Stand-up with Lloyd and his comedy hero Hilarity with Lloyd and his comedy hero
FUNNYMAN Lloyd Hollett was born to entertain. He had his first taste of show business at ten playing a workhouse boy in Oliver! and then set about performing one-man shows for classmates at school.
At the age of 16, he queued at the stage door to get his comedy hero Jim Davidson's autograph. Fifteen years later, Lloyd is supporting Davidson on a national tour.
On Friday, May 4, the pair play the Winter Gardens in Lloyd's home town of Margate.
Lloyd, 31, who will be in Canterbury's panto Sleeping Beauty this year and has played Herne Bay's Kings Hall, said: "It is strange how life works out.
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"I grew up with the likes of Jim Davidson, Michael Barrymore and Russ Abbot on Saturday night TV.
"I was on holiday with my mum in 1996 when I got Jim's autograph. Ironically, being 16, I was too young to see Jim's adult show at the Bournemouth Pavilion so we watched Michael Barrymore at the Bournemouth International Conference Centre instead.
"But as we walked home, I could see a queue outside the stage door of the Pavilion so I grabbed a piece of paper from my mum's handbag and got Jim's autograph when he came out.
"I never thought that, 15 years later, we would end up on the same bill back at the Bournemouth Pavilion. It just shows how you should never give up on a dream."
He ended up with the date thanks to the late Dave Lee.
Davidson had written a play about comics called Stand Up And Be Counted. Herne Bay comedian Dave was pencilled in to play Billy Simpson. But Davidson realised big-hearted Dave wasn't right for the part and asked him to recommend a new face.
The tubby comic suggested lanky ferret-faced Lloyd, who had played PC Pongo in Aladdin at Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre with Dave in 2007.
So Lloyd joined the cast of what turned out to be a fairly short run. But Davidson was impressed and signed him up to be his support act on tour. Last year they worked together back at the Bournemouth Pavilion.
Lloyd said: "People warned me about working with Jim but he is a softie and a pleasure to work with. Many headline comics veto the material of the support acts but Jim told me to do whatever I liked and he'd skip the material in his own act if it clashed."
Lloyd added: "I think he likes me because I never swear on stage. In fact, Jim isn't that bad these days although Jim will always be Jim. But people like Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle do a lot worse stuff. Jim just says what many people are thinking."
Lloyd was born in Margate in 1980 and now lives in Westgate-on-Sea. He has three brothers: Dean, 39; Lawrence, 22, who works for Currys and plays drums, and Oliver, 20. There is also sister Michelle, 40, who works in a Cliftonville coffee shop.
Lloyd said: "It will be nice to play my home town. I did amateur shows at the Winter Gardens when I was starting out and compered a few times but this will be the first time I have performed my act on the same stage where Laurel and Hardy and The Beatles performed."
Davidson also had a sell-out summer season at the theatre in the 1980s.
Lloyd said: "Many old school friends have contacted me on Facebook to say they have bought tickets. It will be great to see them again."
After being bitten by the showbusiness bug in Oliver! at Margate's Theatre Royal, starstruck Lloyd convinced teacher Steven Murphy at Drapers Mills Primary School to let him perform a one-boy show.
Lloyd recalled: "The show was inspired by Russ Abbot. In fact, it was his entire act I had stolen off the telly!"
That first performance was recorded for posterity by Mr Murphy on a camcorder. Lloyd then moved to Margate's Hartsdown Technology College where he studied for an NVQ in performing arts.
He continued performing his one-man shows to Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils at Easter, summer and winter.
He said: "I don't know how I got away with it but the students seemed to like it. Perhaps it was because each show got them out of two complete lessons! By this time I was using Michael Barrymore's act and doing a Ken Dodd by going on and on.
"One of my classmates from those days, Neil Robinson, got in touch recently on Facebook and has now set up my new website. I had been looking for someone to do it for ages. It is strange how things work out."
Matthew Tipperton from Canterbury's Advision TV has produced Lloyd's DVD – the latest with nine cameras.
When Lloyd left school he began honing his singing and comedy act in the holiday camps of Devon, which led to summer seasons at Butlins and Pontins and bookings on cruise ships. He has since staged one-man shows at Margate's Theatre Royal and released two DVDs including the latest, Live and Unleashed.
He has chalked up a string of panto appearances including PC Pongo in Aladdin at Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre with Stephen Mulhern, Shaun Williamson and Dave Lee.
This year he returns to the theatre as the Storyteller in Sleeping Beauty. He was in the same production alongside Boyzone's Shane Lynch two years ago in Guildford. Lloyd said: "It was written by director Paul Hendy and is really funny."
Lloyd added: "It will be great working in Canterbury again. It is near enough to commute and to get home for Christmas."
He will also be able to spend the festive break with his girlfriend, Danielle Williams. They have been dating since September. Danielle was working as a waitress in a bar in Hungerford where Lloyd was performing.
Lloyd said: "She is not show business at all but is getting used to me being away. She survived me being in panto last year so it is looking good."
Jim Davidson The Legend Tour with Lloyd Hollett , Margate Winter Gardens, Friday, May 4. 7.30pm Tickets £20 from www.margatewintergardens.co.uk or call 01843 292795/296111. See also www.lloydhollett.com