Harold Owen "Gary" Wilmot, MBE (born 8 May 1954) is a British singer, actor, comedian, presenter, writer and director who rose to fame as a contestant on New Faces.[1] As a television presenter, he is best known as the host of You and Me, So You Want To Be Top and Showstoppers. His West End credits include Me and My Girl, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Prince of Egypt and Wicked.

Gary Wilmot

Born
Harold Owen Wilmot

(1954-05-08) 8 May 1954 (age 68)
OccupationSinger, presenter, actor, comedian, writer, director
Children2
Websitegarywilmot.co.uk

Wilmot was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2018 Birthday Honours for services to drama and charity.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Wilmot was born in Lambeth, London, into a mixed-race household; his mother was English, and his father, Harry, was Jamaican and arrived in Britain on the Empire Windrush in 1948. Harry was a member of vocal harmony group The Southlanders,[3] but died of a brain tumour in 1961, when his sons were still young.[3][4] Despite these show business roots, Wilmot's upbringing was outside of the limelight. He worked on building sites and in factories, but soon realised manual labour was not a career he wished to pursue.[5]

TelevisionEdit

Wilmot started his career in entertainment after a friend informed an agent of his talent, and soon began to perform as part of the variety circuit. However, his big break came when he featured as part of a comedy double act with Judy McPhee on New Faces; the pair were later finalists. This would lead to numerous television appearances on Copy Cats, Knees Ups, Cue Gary!, and The Keith Harris Show. One of his most notable television roles was with the BBC children's quiz show So You Want To Be Top, which he co-presented with Leni Harper.[6]

In 1994, Wilmot hosted Showstoppers, a programme which featured him performing songs from musicals alongside special guests.[7] Originally commissioned as a one-off series in which celebrities were given ten days to learn and perform a song, Wilmot was asked to record a further series of six spectaculars due to popular demand. He also starred in and directed a tour of Showstoppers which proved so popular that its original sixty dates were increased to one hundred and sixty.[8]

TheatreEdit

In 1989, Wilmot made a move into musical theatre debuting in the West End production of Me and My Girl, playing the role of Bill Snibson at the Adelphi Theatre.[4] He played the role to critical acclaim for two years, with Jack Tinker describing him as a "Musical Talent of the Highest Order". Wilmot was subsequently nominated in the "Best Actor" category at the Olivier Awards, and theatre tour of a new comedy, Teething Troubles followed. He was also cast as Joe in Carmen Jones at the Old Vic before starring in the world premiere of the Barry Manilow musical Copacabana at London's Prince of Wales Theatre.

In 2001 Wilmot joined The New Shakespeare Company to play Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, and the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance national tour with Sue Pollard as Ruth, in 2001-2002. The national tour of Giles Havergal's adaptation of the Graham Greene novel Travels with My Aunt followed. In 2003, he was Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, taking over from Michael Ball,[9] and returning in 2006 and 2007 on the UK tour. Wilmot also played Billy Flynn in the national touring company of Chicago.[10]

Other stage productions Wilmot has appeared in include H.M.S. Pinafore, Santa Claus the Musical,[11] Oliver!,[12] Half a Sixpence, The Wizard of Oz,[citation needed] The Goodbye Girl, One for the Road, Confusions, Lord Arthur Saville's Crime, and a national tour of the successful Watermill Newbury Theatre production of Radio Times.[13]

Wilmot has recently appeared in Flowers for Mrs Harris at Chichester Festival Theatre, Little Miss Sunshine at the Arcola Theatre, Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear - the Musical! at the National Theatre, London, Jethro in The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre, The Wizard in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and Elisha J. Whitney in Anything Goes at the Barbican Centre in the West End.

