PREVIEW: Bernie’s Birthday Bonanza - comedy legend to party at Lamproom

Ostrich puppet-riding comedy legend Bernie Clifton is to celebrate his 86th birthday with a one man show.

Promoted by Lamproom Theatre
Monday, 28th March 2022, 11:02 pm

BUY TICKETS: Bernie’s Birthday Bonanza at Barnsley’s Lamproom Theatre is on Friday, April 22 – buy tickets now at barnsleylamproom or call the box office, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 2.30pm, on 01226 200075.

In an exclusive and hilarious chat - watch above or click here – the Barlow based comic quipped about looking for a young volunteer jockey to take over the reins of Oswald, his famous life-size orange ostrich- puppet.

But in truth the zany veteran comic and national treasure says he has no plans to retire

His one-man show promises a laughter and tears look at his life story, from early days as a boy in Merseyside, narrowly escaping Hitler’s bombs, to his clubland, TV, radio and stage work, including pantos and appearing on TV classics like Crackerjack and twice on the Royal Variety Performance, in 1979 and 2016.

Bernie, who is also currently working on his autobiography, played trombone with England’s ‘barmy army’ football band at World Cup and other key national games, including a visit to the Ukraine.

He has also been a regular on BBC Radio Sheffield and his former Live-ish weekend radio show remains much loved and missed by fans.

Recently he showcased his amazing singing voice on the hit TV talent show The Voice, where he performed The Impossible Dream, from Man of La Mancha.

In 2018, he also starred in ITV's Last Laugh in Vegas, a documentary following eight showbiz legends as they prepared a show in Las Vegas.

Earlier this month he made an unplanned telephone appearance on the Chris Moyles Show on Radio X, having been referenced by comedian, Jon Richardson, who appeared on the radio show earlier that morning.

But his biggest claim to fame is as the zany comic on the back of life-sized ostrich puppet Oswald. In 1982, he even ran the London Marathon in the get-up.

Oswald will be in the background during his Barnsley show, with lots of images from the past, but does Bernie still ‘ride’ around on Oswald?

” The truth is, and I don't normally say this on camera, but no, I don't. Because his legs have gone,” he said.

“But I am looking for volunteers. I'm looking for a young jockey to take over the reins.

He added: "There are many memories and images of Oswald the ostrich.

"Funny enough the World Wildlife Fund have issued a writ to say that if I carried on Ill treating the animal, as I've done in the past, I would be served with a writ.

Zany comedy legend Bernie Clifton to celebrate 86th birthday with show at Barnsley Lamproom Theatre

"In fact, they might even start picketing my house. So he's in the background very much. "

Bernie, originally from St Helen’s in Merseyside, began his career in South Yorkshire with Pogmoor man Terry Herrington, who was musical director at Greasborough Working Men’s Club – they ended up good friends, touring together.

He remembers well playing the miners welfare clubs around Goldthorpe and Barnsley.

“The wheel has turned full circle. I’m looking forward to performing back in the town,,” he said of his forthcoming Lamproom Theatre show, which he has been performing around the country.

“It's all about my life and times, from growing up in St Helen's, where a bomb missed my head by 20 yards, then finding myself in grammar school, copying the homework of Arthur Cunningham.

"I went on to be a plumber in St Helen's, joining the RAF, defending the realm and becoming a boy singer in Yorkshire clubland.

Bernie with Oswald his orange ostrich

"From there I went on to do Crackerjack, it took me on to The Voice, which was a tremendous thing for my career; Las Vegas and then from there, back to Barnsley.”

The Impossible Dream - Bernie on TV's The Voice
Barnsley's Lamproom Theatre