five Grammy Awards. In this interview we talk about his friendship with Johnny Mathis, singing for Leonard Bernstein and meeting Frank Sinatra. He shares his appreciation for the generosity of the stars who helped him on his way like Ira Gershwin, Rosemary Clooney and Dinah Shore and reveals what made Andrew Lloyd-Webber snap.
September 14, 2016
In Conversation with Lorna Dallas
Lorna Dallas has performed for every member of the British Royal Family. She's worked with The Metropolitan Opera, Bob Hope and Barry Manilow for which she was nominated for an Emmy. She came to London to star in the revival of Showboat with Cleo Laine and remained here to star in The King and I, Kismet, Side By Side By Sondheim and many more. The New York Observer said her voice “wraps itself around theatrical gems with the warmth of a mink stole,” and John Dankworth called her, “one if the very finest American vocalists of her style and generation”. In this interview we talk about her work in musical theatre, chatting with Jackie Stewart on Concorde, and what to wear when having lunch with Yul Brynner.
August 31, 2016
In Conversation with Chris Dean
Chris Dean began his career as a boy soldier in the Household Cavalry. His first job as a freelance musician was playing lead trombone at the London Palladium so after he joined the Syd Lawrence Orchestra and he's been running the band for the last twenty years. He's recorded on numerous film scores including Superman, Out of Africa, Basic Instinct, Never Say Never Again, The Living Daylights and Batman. You can hear him on albums with Eric Clapton, Westlife, Wet Wet Wet and Queen. We talk about this late start as a singer, his close working relationship with Robert Farnon and working with stars like George Shearing, John Williams, Don Lusher, George Benson, Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, Henry Mancini and Natalie Cole. A true musician, he told me the best thing about working with Frank Sinatra was getting to play with his drummer Irv Cottler.
August 24, 2016
In Conversation with chef, Andrew Pern
Andrew Pern is a largely self-taught chef whose hearty northern dishes have been influenced by Paul Heathcote, Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White. People come from far and wide to eat at his Michelin starred restaurant The Star Inn at Harome. As well as the local farmers, his happy customers include the Stereophonics, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew. Michel Roux calls him, “The one who got away”. In this interview he talks about winning the Michelin star, working under pressure, growing up on a farm in Whitby and how, by a strange turn of fate, his mother's M.S. gave him the chance to find his vocation.
July 27, 2016
In Conversation with Judy Carmichael
Judy Carmichael is a Grammy nominated American jazz pianist who hosts her own nationally syndicated radio show in the States. She's become something of an expert at stride piano so much so that the London Times called her “a player of extraordinary accomplishment who has made stride piano relevant again” and the New York Times declared her “astounding, flawless and captivating.” In this interview we talk about how she literally ran into Frank Sinatra, what she learned from Robert Redford and Billy Joel, listening to records with Sarah Vaughan, making friends with Antonio Carlos Jobim, what stride piano actually is, and how a blond surfer girl met the legendary Count Basie.
June 15, 2016
In Conversation with Richard Shelton
Richard Shelton is an actor and singer probably best known for playing the charmingly murderous role of Dr Adam Forsythe in Emmerdale. He also won 'Best Actor in a Leading Role' for his portrayal of Frank Sinatra the West End show Rat Pack Confidential and you also might have seen him in the West End production of Mamma Mia. He's recorded solo albums at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and Abbey Road Studios in London.
June 08, 2016
In Conversation with producer Mike Vernon
Mike Vernon is a legendary name in British blues. He produced John Mayall's groundbreaking 'Beano' album 'Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton', Albatross with Peter Green and very early Fleetwood Mac. He later diversified with names like Level 42, David Bowie, Focus and Olli Brown. In this interview we talk about how he achieved his signature “live” sound in the studio, working with Bowie, finding a new career fronting a band, and which artiste made him come out of retirement.
June 01, 2016
In Conversation with Jeremy King OBE
In 2014 Jeremy King, was awarded an OBE and is quite rightly hailed as one of the country's most successful restaurateurs. With his business partner Chris Corbin he's been responsible for Le Caprice, the Ivy, Brasserie Zedel, and the Wolseley - officially the most successful restaurant London has ever seen. His happy customers have included movie stars, royalty and great artistes. A keen supporter of the arts, he's on the boards of the Soho Theatre, the Chelsea Arts Club and driving force behind's London's most stylish cabaret room, The Crazy Coqs. He likes to a touch of theatre to the dining experience saying, when it's close to opening time “everybody gets into costume, does their make-up and then performs. It’s showtime”. In this interview we talk about singing with Lucian Freud, how to handle a bad review, the secret to a happy marriage, Meryl Streep's star quality and trusting his future to the throw of the dice.
