Radio comedy: Are the golden days gone?

The cast of ISIHAC

The regular cast of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue: (l-r) Tim Brooke-Taylor, Humphrey Lyttleton (chairman), Barry Cryer, Willie Rushton and Graeme Garden

The other day I wrote a piece about Week Ending the weekly satirical programme on BBC Radio 4. Little did I know that the next day Radio Times, my old journalistic alma mater, would publish the result of a poll it conducted to find the greatest radio comedy of all time.

Such lists are the food and drink of newspapers and magazines. Readers (especially me) love such lists. They make great fodder for a pub discussion. Or would do if the pubs were open. Still, there’s always the chance of a family argument.

Top of the list is I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue (ISIHAC), which I am very happy about as I think it’s one of the best things on radio. And it has been since 11 April 1972 when its first episode was broadcast.

This “antidote to panel games” grew from the much-loved sketch show I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again which starred John Cleese, David Hatch (later head of Managing Director of BBC Radio), Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie and Jo Kendal.

It doesn’t take much to see that I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again was the breeding ground for The Goodies and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Garden, Brooke-Taylor, Oddie and Kendal made up the four panellists of ISIHAC under the chairmanship of Barry Cryer, who became a long-running member of the panel. Humphrey Lyttleton became the chairman soon after Cryer and served as such until his death in 1996. His place was taken by Jack Dee after attempts by Stephen Fry and Rob Brydon in the chair for two shows each.

There are some who will argue that ISIHAC has lost a little of its bite with the cleaning up of its act. Gone are the double entendres about Lionel Blair. The round called ‘Sound Charades’ was regularly introduced by a joke at Blair’s expense.

(The experts’ expert on Give Us A Clue, was Lionel Blair. Who can ever forget opposing team captain Una Stubbs sitting open mouthed as he tried to pull off Twelve Angry Men in under two minutes!)

(The game is based on the TV show Give Us A Clue, where the teams score points by miming film titles against the clock, & who can forget that breathtaking finish when Lionel Blair came from behind and had Dirty Harry licked in under two minutes?)

Although the show toned down it smuttiness (something the programme makers deny they have done) it is still the funniest thing on radio. It has won three Gold Sony Awards and a Best British Comedy Award among others.

The Lionel Blair jokes have stopped and it is known that the 91-year-old actor, choreographer, tap dancer and television presenter grew tired of them.

The show has also featured since 1985 a silent scorer Samantha who sat on Lyttleton’s left hand and subsequently Dee’s. Samantha is silent because she doesn’t exist. But her “introduction” to the audiences at recordings of the programme are always met with great cheers.

She too is a source of some ribald remarks.

“Samantha has to nip out now with her new gentleman friend. Apparently, they’ve been working on the restoration of an old chest of drawers. Samantha is in charge of polishing, while he scrapes the varnish and wax off next to her.”

“Samantha has just started keeping bees, and already has three dozen or so. She says she’s got an expert handler coming round to give a demonstration. He’ll carefully take out her 38 bees… and soon have them flying round his head.”

“Samantha has to nip out now to spend time with her new gentleman friend. They’re going on a driving tour of Wales. She says he’s looking forward to showing her Cardiff and Cardigan Bay, before going on to Bangor in the back of his van.”

That’s the joy of radio. The written script, as above, may look innocent enough but when spoken takes on a whole different meaning.

Radio comedy may have seen its best days but we’re lucky because of various recordings on CD, we can enjoy many of them again. BBC Radio 4 Extra plays some the classic comedy shows but it chooses what you can hear and when you can hear it. For example, a show that thrilled me as a young boy every Sunday lunchtime was The Clitheroe Kid. It is also a glaring omission from Radio Times‘ 40 Best Radio Comedies. Oh, it’s listed on BBC Radio 4 Extra’s web presence but no episodes are available.

Also missing in Beyond Our Ken, although its sequel Round The Horne is there at No 3 (and rightly so).

Big fan as I was of Kenny Everett, why are his Radio 1and later Radio 2 shows included? They were not comedy programmes; they were a music shows presented by a very funny and inventive guy.

And do dramatisations and readings of comic works count as radio comedy? I don’t know and so the inclusions of Just William and What Ho, Jeeves are debatable.

