REVIEW – Danny Baker – Cradle To The Stage at the Lowry

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IF you went into this show expecting a two-hour live version of his acclaimed TV show, Cradle to the Grave, which I freely admit, I hadn’t watched, you will have walked out a very happy bunny.

In a 41-year career, covering journalism, television and radio, Danny Baker has been there, seen it, done it and worn the T shirt (Marc Bolan’s as it happens) probably more than once.

In well over two hours, a show that should have seen him take you from the cradle, if not all the way to the grave, at least to what Danny hoped would be his retirement in June of this year, yet only managed to get to his early teens.

Which is not surprising, given he was in Led Zeppelin for all of 35 minutes, was friends with people like Spike Milligan and Kenneth Williams and managed to work at the NME.

Danny has a wealth of tales, and a two-hour show became closer to three, but everyone seemed grateful just to hear another tale, and would have happily stayed until midnight, which given the queue at the merchandise stall for autographs, some of them did.

He has had the pleasure of interviewing and getting to know many famous people during his career, but nothing beats the tales of his own life. For so many people, the 70’s was a time of change, and in South London, Debenham road was no different.

Growing up a stone’s throw from Millwall football club, and from a family of dockworkers, it’s a wonder Danny made it to adulthood, given some of the tales he tells, it’s also amazing he didn’t end up following in his Dad and Uncles footsteps onto the docks, wheeling and dealing.

It was leaving school at 14 and getting a job in a record shop that set Danny onto the road that led to the NME, Daz adverts, Pets win prizes, and so much more besides, that led him eventually to the stage, mainly because the TV show had been so well received.

He is very honest about why he isn’t on Radio 2, and why he feels lucky to be on Five live, but most of all, it’s his tales of just normal life that engage the audience so readily.

Perhaps because he’s not one of the media trained darling set and has (by his own admission) relied on “blind dumb luck” to get where he is, might explain why he gets on so well with everyone, and why he is so popular.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed so much, probably because his upbringing on a council estate in the 70’s mirrored my own in Hull.

Easily one of the most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure to see, and would happily go along again if he decides to carry on and tour again.

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Quays News Rugby League reporter who delivers match reports, previews, interviews and features from the sport as well as entertainment.

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