May 18, 2016
In Conversation with Kevin Kennedy
As a singer with his own band, Kevin Kennedy has toured all over the world, winning a gold disc along the way and a lot of fans, including Simon Cowell. But he is best known as an actor and for playing the role of Curly Watts in Coronation street for 20 years. After successfully battling alcohol addiction he began a new phase of his career in musical theatre and for some time he's been performing the role of Pop in Ben Elton's We Will Rock You, both in the West End and touring the UK. Now he's taken the role onto one of the world's largest cruise ships, The Anthem of the Seas.
May 04, 2016
In Conversation with Pete Matthews
With his infectious enthusiasm, his rapid-fire wit and highly skilled juggling, Pete Matthews will no doubt change your opinion of jugglers. Widely recognised as the UK’s Premier Comedy Juggler, Pete’s early career kick started in 1990 with TV appearances on “Barrymore” and “You Bet!” He blends high energy comedy and technical skill to create an unforgettable show. Saying Pete Matthews is just another juggler is like saying London is just another city!
April 27, 2016
In Conversation with actor Bruce McGill
Bruce McGill is an actor who just never stops working. His breakthrough role was playing "D-Day" in Animal House, since then he's played Jack Dalton on MacGyver, Sheriff Farley in that brilliant film My Cousin Vinny, he's also appeared in Cliffhanger, Legally Blonde 2, Cinderella Man, Family Guy, Vantage Point, Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and Law & Order. In this interview we discuss why he is happily child free, his love of guitars, the joy of downsizing and what it's like to work on Family Guy with Seth McFarlaine. He tells me what it's like to audition for Stephen Spielberg, why it took 70 takes to nail the courtroom scene in The Insider and his breakthrough role in Animal House – the first comedy to gross over $100 million dollars. He even reprises his famous rendition The William Tell Overture... on his windpipe.
April 20, 2016
In Conversation with Michael Freedland
Michael Freedland is a British biographer, journalist and broadcaster. He's written for The Sunday Telegraph, The Spectator, The Guardian, The Observer and The Economist but he's probably best known for his biographies of Hollywood and its stars – and he's written over 40 of them, including a definitive tome on Frank Sinatra. His book on Al Jolson was eventually turned into a West End Musical and he's written and presented programmes for Radio 2 about Elvis Presley, Bob Hope and Judy Garland. On McCarthyism he told me, “It was as much anti-Semitic as it was anti-communist.” We discuss loosing his faith and why Gene Kelly was, "the most boring man I ever met".
April 13, 2016
In Conversation with Kenny Kramer
Kenny Kramer is an American stand-up comedian and the inspiration for the character of Cosmo Kramer from the television sitcom Seinfeld. The show's co-creator Larry David lived across the hall from Kenny for six years, just as the character of Jerry Seinfeld did from Cosmo Kramer in the show. Many of Kenny's traits, such as the obsession with golf, fruit, hot tubs, taking things out of the refrigerator and coming up with strange ideas and inventions, were featured in the show. In this podcast he shares the inside scoop of how the character came to life, his love of Bruce Springsteen and his new career hosting Kramer's Reality Tour in New York.
April 06, 2016
In Conversation with Georgina Jackson
The critical success of her first album led to Georgina Jackson landing her dream job as resident singer with the Ronnie Scotts Jazz Orchestra, were she performs most months. With support from Jazz FM (CD of the week) and Sir Michael Parkinson Till There Was You climbed to number 8 in the HMV Jazz Charts. Georgina's long awaited second album Watch What Happens (recorded at Abbey Road studios) was released in June 2012 and the London Evening Standard awarded it CD of the week. The album's first single 'Change Partners' shot to number one in the iTunes Jazz Chart and the album fought the likes of Nina Simone and Miles Davies to get into the top five. In this interview Georgina tell me about her working relationship with her partner, sax supremo Pete Long, who she calls “an amazing musical talent”, she shares her story of recovery from cancer, and how one London jazz club offered her a gig on the condition she'd be less northern.
March 29, 2016
In Conversation with Lorna Luft
Lorna Luft is an American television, stage, and film actress and singer. She is the daughter of Judy Garland and Sid Luft, and the half-sister of Liza Minnelli. She made her show business debut at age 11 singing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" on the 1963 Christmas episode of her mother's CBS television series, The Judy Garland Show. Her theatre credits include Grease, Mame, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Guys and Dolls, Follies, Gipsy, White Christmas... the list goes on. In this interview she talks about working with legendary Broadway producer David Merrick in Promises Promises and carrying the torch of her mother's legacy. She shares stories about her friends Bobby Darrin, Barry Manilow and her godfather Frank Sinatra and tell me what it was like getting back on stage after her battle with cancer. “Happiness,” she told me, “is being here... being in the moment.”
March 23, 2016
In Conversation with Giles Terera
Giles Terera is an award winning actor, composer and a musician. He's appeared in numerous West End productions, and performed all over the world from Caesars Palace to the Royal Albert Hall. He co-wrote and presented a documentary about Shakespeare and is currently working on a new show with songwriter Leslie Bricusse about the life of Sammy Davis Jr.
