Funnymen Roy and Phil Walker looking forward to performing together in Say What You See at Chorley Theatre

Roy Walker is a TV comedy legend – and synonymous with the game show Catchphrase, even two decades after he stepped down following 14 years as the host.

By Tony Durkin
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 1:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 2:45 pm

Even now, he says someone mentions it to him every single day, with repeats on the Challenge channel providing the added bonus of introducing his spell on the show to a new audience.

Before that, following Roy’s ‘discovery’ on ITV’s New Faces, his deadpan style of comedy delivery was an immensely popular feature of Granada’s The Comedians – and comedy is clearly in the blood, as his sons Phil and Mark both followed him into that aspect of showbusiness – and Phil’s Woofers Comedy Club sessions have proved a big hit in Lytham, where the family made their home.

Despite following the same career path – and proving a big hit in his own right – Phil has rarely worked with his dad, with a few charity shows being the exception.

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The show offers a rare chance to see Roy and Phil Walker performing together

Now, however, the father and son funnymen are shaping up for sharing the bill in a very special show heading for Chorley’s Little Theatre on Sunday, April 10 and then set to head out to other venues, including the Belfast Comedy Festival, over the coming months.

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It’s entitled Say What You See, after Roy’s legendary catchphrase from Catchphrase and is billed as an evening filled with comedy and life stories.

“Basically it will be the two of us doing what we do, stand-up comedy, and then have invite questions from the audience and also hopefully play a bit of Catchphrase,” said Phil.

Roy Walker hosted ITV's Catchphrase for 14 years

"It should be a great night. We haven’t worked together that often over the years and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Roy, now 81, has fond memories of Catchphrase and is delighted his spell on it is still remembered so clearly and so fondly.

"Les Dawson used to live nearby and he was very good with his advice,” he said.

"He once told me ‘if you want a long career, get a game show’ and he was right. It was really fun to do and the people loved it.

Phil and Roy Walker are looking forward to the show

"It still gets mentioned to me every single day and I suppose when it was shown played a big part in that – early on a Saturday, you’re a face in their home, you’re well dressed and polite, they find that endearing and they remember.”

The idea for the Say What You See stage show with Phil came about a few months ago when Phil was hosting a weekend of vintage comedy at Lytham Hall.

Funnyman Johnnie Casson was due to be on the bill, but had to pull out through illness and Roy stepped in.

It was his first performance after Covid and Roy said: “It was good to get back on stage. First of all I wanted to see if I could still make people laugh and also if I could remember anything.

"It was a great night, we had lots of nice comments and the idea of us being on stage together grew from there. At first, we thought to just both do stand-up but Phil came up with the idea of interviewing me and that has sparked plenty of interest.

"We’ve been getting phone calls asking us to take it along to various venues and I hope people enjoy it.”

Roy broke through to success and national prominence when he recorded the highest marks ever given to a comedian on the talent show New Faces. It was the start of a television career that has blossomed ever since and has seen him starring on all the major TV variety shows.

It was 1986 when he hosted his first series of Catchphrase, which went on to attract more than 15 million viewers. In 1998 whilst hosting the show Roy was surprised by Michael Aspel with his big red book to be the subject of This Is Your Life.

In recent years Roy has continued to perform on cruise ships, theatres and even the Edinburgh Fringe where his one-man show was critically acclaimed with five-star reviews. On Thursday, March 31, he is performing in aid of the Ukrainian Aid appeal at the Viva showbar in Blackpool.

It’s one of a number he had done already at various venues for the same cause and he retains a special affection for Blackpool, the proximity to which is why he made the family home Lytham many years ago.

Phil was voted City Life Comedian of the year at Manchester’s Comedy Store in 2002. Previous winners include Peter Kay and Steve Coogan.

Phil has since become a headline act at most of the leading comedy clubs in the UK and internationally in hotels, theatres and on major cruise lines.

In 2012 he made his debut at the Edinburgh Festival and received four-star critical acclaim for his show "Is this it?”

Three years ago, Phil became a children’s books author with his debut book ‘The Snots’, which was recently listed in the top 100 friendship books of all time by the book authority.

He has just published a second book “The Snots & The Snot Rocket,” and has been delighting school children up & down the UK on tours of schools & libraries.

Last year, Phil made his acting debut in David Slattery-Christy’s new play, Dan Leno “Naturally Insane!” at Lytham Hall and in London’s West End, playing the eccentric Doctor Savage.

Pantomime has also been a big part of Phil’s career, having appeared in 20 pantos to date and this year is set to be a busy year of touring, including support dates for Jason Manford.

Say What You See with Roy and Phil is on Sunday, April 10, at 7.30pm. Ticket details at www.chorleytheatre.com/whats-on