Article – “We’re Just Big Kids”
Did you know that Tommy and Bobby think they’re just like door-to-door salesmen? Or that they’re soon to take to the air as pilots? And that The Cure are one of Bob’s favourite pop groups? They told us more of their secrets the other day…
Can you tell us about the new series?
Bobby Ball: “As well as the usual stand up slapstick comedy we’ll be doing a lot more proper sketches with our guests. We’re doing our own version of Gone With The Wind, and you can’t get more proper than that!”
Tommy Cannon: “We also do a version of Batman except I’m going to be VATman and Bobby will be my faithful companion Toyboy. We’ve got lots of exciting guests, too. The England Football Squad are coming in to sing All The Way, while Bananarama and Wet Wet Wet are signed up, too.”
Who are your favourite guests?
Tommy: For me it’s Frankie Lane. He may not mean much now but he had four number one hits in the 50s. He was my boyhood hero, so it’s a great thrill. Bobby felt the same when we had Little Richard on.”
Bobby: “We really like it when a pop singer wants to act with us rather than just do his or her new single. Paul Young, for instance, wanted to do his Max Bygraves impersonation so we wrote a sketch around him.”
What else have you been doing?
Bobby: We’ve just finished a 30 day tour of theatres doing one-night stands, and we’re lined up for six weeks of night-club work and then we’ll do our Summer season. After that we’ll be ready for the Christmas panto in Manchester. As you can see we’re very busy and have very little time to ourselves. We’re hardly ever at home.”
What are the pros and cons of life on the road?
Tommy: “At first, being on the road is very exciting, but after 25 years you’ve travelled every road so it gets boring. There’s a tremendous amount of variety, though, which more than makes up for it.”
Bobby: “The best part of it is that we can do what we enjoy and be paid for it, and not many people can say that, can they? I always enjoy the first three weeks of whatever we do. After that, I get a bit restless and start to look forward to something new.”
Tommy: “We don’t have much time for home life, but there again neither does a lorry driver. We’re like door-to-door salesmen: we have to get out there and sell ourselves. And when we do get time at home we appreciate it even more.”
Bobby: “Actually the best thing about life on the road is that I’ve never been around when we’ve had to move house! I miss all the nasty bits because I’m never there. We’ve moved house four or five times and I’ve always been away. It’s going to happen again this Summer while I’m in Torquay!”
A few years ago you appeared in the feature film Boys In Blue. Any plans for another movie?
Bobby: “We will do if we can get the right script, but we won’t do it for the sake of it. Anyway, we’re too busy at the moment so we’d have to try to make time to do it. Boys In Blue was a good film and we loved doing it, so it would be nice to do another.”
Tommy: “We are going to do a play, though, which will be the first time we’ve done anything like that. It’s called Boeing Boeing and it’s a comedy. I’m playing the part of a pilot and Bobby is my mate who arrives at my house and throws my life into chaos. A bit like real life, actually!”
Bobby: “It’s not one of those farces where you have to run around with your trousers off; ours will stay on! The play will open in the provinces, somewhere like the Alhambra in Manchester, and when we’ve got the hang of it we’ll take it to London.”
What pop music do you like?
Tommy: “I prefer Frank Sinatra and Placido Domingo, the opera singer. Most pop music is beyond me as I find it hard to sing along with it. But I do like Rick Astley, he’s a very nice chap.”
Bobby: “I like It Bites and The Cure because my daughters have their albums so I get to hear them a lot. They listen to all my old Tamla Motown records and they love them. It’s strange that they like so many old pop records, but it’s nice that they’ve come back. I hope the same doesn’t happen with fashion, though. I’ve just found an old photo of myself and I’m wearing a check suit, a purple shirt with huge collars, a purple tie with a vast knot and enormous lapels on the jacket. It looks horrible now, but I thought that it was great then! My daughter wears cycling shorts and big boots now, and I’m sure that she’ll think the same way as me in a few years’time.”
What are your favourite TV shows?
Tommy: “I like Taxi and Hill Street Blues, but I don’t watch much apart from that.”
Bobby: “I like Auf Wiedersehen Pet. I missed it the first time around so I’m watching the reruns. I’ve never seen Opportunity Knocks, though I always mean to catch it; I never find the time.”
What are your favourite films?
Tommy: “We both watch lots of films on video at home. I like Singin’ln The Rain, and The Champ with Jon Voight was very good too.”
Bobby: “The Crime Story was fantastic; it was a five part series about the mafia. We don’t like gory things, but anything with cops and robbers in is all right. We’re just big kids, aren’t we?!”