Dead Ringers (TV recording): BBC TV Centre, London, 2007
The Now Show (BBC Radio recording): BBC Radio Theatre, London, 2008
The Great British Take Off (with Bill Dare): Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh, 2018
Jon Culshaw is a premier celebrity impressionist. Famed for many accurate impersonations, I first saw him star alongside Jan Ravens, Mark Perry, Kevin Connolly and Phil Cornwell at a TV recording of Dead Ringers at the BBC TV Centre in 2007. The show took a very long time to record and towards the end of the night, Culshaw walked onto the set between takes requesting and impersonating celebrities suggested by the flagging audience which livened things up considerably. I had never been interviewed by Michael Parkinson until that night.
Another recording, this time for radio, that I attended was The Now Show in 2008 featuring Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis, Jon Holmes, Emma Kennedy, Mitch Benn and Culshaw was the special guest that night. As ever with the Now Show, a piece of paper with a question for the audience to answer was left on the chair before the start of the recording. As I sat down, I picked up the sheet and read ‘What is the most unfortunate thing that has ever happened to you at school?’ I wrote down my answer which was ‘One afternoon when I was in the sixth form common room, I fell asleep and when I awoke somebody had tippexed my glasses and I thought I had gone blind!’ To close the recording (which was broadcast on Radio 4), Culshaw read out what I had written whilst impersonating Alan Bennett!
I saw Culshaw at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2018 who was interviewed by legendary comedy writer/producer Bill Dare from BC Radio 4’s Dead Ringers. The show delivered unscripted, spontaneous comedy and career conversation as politicians, sports personalities and celebrities are up for roasting.
Some of my particular favourites were Les Dawson, Terry Wogan, Michael Parkinson and Richard Wilson as Victor Meldrew. Culshaw’s list of accurate impersonations is vast and the audience helped choose which characters appear and what direction the show took. Culshaw had devised clever routines for each impression which made the show tight and very, very funny.