20 questions with...Basil Brush

Basil Brush
Basil Brush

BOOM BOOM! Basil Brush has been bringing his famous catchphrase and distinctive laugh to the Royal & Derngate stage this month as part of the theatre’s big Christmas panto Aladdin.

Cheeky and charming, Basil Brush has been a family favourite since he first trotted on to TV screens in the 1960s as the leading character in the BAFTA nominated Basil Brush Show.

Basil has been playing the part of Chief Inspector Basil in this year’s Chronicle & Echo sponsored panto.

Aladdin will run until January 8. Tickets can be booked by ringing Northampton 624811 or by logging onto www.royaland derngate.co.uk.

1) Can you tell me a bit about your role in the forthcoming panto Aladdin?

I have a very important role, I’m playing the chief of police. I’m Basil Brush crossed with Sherlock Holmes.

2) How did you first come up with your catchphrase “boom boom?”

I got a bit frightened at a bomb scare and yelled: “Boom boom.” No, if truth be known, I just add it to jokes so they go off with a bang. It really makes your jokes more explosive.

3) Do you think foxes are under-represented on television?

Absolutely. In fact the only one I can think of is Kylie Minogue, she is a fox. They got rid of Liam Fox now didn’t they? 

4) Have you wanted to be in showbusiness ever since you were a cub?

I have always been addicted to showbusiness. But the other day I did fall through a trap door. A fellow told me it was just a stage I was going through.

5) Do you think there is any possibility that the Basil Brush Show could return to TV for another series?

I would say there is every chance of it. I have to say the good thing about being Basil Brush is that I’m a household name, everyone knows me. It is only a matter of time before I come back on TV.

6) What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Laughter is the best medicine, but I always say if you are really sick you should call an ambulance. 

7) You have been on TV since the 1960s but never show your age, what are your beauty secrets?

That is an easy one. It is probably because I’m on an oily diet, fish oil and all sorts of oil. It has certainly stopped me from squeaking. I also have a good fitness programme, I always go up, down, up, down, and then I do the other eyelid. 

8) You will be sharing the stage at Northampton with Bobby Davro, Brian Fortuna and Jeffrey Holland, what do you think of your co-stars?

I like Bobby Davro. I collect jokes and he told me a good one. What is Dr Who’s favourite food? Dalek bread. He is my friend for life now. Although I have just had a falling out with Brian Fortuna, he is in my bad books. He taught me to river dance and I almost drowned and then he taught me how to tap dance and I fell in the sink. 

Jeffrey is wonderful, he has brought back some wonderful memories. I have done lots of different shows at Butlins, although I got really sad as foxes don’t like to be chased by men in red coats.

9) How do you like to spend time when not working?

I do like restaurants although I went to one restaurant in Northampton and it was disgusting. A waiter threw a prawn cocktail in my face and that was just for starters.

10) What meal do you most like to cook at home?

I don’t know really. Although I did go to the doctors very recently; I had sausage on one ear, egg on another ear and bacon down my front and the doctor said: “You are not eating properly.”

11) What is your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement is I have been on TV every year since 1964.

12) What is your worst habit?

My worst habit is probably picking my nose, that is dreadful isn’t it? Not like Michael Jackson though, who picked his nose from a catalogue. That was cheeky of Uncle Basil wasn’t it? But seriously I say: “Don’t blame it on the bogie.”

13) What are your pet hates?

Nasty people, I don’t like nasty people. My cousin Mortimer is nasty. He waits for tortoises to get to the end of the garden and then he turns them around.

14) Which celebrity would you most like to work with?

The great thing is that I have been on TV for 47 years and I have worked with quite a few. There was a time when I spent five years as Elton John’s wig. He said to me: “Keep still or there will be hell to pay.”

15) What is your most treasured possession?

All my Basil fans will know my favourite sweets are Jelly Babies so my favourite possession is my collection of Jelly Babies. People say to me: “Do you prefer to eat Jelly Baby girls or boys?” I say boys because there is more of them.

16) What has been your best moment?

Apart from this interview, four years ago my show got nominated for a BAFTA. I always say my show has TV stamped all over it, but wipe it well with a damp cloth and you will be alright.

17) What has been your worst moment?

When I got mugged by George and Zippy from Rainbow. We have joined forces now though, we have formed a Rainbow coalition.

18) What makes you laugh?

Corny jokes, I love them. Here is one. Knock Knock. Who’s there? Mary. Mary Who? Mary Christmas and to all a happy new year.

19) Who has most inspired you in your life?

I think I have always been a big fan of magicians, I actually got my TV break on a show with David Nixon and I have always liked magicians ever since. I was Paul Daniels’s wig for many years too.

20) What ambition would you most like to fulfil?

I would like to be on stage with Tom Cruise, he is one of the only stars I am taller than.