But that’s the thing about lists, they are subject matter for debates. I feel sure the readers’ letters of Radio Times will be inundated with correspondence from readers whose own personal favourites have been omitted. I know my letter has already been sent in.

The top 20 shows as judged by the panel
1) I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue
2) Hancock’s Half Hour
3) Round the Horne
4) On the Hour
5) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
6) The Goon Show
7) Mark Steel’s in Town
8) Cabin Pressure
9) Blue Jam
10) John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme
11) Ed Reardon’s Week
12) Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show!
13) The Shuttleworths
14) The Kenny Everett Show
15) The News Quiz
16) Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge
17) Dead Ringers
18) Hello Cheeky
19) Ladies of Letters
20) The Ricky Gervais Show (with Karl Pilkington)

Putting words into David Jason’s mouth

A Del of a Life
David Jason  (Century)

Picture if you will three men sitting around a small round table reading aloud from A4 sheets of script. Their words are being picked up by a centrally placed microphone. The men are David Jason, Bill Wallis and Nigel Rees. They are recording a radio programme called Week Ending, a satirical sketch show for BBC Radio 4. It is 1975.

Bill Wallis, who had a deep baritone voice that sounded like vocal mahogany, was a character actor who went on to appear on television and in films. His distinctive voice meant he found plenty of work recording audiobooks too. He died in 2013.

Nigel Rees is a writer and broadcaster who presented serious news programmes on the BBC – including Radio 4’s Today programme – and ITV as well appearing in comedy shows on radio such as The Burkiss Way. But today he may be best known as the presenter of Radio 4’s Quote…Unquote, a gentle panel game about quotations. (Hence the show’s title.) Rees devised the programme, which has been broadcast regularly since January 1976.

David Jason needs no introduction…so I won’t give him one. Okay, I will then in case you’re reading this blog after having spent the past 45 years in some sort of lockdown with no access to media of any kind. Sir David John White, to give him his title and real name, is better known as David Jason…and Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter, Pa Larkin, Granville, Skullion, Inspector Jack Frost, Danger Mouse and many other great characters who have graced our television screens. (There, that’s an introduction.)

I have followed David Jason’s career from the early 1970s. I think I can say without fear of being contradicted that he hasn’t followed mine. To be fair, there is no reason why he should have.

He won’t remember, but I do, that I was one of many writers whose words were written on those A4 pages of script he was reading in the 1970s in that small BBC studio.

Week Ending was recorded every Friday morning for broadcast that same evening usually at about 11.15 (Some times later and some times earlier as the billing above shows.) It was a training ground for many of the great comedy writers on the second half of the 20th century (and even a few from the 21st).

Names such as David Renwick, Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin, David Baddiel, Colin Bostock-Smith, Al Murray and Paddy Murray* (no relation to Al) are just some of the few who also wrote for the show. Their names may not be ones known in every household but programmes such as One Foot In The Grave, Have I Got News For You, Drop The Dead Donkey, and I’m Alan Partridge must surely be.

As one of those who was a Week Ending contributor, I would occasionally attend the weekly recordings. I would squeeze into the small production booth beside the producer John Lloyd. There was no studio audience. The show was made in what I think was a basement studio just across the road from Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London.

When recording was completed, we would listen back to it. The cast would join us and that is how I met David Jason and when I started to follow his career. (That was when he could have started to follow mine, but he didn’t. Can’t think why. There were only hundreds of us budding writers that put words into his mouth.)

Jason recently published his third volume of memoirs, A Del Of A Life, which I have just finished reading. And enjoying. I know he hasn’t followed my career as I am not mentioned in this book. Nor am I in his previous two volumes, My Life (2013) and Only Fools and Stories (2017).

Jason’s memories of Week Ending are to be found his first volume My Life. The latest book A Del of a Life, is packed full of anecdotes about his early days as an actor (and as an electrician) – read the book to find out what’s that’s all about) and then various incidents through his life right up to today. Well, not actually today but up to about two months ago. (The book had to be edited and printed, you know.)

Despite my absence from these three volumes, I have no hesitation in recommending them to you, dear reader, if you haven’t read them before. (If you do consider buying any of these three books, why not click on the links below. That way I get credit for the sale, thank you very much.)