Wilmot has also appeared in many pantomimes since 1986. Most recently he has appeared as the dame in the London Palladium pantomimes for Qdos Entertainment such as Dick Whittington (2017), Snow White (2018) and Goldilocks and the Three Bears (2019) co-starring Julian Clary, Paul Zerdin and Nigel Havers.[14]

MusicEdit

Wilmot's solo albums include Love Situation, The Album, and Double Standards.[15]

In 1991, Wilmot teamed up with record producer Nigel Wright to record a medley featuring songs from Walt Disney film The Jungle Book. "The Bare Necessities Megamix"[16] was a medley of "I Wanna Be Like You" and "The Bare Necessities", released under Wright's UK Mixmasters name. The record, executive produced by Simon Cowell, reached the top 20, ultimately peaking at number 14. This chart success gave the record a slot on BBC One's Top Of The Pops, with Wilmot featuring in the clip used for the video breakers on the programme originally broadcast on 12 December 1991[17] but Gary Martin appearing as the vocalist instead of Wilmot, in the studio a week later. In 2004, Wilmot embarked on his own national concert tour My Kind of Music taking him to many major concert venues throughout the country.[18]

FilmographyEdit

TheatreEdit

Year Title Role Director Theatre
1989–91 Me and My Girl Bill Snibson Mike Ockrent Adelphi Theatre, London[19]
1991 Carmen Jones Joe Simon Callow The Old Vic, London[19]
1991 Teething Troubles UK Tour
1993 Me and My Girl Bill Snibson Mike Ockrent UK Tour
1994 Copacabana Stephen / Tony [20]
1995 Me and My Girl Bill Snibson UK Tour
1997 The Goodbye Girl Elliot Garfield Albery Theatre, London[21]
1997–98 The Goodbye Girl Elliot Garfield UK Tour[19]
1998–99 Oliver! Fagin UK Tour[19]
1999–2000 One for the Road Andy Hay Bristol Old Vic[19]
2000 One for the Road UK Tour[19]
2001 Confusions UK Tour [22]
2001 A Midsummer Night's Dream Bottom Regents Park Open Air Theatre[23]
2001 Pirates of Penzance The Pirate King Regents Park Open Air Theatre[24]
2002 Travels with my Aunt Henry UK Tour[25]
2003–04 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Caracticus Potts Adrian Noble London Palladium[26]
2004–05 Cinderella Buttons Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton
2005 HMS Pinafore Dick Deadeye Regents Park Open Air Theatre[27]
2005–06 Santa Claus the Musical Southampton Mayflower[28]
2006 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Caracticus Potts Adrian Noble Birmingham Hippodrome[29]
2006–07 Peter Pan Captain Hook Grimsby Auditorium[19]
2007–08 Half a Sixpence Arthur Kipps UK Tour[30]
2007–08 The Wizard of Oz The Scarecrow Southampton Mayflower[31]
2008 The Wizard of Oz The Lion Jude Kelly Royal Festival Hall[32]
2009 Chicago Billy Flynn Walter Bobbie UK Tour[33]
2010 Lord Arthur Savile's Crime Septimus Podgers Christopher Luscombe UK Tour[34]
2010–11 The Invisible Man Thomas Marvel Ian Talbot Menier Chocolate Factory[35]
2011 Radio Times Sammy Shaw Caroline Leslie Watermill Theatre[36]
2011–12 Cinderella Buttons Christoper Dunham Richmond Theatre
2012 Radio Times Sammy Shaw Caroline Leslie UK Tour[37]
2012 Bowl of Cherries Various Andrew C Wadsworth Charing Cross Theatre[38]
2013–14 Snow White Nora Crumble Michael Harrison Birmingham Hippodrome
2014 The Pajama Game Vernon Hines Richard Eyre Shaftesbury Theatre, London[39]
2014 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Andre Jerry Mitchell Savoy Theatre, London[40]
2014–15 Jack and the Beanstalk Dame Trot Michael Harrison Birmingham Hippodrome
2015 Oklahoma! Ali Hakim Rachel Kavanaugh UK Tour[41]
2015 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Andre Jerry Mitchell UK Tour[42]
2015–16 Aladdin Widow Twankey Russell Labey Milton Keynes Theatre
2017 The Wind in the Willows Badger Rachel Kavanaugh London Palladium[43]
2016 End of the Rainbow Anthony Daniel Buckroyd UK Tour[44]
2016 Big The Musical George McMillan Morgan Young Theatre Royal[45]
2017–2018 Dick Whittington Sarah the Cook Michael Harrison London Palladium
2018 Flowers for Mrs Harris Major / Monsieur Armande Daniel Evans Chichester Festival Theatre[46]
2018 Sweet Lorraine - Writer, Director Regis Centre[47]
2018–2019 Snow White Mrs Crumble Michael Harrison London Palladium
2019 Little Miss Sunshine Grandpa Mehmet Ergen Arcola Theatre[48]
2019 Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear Jonathan Ripples Amy Hodge The Royal National Theatre[49]
2019–20 Goldilocks and the Three Bears Dame Betty Barnum Michael Harrison London Palladium
2020 The Prince of Egypt Jethro Scott Schwartz Dominion Theatre[50]
2020 Pantoland at the Palladium Dame Michael Harrison London Palladium
2021 Anything Goes Elisha Whitney Kathleen Marshall Barbican Theatre, London
2022 – present Wicked The Wizard Apollo Victoria Theatre

