Grumpy Rick brings his show to town

HE'S known for being a just a little bit grumpy.Coming to Ipswich next month, keyboard player Rick Wakeman is today annoyed with his milkman. Entertainments reporter JAMES MARSTON finds out why.

HE'S known for being a just a little bit grumpy.

Coming to Ipswich next month, keyboard player Rick Wakeman is today annoyed with his milkman.

Entertainments reporter JAMES MARSTON finds out why.

HE'S perhaps the most prolific of the Grumpy Old Men.

Norfolk man Rick Wakeman has appeared in every edition of the BBC show and on November 9 The Grumpy Old Picture Show takes the stage at The Regent Theatre, Ipswich.

Rick, 58, said: “I did a one man show back in 1991 where I sang and played and told a few anecdotes. I did about four tours and thought I couldn't really take it much further. I wanted to do something a bit different.

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“My promoter asked if I wanted to have a go again but I didn't know what format to take. Then I went out to lunch with the producer of Grumpy and he asked if I was doing any solo touring. He said I might was well do a bit of moaning.”

It was while on a train from Liverpool Street to his Norfolk home Rick came up with some ideas - including the title Grumpy Old Picture Show.

He said: “I thought about using some photos to enhance the stories, I thought about using video footage and interacting with some other musicians. I put all the ideas into a box file and left it for a couple of weeks. I often do that and when I look again it's a load of rubbish.”

But his initial ideas wouldn't go away.

He said: “I had a few meetings and found it wasn't really practical and would be complicated. I wouldn't have any safety net on stage either and timing would be crucial.

“But the English delight in watching the tight rope walker fall of the tight rope so we thought let's give it a go. It took 60 people and six months to get ready.”

Grumpy Old Picture Show is a one-man show with music, anecdotes about Rick's life and film clips.

Rick said: “Nobody has ever done anything like it before and I do moan a lot. The milk arrived late today which annoyed me. I need about four cups of tea in the morning but I could only have two. It made me grumpy.

“I am a grumpy old man but no different from anyone else. We moan and whinge but, being English, we never do anything about it.”

Tickets for Grumpy Old Picture Show are available on 01473 433100.

What makes you grumpy? Are you a moaner? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to

Rick set his heart on being a concert pianist at the age of five. He won a scholarship at 18 to the Royal College of Music, but left midway through the second year to work as a session musician.

The post-psychedelic band Yes boosted Rick's musical career.

He collaborated with Tim Rice on George Orwell's 1984, and wrote music for 25 movies.

Rick has also appeared on Countdown.

His new book, Grumpy Old Rockstar comes out in October 2008

Q Do you have an unfulfilled ambition?

A I would like to write an opera

Q What's the highlight of your career?

A Living so long. Very few in our business reach 58.

Q What's your most embarrassing moment?

A There's so many I could probably fill your newspaper. But what springs to mind is when I was at a folk festival in Devon in the 1970s. I needed the loo and went behind the tent. I was wearing tracksuit so I had to drop my trousers. When I finished I got a round of applause. There was about 600 people watching from the car park.

Q Tell us something about yourself which our readers won't know?

A “It's not very rock and roll. I like gardening.”

Q What's your diva demand in the dressing room?

A “Cashew nuts. I'm addicted to them. And bottles of water. And PG Tips. ”