A small pedantic footnote. On page 179 of A Del Of A Life, writing about his fear that Only Fools and Horses might not get off the ground as ITV had just launched Minder, which some might have considered as covering the same ground, Jason says the ITV programme starred Dennis Waterman and John Thaw. It was George Cole who co-starred with Waterman in Minder. Thaw was in The Sweeney with Waterman. (I’ve already confessed to being a pedant.)

* Another note. You can follow the aforementioned Paddy Murray‘s blog by clicking on his name here.

Des O’Connor the nicest guy I’ve interviewed

Of all the showbusiness people I interviewed over the years, Des O’Connor (who died on 14 November 2020) was one of the nicest. If not the nicest.

My late wife once opened a piece she wrote about him with the sentence: “The man is extremely sexy, I have to mention that.” That might explain why he had four wives in his 88 years on this Earth.

It was sometime in the Spring of 1985 I was sent to Des’s flat near London’s Regents Park to interview him. The brief was that Des – who had just moved house and found a collection of old photographs – would guide me through his career in pictures. All I had to take do was to note down what he said with each picture.

An hour’s work, 90 minutes tops. It was dark when I left his home after nearly five hours of chatting and laughing. Des’s third wife Jay Rufer was there making us tea and laughing with us as well. They were still relatively newly-weds when I met them.

What struck me that day was the genuine warmth of the man. Also the amount of time he was prepared to spend talking to a journalist in his home.

He was also genuinely funny man. One-liners flowed out of him at a rate of knots. Few could have been rehearsed as he had no idea what picture I was going to thrust under his nose from the hundreds he had accumulated over his then 30-year career. He made Frank Carson look like a Trappist monk. (Not really, but it’s good line.)

I had gone to his home not expecting to get on with him. This was the guy who had foisted records such as Careless Hands, 1-2-3 O’Leary, I Pretend and the ridiculously named Dick-A-Dum-Dum on the charts between 1967 and 1969. He even reached No 1 with I Pretend. This at a time when most of us (well, me) were listening to The Small Faces, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Beach Boys. (Ah, happy days.)

Perhaps it’s a tribute to Des, in a way, that he managed to top the charts in those days. Not my sort of songs. But I ended up liking him a great deal.

But how did my wife, Martine Delamere, come to call him “extremely sexy”. She was an astrologer and for a time the resident star-gazer on TVTimes. As part of her job with the magazine, we would send her to interview various stars. These were stars who had been interviewed ad infinitum by the magazine so a new approach was need.

As Features Editor, I put forward the idea that Martine analyse their birth charts and use what she found as material to talk about.

In Des’s case, she discovered that he was born under Capricorn with Sagittarius as his rising sign, for those of you who care such things. She said that was “a mixture of ambition and optimism which could hardly fail. (Actually she should have used “that” instead of “which” in that sentence. I point that out because she was a pedant when it came to grammar and suchlike. So she’ll appreciate my comment from whichever galaxy is watching down on me.)

Des’s response: “I’m the most positive happy-go-lucky person that God ever made.

“Whether I’m rich or poor, up or down, I’m enjoying it, and that’s not phoney. I can’t stand moaners. There are only three things that matter: love, laughter and good health/ If you have a share of those you’re winning all the way.”

It was that feeling optimism he gave me that day with his photographic collection. I left his home uplifted.

A few weeks later, we published my piece and that was, I thought, the end of that.

A few days after the magazine hit the newsstands, I received a hand-written note from Des thanking me for the article and my enjoyable company that afternoon. What! It should have been me thanking him.

God bless you, Des.

POSTSCRIPT: Des was famous for his banter with Morecambe and Wise. In 2014, he told the Daily Mail: ‘When Eric had his first heart attack in 1968, I was doing a show in front of 2,000. I went for a sip of water and the stage manager said, “Eric Morecambe’s had a heart attack. He’s dying.” 

‘I went back on and, at the end of the show, I said, “If you believe in such things, please remember Eric in your prayers. He’s not well.”  ‘Happily he recovered and six weeks later he was in a meeting with some journalists. One of them said, “Are you aware Des O’Connor asked his entire audience to pray for you?” Eric said, “Well, those six or seven people probably made a difference.” ‘

Who was that masked man?

