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Jasper Carrott: Life’s short – I only do stuff I like

By Kirsten Rawlins | Weekend | Published:

Jasper Carrott says he’s ‘performing as well, if not better, than before’ following two life-saving operations the icon had to undergo last year.

The Acocks Green-born comedian, actor and TV personality underwent two lots of surgery last August: an operation to clear an artery in his neck and a quadruple heart bypass.

Despite being so positive about his health, Jasper does say the news did ‘bring home that life is short’.

The 73-year-old legend does, however, add that if – by Ken Dodd’s standards – he has until the age of 90, he’s still got a fair amount of time left.

“I thought I was immortal and that I would need someone to kill me with a stick,” laughs Jasper.

“That was a bit of a blow to my confidence.

“But with everything lined up I’ve been so fortunate in so many respects.

“If, by Ken Dodd’s standards, I have 17 years left, a lot can happen in that time.

“I’ve had a good think about this, but I really have done everything I wanted to. So now I’m just doing things I really enjoy. And performing is one of them.

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“It’s back to the way things were now. I’m back in the gym three times a week, playing golf and doing shows. Life continues.”

But despite his down-to-earth, almost flippant (yet incredibly endearing) Brummie attitude, the Canned Carrott idol does admit there were moments when he wondered whether he would ever be able to return to the stage.

“There was a time I was wondering if it would ever happen – in the darkest hours – but, within a few weeks, I knew everything would be fine,” explains Jasper.

“I do the shows and tours for enjoyment – not money, so getting back on the stages with my mates is great. And business is great.

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“People have been very kind.

“I didn’t take well to the idea of having to cancel shows. I’d only missed one in 43 years, so suddenly having to cancel 30 really troubled me.

“Someone said to me ‘aren’t you getting too old for all this performing?’, but Ken Dodd made it to 90.

“I’m going to buy a tickle stick because that clearly helped him.”

Uncomfortable

When asked what he felt prior to the operation, the star says he ‘didn’t have much time to think about it’ – and the process, though uncomfortable at best, has actually helped to bring him and his family closer together.

“I had two operations. I had an artery cleared in my neck, which meant the quadruple bypass had to be delayed by two weeks,” adds Jasper.

“But it was all done within a few weeks. I didn’t have much time to worry about it – and I knew I was in good hands.

“I had trust in everybody and I sailed in and out.

“My wife and my whole family were right there behind me and the whole thing’s brought us all closer together.

“We always have been close, but we’re even closer now.

“I am more aware now that my time left is short, over the period of a lifetime.

“But at the same time, supposing I have 15 years left, 15 years ago my children weren’t married and I had no grandchildren, so there have been massive changes in that time.

“So the future’s looking very bright.”

Father-of-four Jasper was born Robert Norman Davis and is best known for his role in spoof police drama The Detectives, in which he appeared alongside actor Robert Powell between 1993 and 1997. He is also famed for hosting an array of TV shows, including 80s series Carrott’s Lib, Canned Carrott, and Golden Balls.

His career of more than five decades first began when Jasper became resident compere of the Boggery Folk Club in Birmingham in the mid 70s.

He hit the UK Singles Chart in 1975 with his novelty record Funky Moped and has won a variety of awards over the years, including BBC TV Personality of the Year, a Gold Medal at the New York TV and Film Awards, Midlander of the Year Award, his own star on Birmingham’s Walk of Stars, and the British Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. In recognition of his outstanding work for charity, Jasper was also awarded an OBE in Her Majesty’s New Year’s Honours List in 2003.

He has three three daughters and one son; his daughter Lucy being the best known, having starred as Dawn in The Office as well as Belfry Witches, Bernard’s Watch, Shaun Of The Dead, Sex Lives of the Potato Men and more. Lucy also played the part of Etta in 2017 superhero film Wonder Woman.

Jasper has been married to former journalist Hazel Jackson since 1972.

The comedy legend has just completed the final dates of a Stand Up and Rock tour. He was joined by ELO star, and former school mate of Jasper’s Bev Bevan, and the last show took place at Kilworth House Theatre near Market Harborough on September 12. Next, he’ll embark on a tour with fellow comedian Alistair McGowan in November. The tour is set to visit venues in locations including Worthing, Weston-Super-Mare, York, Hull, Newcastle-Under-Lyme and The Wirral.

l For updates on Jasper’s shows, see his website jaspercarrott.com

Kirsten Rawlins

Kirsten Rawlins

By Kirsten Rawlins
@kirsten_Star

Digital Content Manager for the Shropshire Star and Express & Star. Also reviews concerts and events, as well as writing features and celebrity interviews. E-mail me at kirsten.rawlins@shropshirestar.co.uk, or phone 01952 241440.

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