At the New Theatre, Cardiff
Cannon and Ball appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live, along with fan Nikki Kelly. They were interviewed by Fiona Bruce. Her questions are in bold, with N, T and B indicating Nikki, Tommy and Bobby respectively.
Have you ever followed your favourite band or comedy act or singer round the country? If so how many gigs did you manage to notch up? I’d imagine that no matter what the number is, even if its in the ranking for the British Davies cup team, you’d be hard pressed to beat Nikki Kelly, who’s managed to see her comedy heroes Cannon and Ball rather a lot. Hello Nikki
N: Good morning to you. How you doing?
Yes I’m doing very well. How many times have you been to see Mr Cannon and Mr Ball?
N: On this run it must be about 41 now I think in total
OK. Mr Cannon and Mr Ball are with us too. Hello
T: Hi Fi
Have you met Nikki a lot of times?
B: Yes, we’ve known her for twenty years.
Right. Is she bothersome?
B: No, she’s fine. We know her Mam, we know her Dad.
Oh good, so she’s alright.
T: we’ve all been out to dinner together only the other night.
B: A lovely lass
Nikki, what do you love about them?
N: They’re just natural comedy performers. I mean, they don’t do gags as such, they’re just instinctive comedians, and they’re not afraid to wander away from the script and pick up on things that happen in the audience, just get out there and do what makes people laugh. It’s wonderful.
B: Which upsets some other actors in the pantomime, but nevertheless,
You kind of, you’ve got to hope that they do wander from the script though haven’t you, if you’ve been to see them over 40 times, because it would
N: They never let us down, never let us down with that. The rest of the cast and crew I think are as keen to stand in the wings and watch what’s going on as the audience is.
Do you sit in the same place every time Nikki?
N: No, I’ve moved around a bit, I didn’t want them to get bored of my ugly mug.
B: She’s maybe moved a couple of seats
Can you spot her every night?
B: Every night
T: Yes, yes
B: Yes, and gets involved every night too
In what way?
B: Well, in the ghost gag, its behind you, she’s standing up and shouting.
N: You’ve got to join in haven’t you
Well she knows doesn’t she. I mean there’s no fun to that at all
B: Its fantastic
Nikki, how much have you spent on this?
N: Well a lot of people have made a lot of how much it’s cost me to go there. I think our local newspaper said something along the lines of it was in the region of a thousand pounds. But you know what the press are like, it was a misprint and they left a nought off.
Well in that case the tickets are too cheap surely Mr Cannon and Mr Ball?
T: Tickets aren’t down to us
What is the pantomime that you’re in at the moment, or you have been in? Has it finished now?
B: We finish on Saturday, tomorrow.
T: Yes, Tomorrow.
B: And I think you’re coming tonight and tomorrow,
T: Yeah, Nikki will be there to see it all
B: And we finish tomorrow in Dick Whittington.
Right. Do you have other fans at the level that Nikki’s got to
B: Yes, not quite at the level that Nikki’s at, but yes we’ve other fans that come along. We’ve known her for twenty years. She’s followed us round for 20 years, so they stop becoming fans then and become friends, you know.
Should people cross over that line though? I mean, Nikki, once you’ve actually got to know them doesn’t it take away something from seeing them perform?
N: No I don’t think so at all. I mean there’s a real distinction between Cannon and Ball the act and Tom and bob as the performers. So no, not at all, there is a definite line there. They’re great as individuals and wonderful as performers.
What’s there best gag? Can you share that with us? Are you allowed to?
N: They don’t do gags. No I couldn’t possibly, copyrighted.
B: I think it’s when I put my tights on in the pantomime
N: I’m not going there
Is that naturally funny? Isn’t that rather disturbing?
N: Have you seen his legs
B: Thank you. They’re actually beautiful
Are they? I imagine they might be a little bit knobbly
B: A bit knobbly, a bit small. I’m only 5 foot 4 so I have a job keeping my bottom off the floor
There’s nothing wrong with being small
B: Are you small?
I’m ridiculously small
B: How ridiculously small?
I’m 5 foot
B: They never make big diamonds you see, Fi
No, that’s very true, yes. No I’m quite happy being a small radio dwarf girl
B: Well we can have you in a panto if you want Fi
Oh, thankyou, Gosh that’s the best offer I’ve had
B: When we’re doing snow white
T: Snow white
B: You’re welcome
I’m not sure you’re allowed to say snow white and the seven dwarfs.