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Channel / Production Notes
1970s New Faces Himself
1983–85 So you want to be Top Presenter BBC
1983 Chas & Dave's Knees-Up LWT
1984 Mike Reid's Mates and Music Himself ITV
1984 You and Me Presenter BBC
1985 The Bob Monkhouse Show Himself BBC
1985–86 Copy Cats Himself LWT
1985 The Keith Harris Show Himself BBC
1986 Saturday Gang Himself LWT Writer[51]
1986 This is Your Life[citation needed] Himself ITV
1987 Aspel & Company Himself LWT
1987–88 Cue Gary Himself ITV Writer[52]
1989 The Book Tower Presenter Yorkshire Television
1989 Fun with Numbers Presenter Carlton Home Entertainment VHS only
1992–93 Junglies Various Characters (Voice) ITV
1994–95 Showstoppers Presenter BBC
1999 Hetty Wainthropp Investigates Guest Appearance BBC Comic Relief Special
2001 An Audience with Des O'Connor Himself LWT
2003 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Himself BBC Series 13, Episode 8
2017 The Keith & Paddy Picture Show Winston Zeddmore BBC Series 1, Episode 2: 'Ghostbusters'
2020 Dr Seuss' The Grinch Musical! Grandpa Who NBC [53]
2020 Jane McDonald and friends Himself Channel 5 [53]
2021 Fireman Sam Trevor Evans Cartoonito

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1985 Lollipop Dragon: The Great Christmas Race Lollipop Dragon / Hairy Troll (Voice) Television film[54]
1986 Lollipop Dragon: The Magic Lollipop Adventure Lollipop Dragon (Voice) Television film[55]
1994–95 Lazarus [56]
1997 The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon Himself Television film

