Ricky Tomlinson: My love for Gazza

  • Ricky Tomlinson: My love for Gazza
  • Ricky Tomlinson: My love for Gazza
  • Ricky Tomlinson: My love for Gazza

RICKY TOMLINSON, Mike Bassett and Paul Gascoigne; quite an unlikely combination, but one which was forged in a comedy instant.

Funnyman Tomlinson played hapless England football manager Bassett – and Gazza was hooked after seeing plenty of his own characteristics in Tonka, one of Bassett’s midfielders in the film.

Tomlinson is heading to the North-East next month for a couple of shows and is only too happy to tell how he and Gazza hit it off.

He said: “We built up a great friendship on Merseyside when he was playing for Everton after Walter Smith signed him from Middlesbrough around the time of the Millennium.

“It was about that time we released the Mike Bassett film and Paul absolutely loved it - he instantly fell in love with his parody character in the film.

“It always made him laugh, and I think he wanted Mike Bassett to be a proper manager for his team.’’

He added: “I often recall the fun we shared together when he would call over to see us at home during his time at Everton'

“He is bit of a lad, but the Geordies worship him. He has a huge heart and is very giving.

“I’m a Liverpool fan through and through, but when he was at Goodison Park we just struck up a brilliant friendship.

“I still have one of his signed shirts from that period. He wanted me to keep it to remember the laughs we shared on Merseyside.”

BBC Tees presenter Paul ‘Goffy’ Gough will be hosting An Evening with Ricky Tomlinson, with the former Brookside and Royle Family favourite looking forward to his return to the region.

He added: “I often head to the North-East to see my great friend Crissy Rock, the Benidorm TV actress, and I know how much Crissy loves living in the Durham area these days.

“I think the people from that patch and those around Merseyside are very similar, when I go there the people are always very warm and friendly - it’s a home from home really.

“I have also spent some great times at The Durham Miners Gala across the years. I was there with them all when I was speaking a few years ago and they were tremendous to me, real proper people - salt of the earth.

“My old friend Mike Elliott, the Century Radio host and talented actor and comic, was another strong northern link for me, it was so sad that we lost the great man a couple of years ago now.”

And a little known fact is that Tomlinson launched his acting career in Newcastle, at a time when he was getting his hands dirty working as a plasterer.

He said: “One of my first breaks was playing a part in a BBC TV programme called Play for TV, set in Tyneside.

“I was still working as a plasterer in Liverpool at that time, and the lads in Newcastle were brilliant to me then - Newcastle was really where my career really took off and I never looked back from then on. I downed my graft tools and the work started to really move, with offers of other telly stuff.”

North-East fans are in for a treat when his show tour arrives, a year after he played to a packed Dormans Club in Middlesbrough.

He added: “I just love getting into the clubs and talking about my life. It’s been a real rollercoaster, some great highs and some tough lows.

“People just love to ask about The Royle Family, Mike Bassett, Bobby Grant in Brookside, or the days of Boys from the Blackstuff - all of these roles have hit home to the public at some stage.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting people in the North East as we always share some laughs on stage as we look back on my career.”

An Evening with Ricky Tomlinson, is at the Belle Vue, Hartlepool this Easter on Thursday, April 13, and the Coxlodge Social Club, Gosforth, Newcastle on Thursday, April 27.

Tickets, which include a full support act, are £15 and available for Gosforth from John Coppinger on 07946 622 358 and for the Hartlepool gig from Goffy Media on 07990 588 424.

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