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Ian Parkin

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I've seen the Jonathan Ross Show a couple of times and saw the backing band he used to have on, but I never relised that in the group was a former school classmate of mine (Prince Edward and Hurlfield) and Manor born lad Ian Parkin.

From a Star article on him:

Four Poofs And A Piano are exactly what they say they are and for at least one of them, that’s a big leap.

Ian Parkin, Sheffield-born and brought up on the Manor estate by Salvation Army parents, enjoyed nine years entertaining the nation on the Jonathan Ross TV chat show.

“We lived on Windy House Lane on the Manor Estate,” said Ian aged 54.

“It wasn’t a bad place to grow up at all. There were odd bits of trouble with the gang lads but we were usually all right.

“We would play in the streets – go out in the morning and go back home at night. We could be anywhere on the estate and someone would come out from a house and say ‘Ian, your mum’s calling you.’

“It was like the jungle drums. It felt like all the adults were looking out for you. It always felt very safe to us.”

Ian’s life since the Manor has been quite a journey.

His dad retired as a postman and took a job as a caretaker at the United Reformed Church on Norfolk Street in the city centre and young Ian joined the Crucible youth theatre.

He left Hurlfield School, worked at Cole Brothers – and was sent home because the flares on his mid-’70s trousers were too wide – had a spell as a relief postman and delivered furniture before doing a course at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama.

His song and dance abilities got him into musicals in London and touring the country. He had a part in an episode of the Eric Sykes TV series, toured as one of the legendary Black And White Minstrels and played opposite Noel Gordon in Call Me Madam.

“My mum thought I had made it when I got into the Black and White Minstrels – in her eyes that was the pinnacle,” said Ian.

“The Black And White Minstrels were the reason we had a colour telly at home so my mum could enjoy the show more. We had a great time, there was a great camaraderie among us on the show. I really enjoyed it.”

But the big break came exactly 10 years ago.

“The Four Poofs began when I was working on the reception at the Groucho Club in the West End,” said Ian.

Ian lives in West Norwood in South East London. He has a yearning to eventually retire to the seaside, but misses Sheffield.

“Sheffield still feels like home to me. I can walk around town and it comes back to me how it was.

“One of my happiest memories is of the Christmas lights. We would walk from Castle Market to the bottom of The Moor. People would come on coach trips. It was a magical experience.

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That's brilliant History dude, - the hidden fame of a local lad, 9 years on a top rated BBC TV programme (even though I can't stand "Wossy" and watched it as little as possible.

On two occasions, once when the guest was fellow "poof" (not very PC but their own expression not mine) Elton John and again when the guest was Peter Kay, When "Wossy" introduced these guests they cams onto the stage and instead of going to greet Wossy and sit with him they went straight to Four Poofs and a Piano and did a bit of a turn with them, - both of them singing with them, much to Wossy's annoyance.

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"The Black And White Minstrels were the reason we had a colour telly"

Got to laugh at this one, - bought a COLOUR TV to watch the BLACK AND WHITE minstrel show

However, at the time it was amazing how many people did do exactly that

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We were very late getting our first Colour set. I think it was around 1976. It was a Ferguson but it was branded Granada cause everyone rented their set at that time. It had a MASSIVE back on the set. I have a picture of it, but I don't want to post it due to the fact it shows Jimmy Saville on it! :wacko:

I seem to recall that Ian lived on Woodthorpe for a while. His mum used to go to the Mecca Bingo on Queen's Road according to my mum, she went there too.

I think the drama teacher at Hurlfield Meg Jepson had a big influence on Ian's career choice. I think she still works teaching drama to kids. I recall her coming up to the Manor Lodge with a troop of kids. They performed plays in the ruins several times at the weekends.

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In 1976 Jimmy Savile would have been on TV quite a lot. At that time he was a regular presenter of Top of the pops, every Saturday he had his own show Jim'll fix it! which was at the height of its popularity and he regularly featured on news and chat shows, mainly to do with running marathons every weekend to raise funds for his "work" with hospitals, most notably the Stoke Mandaville spinal injuries unit. On ITV he also had a series of TV adverts, the road safety ones for using a seat belt, Clunk, click every trip.

Given his popularity and TV exposure at that time his image in a photo of that vintage is hardly avoidable.

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