Tenpole Tudor far from over the hill

Ed Tenpole Tudor tells a fine yarn about his screwball audition for the Sex Pistols’ film, The Great Rock ‘n’Roll Swindle.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 12th March 2015, 5:00 pm
Ed Tenpole Tudor
Ed Tenpole Tudor

“I’d been at drama school and the audition was in a tiny theatre, so I went through the stage door and made a grand entrance,” recalled Ed.

“All the other lads, hundreds of them, were sitting around in the stalls picking their noses, and I said, ‘Hello, I’m Ten Pole’ – are these auditions for Hamlet?” and they all screamed with laughter.

“It is on the first entrance you’re made and I’ve always liked subverting people’s expectations. I knew in my heart I was going to get the part and I did.”

Malcolm McClaren, the band’s manager, had his eye on a Sid Vicious lookalike to play the role of Tadpole, the kiosk attendant, who sang the wacky song ‘Who Killed Bambi’ and a mad cover version of Rock around the Clock in the movie.

But the film’s director, Julian Temple, gave Ed the nod. Tenpole, grandson of spiritualist Wellesley Tudor Pole, added: “It changed my life.

“A few months before I’d answered an advert in the window of a fish and chip shop, saying: ‘Wild front man wanted.’

“I got the job, in a group called The Visitors, and we played at the Marquee and the review said the band are excellent apart from the bug-eyed cretin on vocals – so they sacked me.

“I was at home feeling depressed, until a friend told me the Sex Pistols were auditioning for a new singer. If he hadn’t phoned I wouldn’t have known about it. I was in the film, but as far as I was concerned I’d also got the job as the Pistols’ singer too.

“But when Sid died then everything stopped.”

He returned with his band Tenpole Tudor, enjoying a top ten hit with the marauding Swords of a Thousand Men.

“I like raising people’s spirits and I’m a great believer in the essential goodness of human nature and Swords, I think, is an uplifting track.

“We get all sorts coming to the shows, middle-aged punks, hippies, teenagers and old aged pensioners.

“The young generation are a different breed. I wonder where the next Clash or a mad genius like McClaren is going to come from.

“My generation were all drug-taking drop outs, it seemed. There seemed to be no rules. Nowadays there seem to be rules for everything. Maybe the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s was the golden age of rock and roll and that’s it.”

Ed has acted too, in films including Black Heart with Clint Eastwood, and Alex Cox productions Sid and Nancy and Straight to Hell. He also enjoyed parts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Game of Thrones.

“Acting is a terrible job, they are all crushed creatures waiting for their next part.

“All I want is a rock and roll life.”

The Rezillos plus Tenpole Tudor, Clitheroe Grand Theatre, March 22. Tickets £12 call 01200 421599.

Tony Dewhurst