Although he’s lost his hair, have you noticed how Buzby Allen hasn’t aged since he walked through the doors of the Atlas Theatre all those years ago!
Buz is turning 60 on 15th July and is a man who everyone has got a story about! Whether he is drawing a chuckle with a comic tumble, encouraging a child to play football and seeing their confidence soar, playing kurling with someone who just wants to spend time with him or dressing-up as a variety of fun and mischievous characters, Potters just wouldn’t be the same without the larger-than-life personality.
We caught up with the entertainer for a chat ahead of his celebrations and to find out about Summer at Potters…
How do you feel about turning 60?
How outrageously outrageous and I would like to add that I am allegedly turning 60! No-one thought I would make it this far with the lifestyle I lead as I work 24/8.
What is it that you love about your job?
It is the best job in the world and Potters is filled with camaraderie. It is the guests, environment, team and everyone coming together, and Potters seems to attract nice people. The guests and team are just outstanding.
What is your secret to making people smile?
My ethos has always been that it is a guest’s holiday, so I want to make sure that it is the best holiday that they have had. As a team we always give 110 per cent and I want to make memories for guests to make them laugh and smile, so that they forget any issues that they are going through or any stresses, even if it means me looking like a clown!
What is your official job title?
I haven’t got a job title, but if you want something done then come and see me! I started at Potters as a children’s entertainer, but now it is an entertainer, DJ, quiz master, someone who helps make scenery and props, a compère and part of the comedy team. I love organising some of the Kids’ Clubs sports too, like football, badminton, table tennis and kurling, and seeing their confidence soar. I’m also Judy Potter’s security at the Just World Indoor Bowls Championships!
How long have you worked at Potters?
I started in 1995. Before Potters I worked at Warner Leisure as a children’s entertainer and some guests told Brian Potter that he should hire me. He phoned me and asked if I wanted the job and said that it was the best place for me, and that I would be a fool not to take it. I took the job and have been here ever since.
What has been your favourite character/sketch from over the years?
There have been too many! I loved the cannon sketch, Big Steve, Marge the Cleaner, and the Naughty Elves with James R Hearn. The Phantom Flan Flinger gets on my nerves though! I’ve dressed up as everything from a banana to a Mexican.
What is your secret to ageing so well?
I tell everyone I am 35! Laughter really is the best medicine and every day I laugh, and nobody has had a better job than me. I drink lots of water and eat chips every day! Potters keeps me active and young at heart.
What are some of your greatest memories from your time at Potters?
There are too many again! I have been so lucky to meet icons like Billy Ocean, Norman Wisdom OBE and Gordon Banks OBE through my work at Potters, but really it is the people I have met…all our guests and the team, and many have become friends. Also seeing the kids grow up and then bring their own children here, and meeting their extended families.
I am the only DJ to do an all-night disco and did 11pm until 8.30am twice in one week, and danced the conga in the dining room during breakfast the following morning! One of my proudest moments was meeting Brian and Judy Potter at Norwich Train Station and we took over the station with the Potters team and guests celebrating our award for Holiday Resort of the Year.
One of my favourite shows was Summer Nights and I had multiple characters, plus the comedy of the crazy frog dance routine was jaw breaking. The guests have adored the shows under the direction of Nigel Pattle and Nicky Hathway. The Potters Theatre Company is world class and I am proud to be part of a great group of talented people. I’d like to thank my family and friends for keeping my feet firmly on the ground and understanding how important Potters is to us!
Also the launch of Potters Facebook with Mike and Tara and some of the things we’ve got to do for our Facebook fans with the Naughty Elves and the Phantom and Flange with James R Hearn will live forever!
Plus, just pondering round the resort as one of many characters, having a chat with the grandmas to the tiny tots and hearing their life stories. I’d like to thank the late Brian Potter MBE for many a conversation on our dog walks and all the guests for giving me frankly one of the best jobs in the world.
How did it feel winning the Visit England Tourism Superstar 2014?
Outrageous! We received over 50,000 votes in the national competition and it was the ultimate recognition of everything we work for at Potters. All of our guests and friends helped us win, and there was so much energy behind it. I even went to London and there was a yellow Ferrari too! I had emails from all over the world from people to say they had voted for us.
You always seem to be getting into some form of mischief. What is the naughtiest thing you’ve done?
Oh, there’s too many instances and most I can’t say or I will get into even more trouble, but The Naughty Elves did go to John Potter’s house once for breakfast uninvited. Also a bear once wrapped up a maintenance van in masking tape! Some do get their payback though...after I came back from holiday once my house was boarded up, and they made me do a parachute jump for The Big C and I thought I was going to die! The Potters Rambles gave us an opportunity to do anything we wanted back in the day and we did! I still remember being dressed-up as a chicken and being pushed into a carp pond.
What are you looking forward to this Summer at Potters?
I am still hoping to master the unicycle and I have a mentor coming in to help me! I just can’t wait to be outside with all the guests and having the best time. Where else can you do so much in one day? It really will be the best #SummerofFun ever at Potters