The Lone Ranger

Tonto never had any trouble getting the Lone Ranger to wear his mask. But they didn’t have Covid-19 in the Wild West.

Today, I visited my local post office in Broadstairs, Kent where I saw a middle-aged man standing at the counter conducting his business without a mask.

How difficult is it to wear one? Okay, they may not be comfortable but they not not excessively uncomfortable.

Yesterday, I went into my local Tesco Metro where I saw a man pushing his young child in a pram. He was with his wife/partner who was buying groceries. What is about the government’s advice that people shouldn’t shop in groups that these people didn’t understand?

The man had no function in the shopping trip other than to nod when his wife picked out an item. Why couldn’t he stay outside the shop? There was no need to be with his wife/partner, who was perfectly capable of shopping alone.

It doesn’t matter what the individual thinks about the precautions laid down by the government, they need to be obeyed. It’s not a case of civil liberties. I have a civil liberty not to be infected by these morons.

My local council employs Covid wardens to monitor people’s behaviour during this pandemic. Unfortunately there were none around yesterday or today. (We are quite a large area and presumably the council’s budget doesn’t stretch to blanket coverage of these wardens.)

But we shouldn’t need Covid wardens, we should all be observing the rules laid down by the government. And shopkeepers should help in this by refusing to serve people who are not wearing masks and who come in to the shop with their family in tow.

Maybe we do need more help than just the Covid wardens. Where is the Lone Ranger when you need him?

Book of the day

Boris Johnson – The Gambler
Tom Bower  (W H Allen)

Boris Johnson has led a colourful life and one would expect this biography to be a colourful read. It is.

But as with the proverbial parson’s egg, it is and it isn’t. Tom Bower is an accomplished biographer with subjects such as Tony Blair, Richard Branson, Conrad (and Lady) Black and Robert Maxwell among his subjects. This book covers a lot of ground that with which we are already familiar. His philandering is well known. So too is his fickle relationship with the truth. Even his days at Eton and Oxford with his membership of the Bullingham Club have been covered in the media before.

Where Bower comes up with fresh material is at the start (and the time before) of Johnson’s life. His childhood and the insecure family life. The other place where Bower scores is the in the present day. The author goes into great detail of the current Covid-19 crisis and before that Brexit.

Johnson has a need to be liked and (in some cases) loved. Hence the need for Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s hacket man. If there is bad news to be had or a bit of stick to be put about Cummings is you man. Or Johnson’s man actually. Cummings knows who to blame for the Covid Cock-up.

Bower goes into great detail about the government turned down numerous offers of help to set up an effective testing system and a supply of PPE for the medical professions. The ineptitude of the civil servants and others charged with handling the Covid-19 crisis should be left at the door of the Prime Minister as the man in charge. But Bower pulls his punches and spreads the blame elsewhere.

And it is that pulling of punches that makes this a weak biography and one that is too soft on its subject. But Tom Bower is married to Veronica Wadley (aka Baroness Fleet) who has known Johnson for more than 30 years. She served as a senior advisor to the Mayor of London when that post was occupied by Johnson. It was Johnson who ennobled her in the 2020 Political Honours List. This may be why this book is too comfortable with its subject.

There must be a more rigorous biography to be had about the life of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

At the going down of the sun on Remembrance Sunday

Today is Remembrance Sunday, the day we commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

It also includes remembering all those from Ireland, even though the Republic is not part of the Commonwealth, who gave their lives.

Some 210,000 Irishmen served in the British forces during World War One of which 35,000 were killed – a figure that rose to a final toll 50,000 due to wounds received.  That is more than were in the GPO in Dublin on Easter Monday 1916 and even more than those who claimed to have been. (I’ve never found out why the post office was open on a bank holiday.) 

During World War Two when Ireland was a Free State, it was neutral. That didn’t stop some 50,000 men and women enlisting in the British forces to fight Hitler. (Sadly, a few misguided individuals took a view that they should support the German Reich.) 

It is a matter of personal pride to me to see the Irish ambassador to the Court of St James (the UK) lay a wreath at the Cenotaph. It recognises the great bonds that exist between our two islands.

