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28 October 2014
I'm sorry I haven't a clue

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30th Special


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The Pianist - Colin Sell


Are you ever, as an icon of this show, asked to make guest appearances and stuff like that?

I have occasionally, yes. I have been involved with the odd band, and been asked to do the odd bit of cabaret playing or cocktail playing something like that because people, regardless of whatever talents I may have, associate me with the show which is nice. So, yes, there is little spin off like that occasionally, yes, but it's interesting because nobody knows what I look like because there's only ever been one photograph of me published by the Radio Times. And so nobody knows what I look like. I don't get people stopping me in the streets and going "Ooh, you're Colin Sell" which is a bit of a relief in a way because I think sometimes people rather suffer for being in the public eye.

Well, we'll put you on the website…


I'm afraid that no one will see it there either.

You shouldn't say that.

Any favourite memories of the last 30 years?

I always enjoy doing the programme - obviously we all miss Willie. Two things really: There's a specific moment when accompanying Willie Rushton and he was doing what he always did, he did his own thing, and he just called out to me half-way through singing and he said "Keep up piano!" which the audience found very funny and I did as well because he was making it so difficult for me to follow.

I think the other thing, it isn't so much an memory, it's just a feeling about the programme is that what is very rewarding is that so many younger people come into it and perform on it and love doing it. And they fit in perfectly well. It's not as if it's just older comedians and somehow shutting out the young ones. It's great to have… we've had Tony Hawks and Jeremy Hardy and Sandi Toksvig and so on and so forth. And I dare say we could have even younger people if we wanted. People of the Mark Thomas generation. And the reason I said it is because apart from doing bits of music and so on and so forth, I also run the Music at East 15 acting school and I found that over the recent years that there are more and more young people now that listen to Radio 4 and therefore I have a lot of students who actually know the program where as once upon a time, when I was teaching, back until the middle of the 90s, young people weren't regular Radio 4 listeners and therefore they didn't associate my name with any sort of silly radio programme therefore this was a whole completely different story. So obviously I'm reaching out and if you look at the audience we had tonight at the 30th Anniversary show at the Playhouse Theatre, a pretty mixed audience in ages which is very nice. It isn't just people of our age and upwards.

I saw families as well as couple of famous faces… Judi Dench…

Indeed, who's been on the programme. She's actually been in it. I've got some friends here tonight who, students and so on, and they were just begging for tickets. So, that's nice.

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