March 09, 2016
In Conversation with Tim Flavin
Broadway and West End Theatre star Tim Flavin made his name as a song and dance man in shows like Crazy for You and My one and Only. Broadway productions include Happy New Year, Zorba, The Pirates Of Penzance and The Most Happy Fella. He was the first American actor to be presented with an Olivier Award for his performance in Rodgers and Hart’s On Your Toes. It was that performance that prompted the Scotsman to say, “When God created musicals, it was because he knew that Tim Flavin would come along”.
March 02, 2016
In Conversation with Elaine Delmar
Elaine Delmar's musical journey has taken her in many directions. She has made numerous radio and television broadcasts and concerts singing with small groups, big bands and symphony orchestras around the world, starring with Michel Legrand, Stephane Grappelli, Andy Williams, Benny Carter and Herb Ellis to mention but a few. In the 2006 BBC Jazz Awards she was nominated for Artist of the Year. Michael Parkinson described her as "One of the ageless, evergreen singing stars that we have … as beautiful and talented as ever”. Humphrey Littleton said she “Truly defines the word class” and the Sunday Observer said, “Among the multitude of good jazz singers in Britain today, there is not one who can surpass Elaine Delmar”.
February 17, 2016
In Conversation with Pete Long
Pete Long is one of the most popular and prolific musicians in London. He's played for Jamie Cullum, Georgie Fame, Jools Holland, Dionne Warwick and Clare Teal. As a band leader his happy customers include Sir Elton John, President Bill Clinton and Sir Richard Branson. He's got a secret passion for model aeroplanes and is a self appointed curry expert. In this interview he reveals his plan to save the lives of school children, why he almost became a professional steel drum player and his obsession with model aeroplanes.
February 10, 2016
In Conversation with Jeff Harnar
This week I'm in conversation with Cabaret legend Jeff Harnar, the man who Liza Minnelli said "performs with a joy that can only be called true style". Stephen Holden of The New York Times called him "The most important male cabaret performer since Michael Feinstein". The New York Post described one of his performances as "Gold from a 24 carat voice". He was named the Best Male Vocalist by BroadwayWorld.com and he's won 12 Noel Coward Foundation Cabaret Awards.
February 03, 2016
In Conversation with Harry The Piano
Harry the Piano has earned a reputation as one of the most gifted improvising pianists in the world and promises his audiences any tune in any style at the drop of a hat. His shows have taken him from the Moulin Rouge, to the Royal Albert Hall and numerous appearances on BBC Radio. One of his YouTube videos has over 1.7 million views.
December 23, 2015
In Conversation with Tony Fisher
This week seeing the centenary of Frank Sinatra and to celebrate we've got a very special guest. Tony Fisher is one of the UK's greatest trumpet players. The list of people he's worked reads like a roll call of legends. Ella Fitzgerald, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Sammy Davis Jr, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and of course Frank Sinatra. In fact there is so much to talk about it's an extended edition of In Conversation.
December 09, 2015
In Conversation with KT Sullivan
In theatre KT Sullivan has performed in tones of shows like The Threepenny Opera, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Annie Get Your Gun. But it's the world of cabaret that she's made her greatest impact. Since 2012 she's been the artistic director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation and she's made her name showcasing the music of the great American writers – Sondheim, Cole Porter, and Dorothy Fields. She's performed at the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and internationally in London, Paris, China and Australia. The New York Times described her as a “fearless and complex character actor”.
November 25, 2015
In Conversation with Richard Pite
Richard is a professional musician (drums, double bass, bass ukulele, tuba and sousaphone) and music historian specialising in the jazz of the early 20th Century. For many years he has studied 1920s music and worked passionately to preserve early jazz history through live performance. He is happy to be known as “the bastard love child of Ringo Star and Gene Krupa”. "Bing Crosby was the Johnny Rotten of his day" so says this week's special guest, Richard Pite. In this Podcast we talk about his forthcoming tribute concert to Paul Whiteman (click here for tickets), known as the King of Jazz, what Diana Rigg did for him after school, and why he believes jazz should be “a transport of delight”.
November 11, 2015
In Conversation with Kathryn Childers
Kathryn Childers was the first female American secret service agent. Her first assignment was looking after the Kennedy's. Since then she 18 years as a television interviewing over 18000 people including Dolly Parton, Lucille Ball and James Earl Jones. If all that that wasn't enough, she's published author.
October 14, 2015
In Conversation with Tom Lowe
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a pop-star chased by screaming fans? Well today's guest knows exactly what that feels like from person experience. As one half of the 90s boy band North and South Tom Lowe had hit records and a top rated TV show. Since then he's starred in West End productions of Les Miserables, Cats and Taboo. He was also the first non-US citizen to appear on American Idol.
September 16, 2015
In Conversation with Joe Stilgoe
Singer/songwriter Joe Stilgoe talks about fatherhood, performing at the Old Vic and his latest album.
August 08, 2015