The Irish wreath is made of laurel leaves. I’m never sure why it isn’t made of poppies like all the others. After all, that was what was growing in the green fields of France during World War One. (I never call it The Great War as there is nothing great about war.) Might have something to do with sensitivities about Remembrance Sunday being “a British thing”, which it isn’t. 

We cannot buy poppies this year as the Covid-19 crisis has prevented the usual sellers from going out on the streets to collect funds for the Royal British Legion, the beneficiaries of the poppies’ donations. The Legion is a charity providing financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the British armed forces, their families and dependents. But we can make a donation to help make up for the loss of funds made this year. Go to https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/ways-to-give/donate 

In Dublin, the annual Remembrance Sunday commemoration takes place at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge in Dublin. The Queen laid a wreath there on her visit to Ireland in 2011. She also laid another one at the Garden of Remembrance in the centre of Dublin. This memorial remembers “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom”. It should not be confused with the Irish National War Memorial Gardens.  The Queen’s visit and wreath at the Garden of Rembrance was a gesture much appreciated by the Irish people and another demonstration of the strong ties between these two islands.  

I have no personal connection with Remembrance Sunday other than as a supporter of the event and an appreciation of what a terrible waste of human life war is. My friend Paddy Murray’s grandfather Edward Cox died on 27 May 1917 at Ypres so it means more to him, maybe. But I still feel the hairs on the back of neck rise during the two-minute silence. (Paddy doesn’t, by the way, as he has no hairs on the back of his neck due to having COPD.) 

My only family connection with the British Army is through my grandfather who ran away from Blackrock College in Dublin and joined the Duke of Cornwall 2nd Light Infantry on 16 October 1894, at the age of 14. He never saw military action because in those days, it was the practice for half of a regiment to fight and the other half to remain at home in Britain. He served in the half that stayed in England. And he’d left by the time his half came to be called upon to see active service. 

I always find the service from Cenotaph very moving but in a way this year’s was more so because it had to be scaled down because of Covid-19.  But all the principals were there. The Queen, Prince Charles, the political leaders, the forces’ leaders, David Dimbleby…   

David Dimbleby? Why was he there? He was doing the commentary on BBC One. I thought he’d retired but they wheeled him out for this. If they keep doing that how do younger commentators get a chance to have a go? Besides at the age of 82, what was he doing out during lockdown? Surely at his age, he is at risk?  Shouldn’t he have been tucked up at home in East Sussex is his slippers, watching it on the telly? A poet called Robert Laurence Binyon published a poem called “For the Fallen” on The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914 and this is probably its most famous verse. Click here for the full poem

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Paul McCartney and great songs

Last night I played this vid to my girl. I didn’t actually. I just came across it on YouTube when I was looking for something else. The song is nearly 60 years. (It may even be more than 60) and was written by a buddy, pal and mate of the guy in the video wearing a red t-shirt.

I don’t know the exact date the song was written but I can tell you the guy in the red t-shirt recorded it on 26 November 1962 with three of his buddies, pals and mates, including the one who wrote the song. That’s 58 years ago.

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that many of the people in the video watching the man in the red t-shirt singing the song weren’t even born when the song was recorded.  But there they are singing along and bopping away to the song Please Please Me.

The song was made famous by The Beatles for they were the four buddies, pals and mates who recorded it in November 1962.  The man in the red t-shirt was called Paul. He still is. Although some deferential people call him Sir Paul. 

His buddy who wrote the song was called John. (He was never made a Sir because he had a sharp tongue and a naughty attitude to authority.) He wrote it in his bedroom in his Auntie’s house at 251 Menlove Avenue, Liverpool (Postcode L25 7SA).

He said it was his attempt to write a Roy Orbison-style song. But it was more Roy Orbision meets Bing Crosby. he later admitted.

Anyway, these four buddies, pals and mates went on to make more records – most of them written by Sir Paul (as he then wasn’t) and his buddy, pal and mate John.  Then one day the four buddies, pals and mates stopped being buddies, pals and mates. And went their seperate ways.

But the people all over the world still loved their songs.

Then another one day a bad man took out a gun and shot Paul’s buddy, pal and mate. And the world was sad. 

The man in the red t-shirt continued working as a strolling player and writer of tunes. But he started to sing songs in concerts that had been written by his buddy, pal and mate John.  

