Monday, 26 January 2015
An Evening With Bernie Keith - Derngate Northampton
It speaks volumes as to the popularity of BBC Radio Northampton's Bernie Keith that this show was sold out in less than 2 hours. Also that he should wish to share his Birthday with his listeners. Not only that but the biggest house in the history of this wonderful old theatre turned out for this one off extravaganza. I struggled for a ticket and rather fortunately procured a seat at the back of the Upper Circle. I say seat it was more of an eyrie perched on the north face of the Eiger! My companion Kevin lives in Oxfordshire and found it difficult to imagine any of the radio presenters in that area receiving the same kind of adulation and following as Bernie. We did take the opportunity to pop onto the stage for a quick photo against the safety curtain backdrop. The atmosphere was building nicely as 7:45 approached unfortunately it all got a bit too much for the lady on the row in front who had a funny turn. She managed to get to the end of the aisle before being violently sick! Perhaps it was the excitement of seeing Bernie or maybe as I suspect a case of altitude sickness we will never know. But the show must go on as they say and by the second half, after the interval you could hardly smell anything after all the foot traffic. Bernie had mentioned on the radio in the run up to the show just how nervous he was getting at the very mention of the show. He had even had a strong word with his underwear warning that they were in for a busy old night. He need not of worried as from the word go he had the rapturous crowd in the palm of his hand. Regaling us with tales from his childhood and his love of the radio and broadcasting right through to a graphic account of his recent prostate examination... It certainly was a full and frank no holds barred 'warts and all' account of his life and the crowd loved every minute of it. Also on stage with Bernie was another Radio Northampton Broadcaster 'Rob Adcock' who was Ernie Wise to Bernie's Eric Morecambe. We were promised the odd unexpected guest and certainly got one in the shape of 'Benedict'. Certainly caused a bit of a stir with the ladies and not least Bernie.. Not to be outdone we also got to see 'Riley' Bernie's Miniature Shcnauzer. It was a lovely gesture that everyone also got a cake during the interval as well. The second half was an open house of audience questions with priority given to those willing to stand up and ask. Naturally I had one up my sleeve and thankfully a microphone was soon on hand to assist. Quite often when Bern mentions me tongue in cheek on the show he tells me that i'll never get anywhere with two Christian names. So I asked him long with the likes of Elton, Cliff and George how having two Christian names had enhanced his career? Not sure he totally answered the question but who cares. It was a hilarious night and Bernie got a thoroughly deserved standing ovation and everyone went home very happy.