FOGWELL FLAX

 

biography

STARTERS

Foggie was born and bred in the city of comedy talent, Liverpool, where he received a basic State Secondary School education, at the end of which he obtained nine O level and three A level GCE passes. His natural musical talent gave him a place in the school choir from a very early age, and the enjoyment of early live audience reaction during involvement in school theatrical productions of the fourth and fifth year gave him the background for what was to be his chosen path in the entertainment industry. All this was to come later though, for after leaving sixth form college, entertainment took a back seat as, armed with his GCEs, he looked for what Showbiz folks call a ‘proper’ job.


Foggie applied for the post of Physiological Measurement Technician (Cardiology) at the Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital (now sadly demolished) in Myrtle Street, and was accepted. While he waited for the commencement date, he occupied himself in various temporary employments, gaining what today might be called ‘work experience’....shoe salesperson in a Liverpool department store, amateur carpet fitter, wholesale-fruit-and-veg market porter with a 4.00am start, and warehouse operative in a tinned-food factory on Liverpool’s dock road. Eventually he took up his technical post at the kid’s hospital, and in spite of the usual long Health Service hours, including 6am starts on theatre days and many nights spent ‘on call’, he holds fond memories of his time spent there with the dedicated staff, and of the many young patients whose lives he undoubtedly helped to save as part of the highly-respected cardiac team at that hospital.


However, the call of the stage was growing ever stronger as he realised that late nights as newly-joined lead singer with popular Liverpool band Mercury were beginning to conflict with those on-call rotas and early-morning cardiac surgery days. It was clearly decision time, so he took the plunge and decided to follow his own heart instead of the open ones he saw in theatre. With Foggie on bass and his friend Mick Woolley on guitar, a musical comedy duo was eventually formed and was called Union Jack. After winning a heat of TV’s New Faces in 1977, they became one of the biggest musical comedy attractions, both on the Liverpool club circuit, and nationwide.

After a busy couple of years during which much live gigging was done, and experience gained, it was becoming clear that a solo career in music and comedy was on the cards, and so with some trepidation the Union Jack partnership with Mick ended in 1979, and Fogwell Flax was ‘born’ on the 1st of June that year.



MAIN COURSE

The trepidation proved unfounded however, as just fifteen months later, Foggie became somewhat of a household name almost overnight by winning outright LWT’s Search For a Star (the X Factor of it’s day), and in his heat scored maximum points from every regional judging panel, the only act ever to achieve this in all of the series of that show. He was also outright winner of the final, where he also received maximum points from four out of the five judging panels. He was immediately contracted as a permanent panelist throughout 1981 on LWT’s new Saturday night peak-time comedy quiz Punchlines, followed by 24 weeks as co-presenter on the final series of Central TV’s Tiswas in 1982. After appearing on the live Saturday morning TV show, he would dash smartly up the M6 from the Birmingham studios to star in Aladdin at the Charter Theatre in Preston, his first ever pantomime.... (These days he is no stranger to panto and has played most of the comedy character rôles in the major theatres of the land, including recently Snow White’s Wicked Queen in London’s West End, successfully standing-in in understudy mode through eight performances for no less than Lily Savage herself, who was poorly in bed...see ‘Panto’ section for photos and a press review of this).


Other TV followed on shows such as Saturday Starship, No 73, and YTV’s 3-2-1. For the BBC, Foggie has appeared twice on Children In Need, and twice on The Generation Game. He also provided voices for Central TV’s satirical puppet show Spitting Image. More recently, Sky TV’s 1995 series of the madcap impression show Who Do You Do? showed off his uncanny skill for impersonating everything from famous celebrities, to cartoons, trains, and even washing machines, and in June 1998 he appeared on the National Lottery Big Ticket Show.


AND TO FOLLOW

As well as hosting award shows, for example for companies such as Lunn Poly with Martine McCutcheon at EuroDisney, his special vocal talent means he is in much demand in voice-over studios, where he has provided amongst others, the voice for Merlin the Wizard in the finale of Olympia’s Horse Of The Year Show, clones of Casper’s friends Fatso and Stretch for an award-winning show in Dubai, and was for nine years the voice of Haven/British Holidays’ kids club host Bradley Bear, and also of his friends Naughty Ned and Merlin.


He is also a sensational singer, both in his own right, and in impression mode as the voice of many famous vocalists including Michael Bolton, Neil Diamond, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Michael McDonald and Bryan Adams...to name but a few.


However the outstanding Tribute Show to the music of Sting and The Police, which he now regularly performs, is “unmissable”.



In a far cry from those early days, he has worked and continues to work all over the world, including the Falkland Isles, Monte Carlo, Tunisia, Gambia, the Canaries, Dubai, Germany, and even the Isle of Man! He is in continual demand throughout the Mediterranean for the Thomson Holidays Gold Hotel program, and is no stranger to discerning passengers on luxury cruise liners. He has been through the Panama Canal with both Cunard and P&O, and all over the Mediterranean, Middle East and Caribbean with Island Cruises, Thomson Cruises, Suncruises, Ocean Village cruises, Cunard and P&O. On Ocean Village, he had his own chat show called ‘Up Close And Personal’, interviewing many famous UK celebs.



He lived in a beautiful country house on the gorgeous Mediterranean island of Mallorca for ten years but has recently returned full-time to the UK, basing himself by the river Itchen in Southampton. In what little spare time he has, he enjoys: playing guitar and piano; writing music, songs and poetry; drawing and painting; a keen interest in archaeology (e.g. the occupation of Britain by the Romans, especially their road-building skills), and riding his Harley-Davidson Softail Heritage Custom motorcycle.