Impressionist and comedian Jon Culshaw has shared his memories of our beautiful borough of West Lancashire.
Famous for his Ozzy Osbourne impressions, the top BBC performer featured in one of The Advertiser’s recent articles about West Lancashire’s Greatest people.
Delighted and flattered to be included, Jon has never really left Ormskirk and continues to come back.
He said: “I mostly live in London, that is my home, but Ormskirk is my home, home.
“Ormskirk is home when my mind needs resettling.
“I come up to West Lancashire at least once every two or three weeks, it’s my town.”
The 45-year-old star has a string of hit TV shows behind him, Dead Ringers, ITVs The Impressionable Jon Culshaw and The Impression Show with Culshaw and Stephenson but still enjoys the traditional Lancashire countryside.
He said: “I love the scenery across West Lancashire, the drive down Holborn Hill where you can see all of the town is wonderful.
“And the drive through Westhead is also lovely, my dad was born in the Halton Castle Pub, which is very rock and roll.
“Ormskirk is a town that is very content with itself and when I walk through I still get that same sort of feeling of a sensibility, like I am walking through my childhood memories.”
Jon said that he can remember doing impressions of his teachers at school from a very young age, to the delight of his fellow classmates.
He said: “School was very jolly for me and I remember noticing all the characters, the teachers with the broad Lancashire accents, it was irresistible for me. I became a spokesperson of sorts for the students and merrily poked fun at the teachers and just had a laugh with it.”
Jon’s impressions continued through secondary school. He said: “I suspect they knew what I was doing every now and then, they became aware of their catchphrases and would sometimes they would say; ‘I don’t really talk like that, do I?’.
“West Lancashire is a lovely area full of rich characters, I always remember going to the St Anne’s Social Centre with my dad and watching them play bowls, there were endless characters there.”
The BBC comedian said that he always had a plan to go into entertainment, but it was radio that first caught his attention.
He said: “I had always had an interest in radio, I would listen to Radio City and would think about how the show was knitted together, it was fascinating to me.
“That’s when I started at the radio station at Ormskirk General Hospital in 1986 that I learned the craft and sprinkled a few characters in between, which went down very well.”
Joining Red Rose Radio, now Rock FM, in Preston at the age of 18 led to a natural progression of doing voiceover work and sending tapes to popular satire show Spitting Image where he voiced over 40 characters, including the then Prime Minister John Major.
Jon said: “You have got to keep up to date with the news and be able to pick out the figures that are ripe for parody.
“I enjoy impersonating political characters like Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. I don’t enjoy doing David Cameron or Nick Clegg, because although you could do an accurate impression you need a bit more charisma.
“Comedians Alan Carr, Michael McIntyre and John Bishop are good to do and Professor Brian Cox is another one. “
The new series of Dead Ringers is due to start this summer, with Jon off for a meeting with the writers after our chat. He is also still a regular guest on the Sky at Night, with astronomy another childhood hobby.
He said that there were never any characters that he can’t do: “When you are working intensively, they always get there eventually.
“But you always love doing the characters that you have some connection with because they are more memorable.
“Growing up in Ormskirk has shaped my comedy and humour, I find myself referring back the warmth and genuineness of the people.”