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Britain's Got Talent ventriloquist comes to High Wycombe
BRITAIN'S Got Talent is back on our screens and this time last year ventriloquist, Steve Hewlett, was on the show as he started his journey in the competition.
He ended up coming fourth in the talent show and is now bringing his own tour to the Wycombe Swan. Steve said it's a welcome return to the theatre as he was here for panto two years ago.
Steve Hewlett doesn't just love spending time with puppets- but he also loves being with people. Since he came fourth in last year's Britain's' Got Talent he has become almost a household name, and he is really enjoying it.
Bringing a puppet of BGT judge, Simon Cowell, out of the box on the show, was the turning point for him. And Little Simon is now set to appear in the comedian's tour, Thinking Inside The Box.
He said: "It had always been a dream to go on Britain's Got Talent.
"My aim was to try and make it to the Royal Variety Performance, but I had that taken away from me at the last post.
"One thing I wanted to do was a tour and BGT didn't do one last year.
"But I got some backing from local theatres in Eastbourne."
His regular puppet, Arthur Lager, opens the show but he also uses a selection of his other characters including a little dog called Chi Chi, Pongo the skunk, Little Simon Cowell - complete with baby Eric - Little Sinitta, and a new addition Little Keith Melon. Steve is also joined by illusionist Richard Griffin, who shows off his magic skills.
When I spoke to him he was doing an Easter pantomime with magician Paul Daniels and his assistant Debbie McGee in an Alice in Wonderland in which he plays Tweedle Dee while his mainstay puppet Arthur Lager is Tweedle Dummy.
Steve said: "I have done eight pantomimes but I have never done an Easter one before.
"It is quite new. Pantomimes in the good old days ran from November to April.
"I guess they kind of miss that these days and see a bit of an opening now.
"Bobby Davro is doing one too with Peter Pan."
Although he was excited to get starting on his own show he said: "I don't want this one to finish.
"I love working with people. To do a panto at this time of year is nice.
"I like sharing the stage with people. I love real people too - not just stuffed ones."
He last starred in a HIgh Wycombe pantomime in 2012 in Snow White, with Craig Revel Horwood and Ann Widdecombe.
Steve said: "There is a lovely team there. I loved High Wycombe.
"To go back to a venue where you spent four or five weeks it is really good to see the people back stage and front of house staff."
Since then has been a whirlwind for the ventriloquist. So what was it like being on Britain's Got Talent?
He said: "It wasn't the cameras and 13 million people watching, it was just Simon Cowell- knowing he had access to that buzzer while I was working.
"So many things go through your mind. Things you learnt as a professional act with 25 years of experience all go down the drain as it could go the opposite way just by the buzzer going off."
Steve said it has made his name almost household. He said during pantomime season you tend to get recognition in the town where you are performing. He said he used to go to Noodle Nation in HIgh Wycombe and was often recognised.
He added: "You kind of felt famous in that area. Now I get that wherever I go.
"As I said, I love people. If people want to say I voted for you- I don't mind that at all."
Catch Steve at the Wycombe Swan on May 6 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £18.50, with £2 off for concessions. There is a £1.50 booking fee. Call 01494 512000 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk.
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