Basil Brush the fox is one of the most-loved British characters and has been entertaining millions of children and grown-ups on the telly since the 1960s.
He ran entire successful shows on the BBC and ITV and appeared in pantomimes all across the UK where he’d talk about life, sports and politics – everything while shouting his famous catchphrase Ha Ha Ha! Boom! Boom!
The opportunity for an interview with Basil Brush was offered by a charity initiative called The Smiling Sessions which invited a bunch of celebrities to perform virtual sing-alongs in favour of the elderly living in care homes and community centres in Great Britain.
‘Morning, Sir. First of all, thank you for the privilege. What have you learned in 50+ years on the telly?
After 50 years on the telly, I realise you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Kids love those old jokes that everyone has heard before, and then just say you are recycling and saving the planet. A good catchphrase is timeless, and you need to make sure you are one of a kind. I don’t know of any other talking foxes, except those that impersonate me advertising Bingo.
Have children changed in the last decades?
Yes, I do believe children have changed from the past. They are almost grown up too early. They are certainly taller, although I may be shrinking – but if you engage them in a theatre with a show like a pantomime it’s amazing how quickly they show their true colours and become children again. We don’t want them to grow up too soon, childhood is magical! If you get them off the iPads and play a board game like Frustration, they actually love it. Now, I love playing the odd video game and spending time on my iPad too, but family time and seeing a theatre show together is very important, and boy, do they love it if you get them on stage to pie Mr Martin in the face!
You performed for Prince William and Prince Harry when they were kids. Is this why they lost their hair?
I did perform for Harry and Wills at Kensington Palace. They were about 5 years old then, I think so, I don’t think I caused them to lose their hair, although one could be traumatised by a talking fox in your front room. But I doubt it was me, so I accept no responsibility for the hair loss.
What’s your relationship with Mr Bean?
I love Mr Bean but I am not sure we have any sort of relationship. He doesn’t have much to say for himself, but I do love his movies.
What’s your relationship with Mr Bean’s teddy bear?
As for me and Mr Bean’s teddy bear, on the advice of my lawyers, I am not going to say anything about me and a teddy bear other than to say that he’s a stuffed toy and I am a real-life talking fox. He isn’t real, ‘Nuff said!
What football team do you support?
Well, of course, I support the side that is winning. Ha Ha Ha! Boom! Boom! I love the Foxes [Leicester City F.C], especially when they won the league! I wanted to be their mascot and meet Jamie Vardy but they didn’t return my calls… never mind, I am more of a golfer myself and I love Tiger Woods and maybe one day I could be his caddy or clubhead cover for his driver, or maybe not! Ha Ha Ha! Boom! Boom!
What’s your favourite outfit?
My favourite outfit is the Greatest Showman outfit that I use on my touring shows. I love the green sparkle. I have a personal stylist, and the things she says are very personal indeed, she’s Ieve Piorete, and she works from the Theatre Royal in Windsor where I do my pantos… opposite Windsor Castle… got great bins to rummage through.
You’re ageing reasonably well. What’s your secret?
Botox: anyone who thinks I look old is talking out of their Botox. I get reinvented so to speak every few years like the doctor, but I am not coming back as a woman, yet – never say never!
The fox hunting season has virtually just finished. Did you get an official invitation?
The fox hunting season never gets started, but I am only ever chased by men in red coats when I don’t pay my bill at Butlin’s Resorts… Ha Ha Ha! Boom! Boom!
Did you find this interview vaguely inappropriate?
Not at all inappropriate, ‘cos I answered all the questions and was told if I got them all right I would get a prize…
Not at all.
Oh no! That’s The Chase, which of course I won by beating Jenny Ryan, thank goodness for Charlie Higson, he got everything right in the final… I just looked like Foxy… was I daft as a brush? No, just cunning as a fox… but thank you for asking… Ha Ha Ha! Boom! Boom!
Pictures provided from Basil Brush’s private collection © belongs to their respective owners
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