- 1964 Opportunity Knocks – 22 million viewers. *Royalty: Lord Mountbatton, Princes Royal, Duke of Edinburgh – but biggest thrill meeting Cary Grant!
- Quote: ‘Tom Jones was a rough and ready Welsh lad – but the amount of sex appeal rubbed-off onto me!’
Andrew Atkinson talks to one of the UK’s biggest, best loved comedians and actor, Octogenarian FREDDIE ‘PARROT FACE’ DAVIES in a Leader exclusive.
I ONLY ever wanted to be a comedian, and I pursued this relentlessly I suppose, said Freddie Davies, born in 1937.
“I did six years as a Butlin Redcoat – and launched myself to the British public in August 1964 on Opportunity Knocks – to 22 million viewers,” said Freddie.
During a star-studded career Freddie, 82, has met a plethora of star celebrities – and Royals.
“From Royalty, I met Lord Mountbatton, Princes Royal, and the Duke of Edinburgh. “But my biggest thrill was meeting Cary Grant – who came to see a Panto I was in, in Bristol, in 1970,” said Freddie.
“My granddad, Jack Herbert, was a Music Hall comedian, during 1920-40. I used to stand in the wings and watch him and all the great artistes at Salford Hippodrome in the 1940’s,” said Freddie.
Freddie, who started his career in amatuer dramatics in and around Salford, said: “My love was really Variety.
“I did amateur Pantomimes at the Pendleton Congregational Church and Sunday school – and I still see friends from that era.
“I later worked in the working mens clubs in the North East, Newcastle.
“The Durham area – they were very tough – but ‘one sort of survived’. It was a wonderful experience.”
Freddie’s pay in the early sixties was £6.10 shillings as a Redcoat: “Wages rose to the dizzy heights of £14.00 per week in my last season at Minehead.
“The entertainment manager told me I was rubbish – and would never make a living in showbusiness!,” revealed Freddie.
Sir Tom Jones, currently on the panel of The Voice UK, who has gone on to become a superstar, was one artiste that Freddie appeared alongside.
“I met Tom working the clubs – before he got BIG,” said Freddie.
“Tom was a rough and ready Welsh lad – but the amount of sex appeal rubbed-off onto me, at the time,” laughed Freddie.
IN PART 2 of Freddie’s exclusive interview he talks about being defrauded out of £150,000. His Homburg bowler-style hat ‘parrot-face’ household fame. His time in the film industry, co-starring with Jerry Lewis, Leslie Caron, Oliver Reed and Lee Evans. And an appearance as a talking portrait in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban.
*Freddie’s signed autobiography Funny Bones: My life in Comedy can be purchased from stageoneproductions.co.uk