It’s a puppet! The one and only Brian Conley is set to return to the Atlas Theatre in 2020, and to celebrate we’ve put together a profile on the multi-talented entertainer and asked him about his return to Potters…
How does it feel returning to Potters Resort again?
I used to come on holiday here and I really do remember it. I love Potters Resort as it really is a wonderful place and a strong family business with a real sense of community. My family came to Potters a few times and I remember the fancy dress competitions in particular. It was over 50 years ago that I first appeared on-stage at Potters Resort. Me and my Dad entered a talent competition and both won our categories! One of my most vivid memories is how my parents lost me at a Big Band dance event at the Resort. They found me when they heard some laughter in the ballroom and caught me behind the trombone pretending to go for a wee and making everybody laugh!
If you hadn’t made it what do you think you’d be doing? We understand you applied for a job here…
I did apply for a job as part of Potters Resort’s entertainment team when I was 17 and they turned me down! I do sometimes wonder how things would have turned out if I had got the job at Potters. I would probably still be here today!
You’ve turned your hand to various roles from comedian to singer, actor and West End star – what part of your job do you love doing best?
I love everything but I suppose what I love best is making people laugh. I always say that I was born to sing and that I learnt everything else. I do enjoy it all from doing my own tours to performing in musicals and hosting shows on TV.
With a career spanning four decades, Brian is an accomplished singer, presenter, actor, comedian and West End Star. He became a household name thanks to Dangerous Brian, Nick Frisby "It's a puppet", Doug Digby and the legendary Al Jolson.
Here are some of Brian’s career highlights from over the years…
- His first major show business success was fronting a comedy showband called Tomfoolery, who performed in pubs and clubs, sometimes as a support act for artists such as Johnny Mathis and The Nolans. Although the group broke up, his work with the band led to him being talent spotted, and he then started working as a warm-up for TV personalities such as The Krankies and Terry Wogan. His career was advanced by appearing on comedy shows such as Make Me Laugh, The Laughter Show and Live from Her Majesty’s.
- He made his first appearance in the West End in a production of Me and My Girl.
- In 1992 he was offered an opportunity to star in his own comedy programme, The Brian Conley Show. The show became Britain's most-watched light entertainment programme, regularly attracting more than 12 million viewers.
- His next success was a sitcom entitled Time After Time, in which he played the lead role.
- He then went on to play the hugely popular Doug 'Dynamo' Digby in The Grimleys.
- Brian recorded a live show in 1996 titled "Brian Conley: Alive and Dangerous", which was televised and featured stand-up plus special Nick Frisby/Larry the Loafer and Dangerous Brian sketches.
- Around 2000, Conley was given a new show for ITV, once again named, The Brian Conley Show, which lasted for three series.
- In 2003, he appeared in the film Equilibrium, alongside Christian Bale.
- In 2006, Conley returned to television, hosting a daytime variety show called Let Me Entertain You.
- He has appeared in the musical Hairspray as Edna Turnblad, Fagin in Oliver!, lead roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and in the Olivier Award-winning Jolson, playing Al Jolson.
- In 2012 he featured in I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, before leaving the jungle on medical grounds.
- In April 2014, Brian was a contestant on CBBC’s Driving Academy, before hosting a game show called Timeline and presenting The TV That Made Me in 2015 and 2016.
- In 2017, he took part in Strictly Come Dancing, being partnered with Welsh professional dancer Amy Dowden.
- In 2019 he is starring in 9 to 5 The Musical in the West End.