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Stage Star Gary Wilmot Has Come a Long Way Since Talent Show Days".
  2. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-queens-birthday-honours-list-2018 Queen's birthday honours 2018
  3. ^ a b "Gary Wilmot talks Chicago". Nottingham Evening Post. Nottingham Post Media Group Ltd. 26 June 2009. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Gary Wilmot official site - biography". Archived from the original on 22 April 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Revelations: Gary Wilmot - Goodbye Dad, hello showbiz". Independent.co.uk. 28 April 1997.
  6. ^ "Gary Wilmot: A fruitful career - Features - The Stage". 1 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Gary Wilmot Talks Chicago".
  8. ^ "West End star Gary tunes in as Radio Times hits city stage".
  9. ^ "Wilmot Takes Over from Ball as Chitty's Caractacus".
  10. ^ "Aberdeen, North & Tayside". STV News.
  11. ^ "Santa Claus The Musical".
  12. ^ "BBC - Birmingham - Entertainment - Gary Wilmot takes control of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". www.bbc.co.uk.
  13. ^ "Gary Wilmot Credits". Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Pantomime Archive Hall of Fame Gary Wilmot". pantoarchive. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  15. ^ "gary wilmot". www.eastside.org.uk.
  16. ^ UK Mixmasters - "The Bare Necessities Megamix", produced by Nigel Wright for Skratch Music Productions, Executive Producer: Simon Cowell, 1991 Connect Records, licensed to BMG (UK) Ltd. catalogue number: ZB 45135
  17. ^ "BBC One - Top of the Pops, 12/12/1991".
  18. ^ "Archive news from the York Press". www.yorkpress.co.uk.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g "Gary Wilmot".
  20. ^ "Barry Manilow Copacabana in London starring Darren Day - theatre information and tickets - thisistheatre.com". www.thisistheatre.com. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  21. ^ "The Goodbye Girl on stage in London - the musical comedy starring Gary Wilmot and Ann Crumb - London theatre tickets and information - thisistheatre.com". www.thisistheatre.com. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  22. ^ "Artistes Index - Performing Artistes".
  23. ^ "A Midsummer Night's Dream (2001) | Our Heritage | Open Air Theatre".
  24. ^ "The Pirates of Penzance (2001) | Our Heritage | Open Air Theatre".
  25. ^ "| Cambridge Network".
  26. ^ "Gary Wilmot will star as 'Caractacus Potts' in Chitty from 21 July 03". 8 June 2016.
  27. ^ "Casting confirmed for Open Air Theatre Regent's Park 2005 Season". 8 June 2016.
  28. ^ "Santa Clause - the Musical (Musical) archive [MUSICAL]".
  29. ^ "BBC - Birmingham - Entertainment - Gary Wilmot takes control of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".
  30. ^ "Tour archive for Half a Sixpence (Musical). 15th August 2007-10th May 2008 [TOUR]".
  31. ^ "We're off to see the Wizard!".
  32. ^ "The Wizard of Oz, Royal Festival Hall, London". TheGuardian.com. 29 July 2008.
  33. ^ "Gary Wilmot Joins Cast of CHICAGO UK National Tour as 'Billy Flynn' 6/15-11/21".
  34. ^ "Lee Mead .. Timeline - Lord Arthur Savile's Crime UK tour, 2010".
  35. ^ "Cast update for the Invisible Man at Menier Chocolate". 8 June 2016.
  36. ^ "The Watermill Theatre - RADIO TIMES".
  37. ^ "The Watermill Theatre - RADIO TIMES - September 2012".
  38. ^ "Photos: A Bowl of Cherries at the Charing Cross Theatre | WestEndTheatre.com". www.westendtheatre.com. 11 March 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  39. ^ "The Pajama Game (Shaftesbury Theatre) | WhatsOnStage".
  40. ^ "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Bonnie Langford and Gary Wilmot to join cast | WestEndTheatre.com". www.westendtheatre.com. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  41. ^ https://musicaltheatrereview.com/oklahoma-uk-irish-tour-full-cast-announced/
  42. ^ "Gary Wilmot joins Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tour | WhatsOnStage".
  43. ^ "Stream the Film | Wind in the Willows the Musical". Willows. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  44. ^ "End Of The Rainbow UK Tour". British Theatre. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  45. ^ "Casting announced for Big the Musical | WhatsOnStage".
  46. ^ "Flowers for MRS Harris". 22 November 2021.
  47. ^ "Gary Wilmot's romantic thriller Sweet Lorraine premieres in Bognor Regis". 18 October 2018.
  48. ^ "Little Miss Sunshine". 25 April 2019.
  49. ^ "Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear the Musical". 18 March 2019.
  50. ^ "About the Show - the Prince of Egypt Musical Official Site".
  51. ^ "Saturday Gang". IMDb. 11 October 1986.
  52. ^ "Cue Gary". IMDb. 4 July 1987.
  53. ^ a b "The Grinch musical broadcast further casting and creative team confirmed | WhatsOnStage".
  54. ^ "Lollipop Dragon: The Great Christmas Race". IMDb.
  55. ^ "Lollipop Dragon: The Magic Lollipop Adventure (1986)".
  56. ^ "Lazarus (1994)".

External linksEdit