We’re delighted that Sheffield-based singer-organist John Shuttleworth is hosting a special performance in aid of the MS Trust at the London Palladium on 28 June, with special guests Chas and Dave, Toyah, Martyn Ware, Gordon Giltrap, and others to be announced. John very kindly took some time out from his busy schedule to answer a few of our questions.
Congratulations on playing the Palladium. Would you say this was the pinnacle of your show business career?
Well, it would have been if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ll be receiving no petrol money (I normally do, you see, in a little brown envelope) on account of it being a charity gig. I’m a bit cross about that, but I guess there’s nothing I can do.
The Palladium is currently home to a production of Cats. Will Kirsty the scottie dog be coming down?
I don’t think that’s very wise under the circumstances, do you? Even if she doesn’t chase after the cats, Sooty and Sweep are now booked to appear, and Kirsty might mistake them for one of her toys. Oof, perish the thought!
Do you think you might invest in a new pair of slacks for the occasion or would that be foolhardy?
Are you suggesting my current slacks are not up to the job? Mary’s just bought me a new pair, as it happens, from an online catalogue. We did it together, with me operating the mouse – very exciting!
Is this your version of Sunday Night At the Palladium? Will you be modelling your hosting style on Brucie or Tarby?
It IS my version, though Ken foolishly stuck a K in front of “night” so everyone will looking for a titled gentleman in the audience. (Mind you, that could be me after this show!) I prefer the more languid style of Dale Winton to that of Brucie – too energetic, and Tarby – too smiley, revealing that funny gap in his teeth.
Do you think this might lead to an invite to appear at the Royal Variety Performance? Would you like to perform for royalty?
Hopefully so. I am expecting the Queen to be present in the Royal Box at my show. Put it this way, I’ve not heard she can’t make it so must assume she’s coming.
Is there any truth to the rumour that Royal Box has already been nabbed by the bass player from the Dooleys?
What?! This is the first I’ve heard about it. Thanks for letting me know. I shall investigate immediately.
Have you planned your route down from Sheffield? Do you have a Tomtom to aid your navigation? What are you driving these days?
I’m still driving my Austin Ambassador. Y reg – because it happens to be that year! I use a road map thank you, and I really don’t see how a noisy drum will help me find the theatre!
You famously find Londoners rather haughty. Is this still the case? Do you think you will go out for a preshow meal (there’s an Angus Steakhouse nearby), or will Mary prepare a packed supper?
I hope Mary will make this one – if it doesn’t clash with step class, or a taster session for the Sheffield Ladies rock choir, which Mary wants to join. A steakhouse sounds lovely. Not somewhere too trendy, or I might be forced to eat Peter’s bread and humus – Oof, that’s dirty!
You have a glittering array of guest stars, including Chas and Dave. Chas did a lovely performance on your Radio 4 show last year. Do you think you might return the favour with a cover of “Snooker Loopy”?
“Snooker loopy, nuts are we!” Oo, I do hope so, I love that one. ” Rabbit, Rabbit” is a bit too quick for me.
Toyah Wilcox is also appearing. Toyah is of course one half of a show business power couple with partner Robert Fripp. How would you feel if Mary decided to take to the stage? Would it cause problems in the Shuttleworth household?
Not at all. As I’ve already stated, Mary wants to join the rock choir, but it’s her friend, Joan Chitty who’s the really keen one. Mary would want to just stand at the back, but Joan would be at the front punching the air and causing a nuisance, so perhaps it’s not such a good idea.
We’re delighted that you are performing for “petrol money only” and proceeds from your Palladium show will go to the MS Trust and the MS Centre in Sheffield. Is charity work important to you?
I do like doing charity work – and you’ve failed to mention the Fun Swim to raise money to buy a new water heater for a gents’ hostel (actually it was just a new element). Unfortunately, I got the wrong day, and arrived during a public session. Hang on… I’m getting petrol money, did you say? Really? Well, that’s fantastic news. I’m suddenly looking forward to the show at the Palladium. Yippee!