National treasures and much-loved double-act, The Chuckle Brothers, have entertained millions of children for more than 25 years. SIBA MATTI spoke to Barry Elliot, one half of the duo, ahead of their live shows at the Beck Theatre this Saturday (19).
CANNON and Ball, The Two Ronnies and Morecambe and Wise – the British comedy hall of fame can boast a multitude of iconic double acts, and The Chuckle Brothers are no exception to the rule.
The loveable duo, best known for their hugely-popular television show, ChuckleVision – which spawned their infamous 'to me, to you' catchphrase – are taking their unique brand of slapstick on the road, visiting the Beck Theatre next Saturday (March 19).
Their latest offering, Barry Potter and His Full Blood Brother, Paul, a parody of the Harry Potter novels, will see the duo embark on an adventure to Pigsnorts School of Magic and attempt to foil Lord Fonterall's wicked plans to take over the school!
"It's a variety show for all the family," Barry, 66, reveals. "There will be lots of spectacular magic and illusions – in one part, even I don't know how it works!
"Of course, there will also be plenty of comedy, laughter and audience participation, plus singing and music – I will play drums while Paul will be on the keyboard.
"We are not huge fans of the Harry Potter books, we tend to just focus on whatever is popular at the time and keep the interest going.
"Our previous spoofs include Indiana Chuckles and The Kingdom of the Mythical Sulk, Star Doors – The Chuckles Strike Back, and Pirates of the River Rother."
Born into a showbiz family in Rotherham, Barry and Paul, 63, began their career in none other than their back garden.
"The only thing we ever wanted to do was become entertainers, just like our parents and older brothers, Jimmy and Brian (known as The Patton Brothers)," Barry explains.
"We began putting on shows in the garden when we were children, and our dad used to do shows 52 weeks a year so we would often go along. It caught on from there, we wanted to continue the family tradition."
But Barry, a married father-of-two with two grandchildren, admits he and Paul never imagined their act – and iconic catchphrase – would be so successful.
"We came up with 'to me, to you' completely by accident – it was just something we would always say when we were shifting furniture at home.
"We threw it into an episode of ChuckleVision and it just caught on, audiences loved it. We still get people coming up to us and saying 'to me, to you', all the time," he says, without a hint of irritation.
So why have the brothers' banana-skidding and custard-pie throwing antics - which earned them a BAFTA Award in 2008 - had such an enduring appeal?
"I think it's mainly because our humour never offends people and never goes out of date," says Barry, who cites Laurel and Hardy as his comedy heroes.
"Some of the newer comedians have a darker style but that suits the audiences they perform for, although it's not my cup of tea."
And Barry also admits he is not a fan of today's children's television shows.
"I just don't think they are as good," he says in his distinctive Yorkshire accent.
"A lot of them are too much about educating children, with not enough emphasis on comedy and making them laugh, like we do.
"Kids should be allowed to be kids."
Although most brothers and sisters experience some form of sibling rivalry, Barry insists he and Paul have always got on like a house on fire.
"Paul is a bit untidy, while I like everything in its place, but other than that, we rarely argue.
"We spend about 10 months of the year working together and when we are off, we mainly spend time with our own families and don't see each other much.
"We love working together but obviously it's important we have our own space as well."
And having struck gold with their winning formula, the pair have no plans to end their beautiful partnership – or slow down at all.
Barry adds: "We are like Bruce Forsyth, show business is our life and we have no intention of stopping yet."
The Chuckle Brothers come to the Beck Theatre on Saturday, March 19 at 2.30pm and 5.30pm. Tickets cost £14. To book, call 020 8561 8371 or visit www.becktheatre.org.uk