Musical director Laurence Holloway is bringing the big band he played with on Michael Parkinson’s chat show and BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing to Norden Farm tonight (Saturday, April 9) for an evening of good old fashioned dancing.

Laurence says, excitedly: “This weekend it’s going to be proper dances: the waltzes and the foxtrots and the quick steps. Most of the music I’m using is from the Strictly days.

“I do what they call the American songbook so brilliant songs from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, really good songs, mine are genuine dances.”

I asked if he can do the dances as well as play the tunes and he tells me: “I used to, I used to be a very nifty dancer but you don’t get a chance to these days I’m always conducting. I used to do a nifty quick step but I don’t do it anymore. I just count the band in and sit back and relax.”

Laurence, 78, has certainly earned the right to ease up a bit. He began his TV career as musical director on Frost on Saturday in the 1960s and went on to do Wicked Women and Frost on Sunday in the ‘70s. He was musical director for the TV movie An Audience with Ronnie Corbett and on Parkinson in the late ‘90s and tinkled the ivories on Bruce Forsyth’s celebrity-led Strictly from its inception in 2004 to 2005.

Laurence says music has always played a large part in his life: “I started playing when I was four. My father played piano and my brother did, he still does. There was music in the house and every week it was off to some relation’s house for a singsong.

“I started having lessons when I was seven and I took to it, I liked it. I did the football and the cricket as well, but music was my main aim.”

Born and raised in Oldham, Laurence Holloway left school in his teens and was soon off travelling the country as a professional musician.

“I think it was at about 14 that I became organist and choir master at the local church,” he recalls. “At 16 I passed my exams and I was supposed to take a proper job, which I did for a while, as an apprentice draftsman for six months, I learnt how to make tea, that’s all I did. I was glad to leave.

“I went on the road as a professional musician at 17. I’ve been on the road more or less ever since, apart from becoming a band reader and doing television.

“For a year I did cruises, I was on the Cunard Line. We used to go to New York and I used to just dash off the boat and go to the jazz clubs and listen to Count Basie and people like that. A steward on the ship was my good friend Lord Prescott. We have stayed in touch ever since. I was a piano player and I’m still a piano player but he’s moved on.”

Laurence may still be a piano player but he has certainly made his mark. For TV he not only wrote for Parkinson and Strictly, but also composed the well-known theme tunes for Blind Date and Beadle’s About.

A decade later and he is again playing with the big band from his TV days, he tells me: “When I left Strictly the band weren’t very pleased, it was a good gig for them. They’re freelance musicians and they’re the top ones in the country so I’ve reassembled them for this Saturday night. It should be wonderful.”

Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead, Saturday, April 9, 8pm. Details: 01628 788997