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Reality TV Interview

Barry Chuckle ('Celebrity Coach Trip')

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The Chuckle Brothers on Celebrity Coach Trip

© Channel 4

When we heard the Celebrity Coach Trip lineup, one name jumped out at us and smacked us around the chops. The Chuckle Brothers. The comedy institution and legendary children's entertainers were making their first venture into the world of reality TV, and we can't wait to see what the results are like. Eager to find out more, we gave Barry (the small one) a call to discover whether he enjoyed his holiday around Europe

Were you a fan of Coach Trip before you took part in the show?
"Yeah, we'd seen little bits of it when we'd been on tour. We'd just have Channel 4 on at 5.30pm and it always seemed quite interesting. So when they came up with the idea of a celebrity one, it was just fortunate that it came at a time when we had a six-week break. So we thought, 'Yeah let's go for it. Why not?'"

Had you ever been on a coach holiday before?
"I haven't actually. I really didn't think it would be my cup of tea at first. Paul has been on one before, he went on one to Yugoslavia many years ago and wasn't keen on that. But we were up for it and the added surprise was that we didn't know which celebrities were taking part. We only found out when we got there. But, it was great. I would imagine that it's a lot better than going on Big Brother, because on that show of course you can't just walk off and get away from everybody. But the coach trip was fine, we got to visit lots of exciting places and that broke everything up and made it all a good time."

What can you reveal about the trip?
"We started in the Czech Republic and we stayed there two days waiting for everyone to arrive. They didn't want anyone to find out who the other celebrities were, so it was like something for the FBI. But when we did finally get on the coach, we made some really good friends. In the Czech Republic, we did some ballet dancing and tank driving, which was really exciting and that helped us all bond at the start. But we really didn't know who would be taking part. It was a real surprise, but we all got on. You have to swap seats quite a lot and get to know everyone else on the coach, but that wasn't a problem at all."

How was Brendan?
"Brendan was great as well of course, as a fellow Yorkshireman. We'd never met before, but he was a great guy. He looks a bit nasty sometimes with some of the contestants on the show, but we got on brilliantly with him and so did all the other celebs. We did the whole 'to me, to you' with him."

So there were no fights between the other celebs?
"Oh, yeah it was all great. Well, the majority. There was a bit of a spat later on, which you may have heard about in your investigations on the net. It was two famous couples who joined, who didn't get on in the real world. First up was Tony Blackburn and David Van Day. Then the next couple were Cheryl Baker and Rodney Marsh. I'm not sure how it will come across on television, but it wasn't very nice at the time, I can tell you. Cheryl and David had a long-running rivalry from their pop days and she didn't like him long before they were on the coach together, so it wasn't great when they were thrown together on there."

Have you turned down reality shows like this before?
"Yeah, we've been asked to do I'm A Celebrity a few times, but we've always been unavailable. Because of the time it airs, we are always on tour or getting ready and doing a pantomime somewhere. We work all year round, you see, and we never have the time to spare to commit to some of these shows. It just so happened that Coach Trip was just a two-week thing and it fitted in a break. And it was nice, because this was the first ever Celebrity version of the show."

You guys never stop touring and working. Will you ever slow down as you begin to get a bit older?
"No, I don't think so. We don't quite do the same lengths of tours and we can't do as much of the physical stuff, but we're still selling out shows and enjoying it just as much as we ever have, so why start winding down? That's what we say, anyway. I can't see us ever winding down that much. We'll probably drop dead on stage."

What's the secret to your long-lasting success?
"I think we've been a double act for 47 years now and I think it's humour that doesn't offend anyone, which is the key. It's humour that anyone can laugh at. We get people of all ages coming to our shows and we have parents who grew up watching us, now bringing their kids along. We try to make shows that span generations. Also, being brothers, we never really fall out. Obviously we occasionally have little arguments, but we spend most of our time together and we always smooth things over pretty quickly."

Is there anything that you haven't got around to doing in your careers that you've always wanted to do?
"We've always wanted to make a film. A Chuckle Brothers movie. We've got a lot of student fans and older guys and girls as well. They don't come to our shows because they know that there will be lots of kids there. But they would love to come and see a movie. So we've always wanted to do that and there is one in the pipeline now for us to do next year. That is very exciting. We'll probably be doing that in May, June time. It is a spoof horror and it's going to be in 3D, which is another first for us. We've never been in 3D before."

Do you think children's TV has deteriorated since the '80s and '90s when ChuckleVision was in its prime?
"For me, I don't think it is [as good]. There's not enough time there for entertainment. I think there's also probably too many cartoons. I mean there always was cartoons with Tom & Jerry and things like that, but now I think they are going too far that way. It is probably down to the investment and because they are cheaper and easier to make. I also think they are taking away too many of the real entertainment shows and all they care about is the educational stuff. That's obviously really important, but I think kids need a break and a laugh as well. That's important when you are growing up. So no, I don't think things are as good as they once were."

Celebrity Coach Trip starts on Monday, November 8 at 5.30pm on Channel 4.

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