Stars on Sunday

Posted on: February 20th, 2012 by Trevor | No Comments

When we first started writing we never really imagined discussing euphemisms for ‘penis’ with a Tyne Tees TV presenter over bacon sandwiches on a Saturday morning!

Or that we would end up watching one of Ed’s oldest friends morris-dancing across the stage of the City Hall in Newcastle in front of 2,000 people.

Those two small snapshots illustrate the slightly insane nature of  the Sunday for Sammy charity event, funny, chaotic, a bit haphazard and completely unpredictable.

This was our first involvement in the event that raises hundreds of thousands of pounds to support young North East performers and it was an absolute hoot. We were asked to write a sketch for Denise Welch and Angela Lonsdale earlier last year and were delighted when our Community Service sketch was accepted for the show.  We were eagerly looking forward to rehearsals when, at the last minute, a gap appeared in the show and Ray Laidlaw, Lindisfarne legend, and one of the prime movers behind the charity, asked if we could help to fill it.  No pressure there then.

Somehow, three days later, we were sitting in the stalls at the City Hall watching a succession of stars play cameo roles in our hastily pulled together Speed Dating sketch. With the lovely Emmerdale star Charlie Hardwick leading the way we watched in awe as, in order of appearance, Brendan Healy, Pam Royle, Kevin Whately, Pete Peverley (twice), Les Robson, Ray Laidlaw, Chris Chittel, Billy Mitchell, Tim Healy, Ray Stubbs, and Chris Fairbanks all came on stage to pursue Charlie’s hand. We may have missed Brendan’s name out a few times there as he’s not a man who’s shy about reappearing at various unscheduled moments.

Quite how we got to that moment is still a bit of a mystery but it could only have been done with everyone pulling in the same direction and the commitment and ‘up for anything’ attitude of all the above and the show’s director Geoff Wonfor were major factors. The other major factor was our morris-dancing friend. The night before rehearsals we were told that we couldn’t have a morris dancer in the show as we had neither a spare man nor a costume. Several phone calls later a member of Hexham Morrismen had been tracked down and at 10 o’clock on Saturday morning a costume was duly delivered to the City Hall (thanks John!).  Now all we needed was a volunteer to wear it. Enter Les Robson, Ed’s oldest friend. Lured to the City Hall under slightly false pretences, having no idea that the show was on the next day and then finding out that the  costume was several sizes too big for him, Les threw himself into the role with some gusto and may well have stolen the show as you will be able to see when the video comes out. For now you can make do with this Sky News clip which captures the backstage ‘all-hands-to-the-pump’ vibe. Les is caught chatting to his new best friend Charlie Hardwick soon after the start (though sadly not in costume).

We’d really like to thank everyone involved for making it such a great laugh, Denise, Angela and Chelsea Halfpenny smashed the Community Service sketch – Denise was in great form all weekend especially given the media nonsense she’s had to put up with recently – and the Speed Dating went down a storm as noted in the reviews in the Journal and Chronicle.

Incidentally, for those who are interested in such things, Pam Royle opted for ‘willy’ at the matinee and ‘knob’ at the evening show.





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