Who do you think you are?
Kevin Whately

Kevin Whately - How we did it

Family Performer

Grandmother: Doris Phillips

Doris Phillips
Doris Phillips

Kevin knew that on his father's side there were lots of vicars, and he had been told in the past that his maternal grandmother was a singer. Kevin once earned his living as a folk singer and has a daughter who is a professional singer, so he was very keen to discover the truth about whether there had once been another performer in the family.

Step 1

From programmes and cuttings Kevin discovered that whilst most of the Jesmond Jesters' material was comic, Doris often sang serious classical pieces. One programme in particular showed that she performed at the Newcastle Conservatoire.

Step 2

Kevin went online to search through newspapers to see if Doris was mentioned in any other reviews or listings. To his amazement, he found reference to Doris performing with the Newcastle Bach Choir on BBC Radio in 1938.

Step 3

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Dr Eric Cross confirms that Doris appeared at the City Hall

Kevin met specialist expert Dr Eric Cross, the current conductor of the Newcastle Bach Choir, at Newcastle's City Hall. It's a venue that is close to Kevin's heart, as he has performed there many times as a folk singer. Eric revealed that Doris had sung at City Hall with the Bach Choir in the 1930s. Kevin learned that Doris had sung professionally and had been a soloist surrounded by national and international singers. Dr Cross also confirmed that she had sung as a soloist on national radio to an audience of millions.

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