T: Are we not allowed to say that, oh well
B: Whether we are or we’re not I’ve said it. I’m sure they’re not going to put me in jail for it.
No. Well I don’t want to offend anyone this morning and I’m sure that you don’t either.
B: No, not at all.
Have you got a busy year lined up ahead of you?
B and T: Yes
T: Fairly busy, yes. We have a couple of weeks off now then we’re going down to round the carribbean on a cruise ship. Couple of weeks down there. Then we’ve got one nighters, we’ve got the summer season, then before you know where we are we’ll be in pantomime again.
You’re both from Oldham, is that correct?
B: Yes, We don’t live there now though but we are originally from Oldham.
Yes, we were talking today about the BNPs latest council success in the Halifax area.
(B+T laugh in background)
Ooh, you’re laughing already. Does it trouble you that that’s the way in your part of the world.
B: To tell you the truth, I shouldn’t really do this, but in a way I’ve given up about it, all. Because I think its all, its pathetic what’s happening in this country. I’m not getting in to it. Its just, I’ve give up on it all me. It’s daft.
Well don’t give up on it.
B: I know, I shouldn’t really, but you know
No, but why are you so fed up with it?
B: Because the politicians do just what they want, I mean its crazy. We run this country, but the politicians run it. They don’t give us a voice, it’s ridiculous what’s happening. There’s old people dying in the streets, and they want to get a war going with Iraq. Supposed to be light hearted, you got me on my soap box then, sorry Fi.
No, I don’t, you see I’d like to hear more of you on the soap box, I mean I think everybody has got an opinion, certainly about military action at the moment, and the best thing you can do is have a good old conversation about it isn’t it?
B: Well I think they should look more into it before they decide they’re going to go kill all these people. Think about the Iraqi people, just like we are, they’re families of people. You know, and I think they should look into more than what they are doing, just saying we’re tied up with America and having a war.
Yes, Nikki, what do you think about it, I don’t want to leave you out of this conversation.
N: No, not at all. I agree with Bob to be honest, you need to see the stories behind it, it’s the real people that get hurt in all this, not the politicians or the armies. There’s more going on behind the scenes, people get affected far more than we realise.
I was a little worried about this feature because you think ‘Oh my goodness, is Nikki going to be someone who Cannon and Ball would rather not spend an awful lot of time with’.
B/T: Oh no
Well there is that concern
B: No, she’s fine. She’s lovely.
But do you actually keep in touch with each other
B: Well, she turns up at the shows, and we go out for a meal, we know her mum and dad, you know so. Her dad funnily enough came in to the theatre the other day and helped my friend out with his laptop. He couldn’t do this thing, so her fathers a bit of a computer wizard
T: He’s a wizard on the old computer you see, so he’s handy to know
Oh, its all going terribly well isn’t it.
Its like I’ve entered some strange family
T: Yes you have
B: You’re very welcome Fi
Well that’s very kind of you
T: You’re welcome
B: We’re all quite small so you’re welcome to join, we’ll start up the small family
It’s a hideous image that, a marauding bunch of gobby people coming down the street at you.
B: We’ll get all the small people, all round the country, all get together. We’ll get complaints now from all the small people.
No because we’re not being mean, we’re just taking the mickey out of ourselves for not being able to reach the top shelf magazines.
N: Or see over the counter in the chip shop
Yes. When are you next going to see them on a professional basis Nikki?
N: Hopefully now it’ll be in March. I understand Bobs back down doing some gospel work then
N: And then thereafter it’ll be summer, summer run, and back into Christmas panto.
Have you ever heard of anyone Nikki who is a more devoted fan that yourself?
N: There’s other fans like myself out there. One thing we have done over the years is make friends with people like me who go and see Tom and Bob everywhere. So we’ve formed a little family as well and we all keep in touch. So there’s a lot more than myself just out there.
I feel like bursting into song now.
B: Well it’s a nice good felling isn’t it.
Well it is. It’s cracking stuff
B: Which is what we need in this world today.
Thankyou very much indeed for joining us
T: You’re welcome
N: It’s a pleasure