And so it was that in 2005 the man in the red t-shirt travelled across the United States of America singing his songs and some of those of his buddy, pal and mate. It was on that tour that this video  was filmed.

The man in the red t-shirt has been writing fab songs since 1957 – many with his buddy, pal and mate; many on his own.  Great tunes such as Hey Jude, Penny Lane, Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, Band on the Run, Let It Be, The Back Seat of my Car, Live and Let Die, and Maybe I’m Amazed to name just nine of several hundred.

And here’s a weird thing, he still doesn’t think he has cracked it yet.  I once asked him “After all the songs you’ve written and music – rock and classical – you’ve made, not to mention your artwork, children’s books, etc is there still something you want to achieve?”

He thought for a second and then said “I’m still trying to write a great song.” 

Well, he’s not very salf-aware if he thinks that.  And I believe he is still trying.

Fifty years ago Paul McCartney released his first post-Beatles solo album. It was called McCartney and featured Paul singing and playing all the instruments. (Hence why the title of the album was so apposite.)  Ten years later, in 1980 he released his second solo album McCartney II. Now 40 years from that back he comes with McCartney III

I’m sure like all his previous records it will contain some really great songs and some ordinary (but better than most people’s) songs. 

May says time is not right for Scots Gnats

Nicola Sturgeon with Theresa May on the PM’s day-trip to Scotland

UK prime minister Theresa May today declared that it was too early for Scots gnats to appear.  Speaking through her mouth in Edinburgh, Mrs May said: “We have only just changed to British Summer Time and the weather is still a bit cold. It is too early for gnats to appear or any sort of flying insect such as midges.”

A spokesman for the prime minister later denied that she had been referring to Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is 5 foot 4 inches tall. Mrs May, who is 5 foot 8 inches said things would have to get hotter before the Scots gnats would make an appearance.

Ms Sturgeon responded by telling the prime minster: “As things are going now, it won’t be long before come to boiling point.”

Commissioner tells gardai to wash their mouths out

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan orders dental clean up

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has called on members of the Garda Siochana to brush their teeth at least twice a day. Commission O’Sullivan was reacting to report that members of the service were failing breath tests on a regular basis.

“The Irish public has the right not to have a blast of halitosis in their faces when they approach an officer to ask the time or the way to St Stephen’s Green,” she told a meeting of senior Gardai officers.

But a spokesman for the Garda Representative Association (GRA) claimed that Commissioner O’Sullivan was over-stepping the mark when she commented on Gardai’s personal oral hygiene.

“She has no right to criticise orally my members oral technique,” said a GRA spokesman through gritted but rotting teeth. “Beside abscess makes the heart beat faster.”

“From next month, all gardai will expected to show up for work with their teeth properly brushed and their breath smelling fresh,” O’Sullivan told the meeting. “Gardai with bad breath may well blow their jobs.”

A speaker from the floor asked the Commissioner what action they were expected to take with officers who have false teeth.

“Any officer found with forged teeth will be charged under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

“Furthermore, any Garda station found to be accepted false teeth handed in by members of the public claiming they are lost property will be censured,” she said.

“Did you say dentured, minister?” asked a reporter from RTE with hearing difficulties.

Meanwhile Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said her department would be issuing a booklet to all Garda officers about the need to regular brushing and flossing. The book is to be published by An Gúm.

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Brexit Bill to undertake European tour

Solo artist Brexit Bill is to undertake his first continental tour in 2019 when his contract with the 28-piece band The Europeans comes to an end.

With his contract due to run out in two years time, Brexit Bill said: “It is time for me to go it alone. It worked for Robbie Williams, Diana Ross and Frankie Valli, so I think it’ll work for me.

“They all started as part of a group but soon discovered that they could so much further as a solo act.”

Starting as a solo artist will no be all smooth sailing for Brexit Bill.

“I don’t actually intend to do much sailing or flying in the future. I’ll be keeping myself to myself.”

Among the hurdles Brexit Bill will have to climb perhaps the hardest will be how he leaves the group and still remains friends with the other members.  In the past he has argued and fought with some of them.

At several times in history the animosity between Brexit Bill and the other members of the band was so bad that it was described as a war.

Asked if his name had any special meaning, Brexit Bill said: “Brexit means Brexit.”