Anyway, I digress. Quite early on in the life of the SDP in Wales I came across a young student called Mark Whitcutt. He was very thoughtful, silently spoken and always in control of himself. As I recall, his father would not be too far away when Mark was around—I think he was hoping that his son would make it in politics, but I cannot vouch for that. Anyway, in the evening when members were socialising, Mark would often make his conversational contributions in voices of various well-known political leaders of the time. It was very humorous indeed!
On Sundays, back in those days, there was a BBC Radio Wales programme called ‘Meet for Lunch’ which covered the weekly happenings. I arrived home from the conference late Sunday morning just in time to listen to the programme and to my astonishment the main item was the recording made the night before. I immediately knew that some Welsh politicians and one in particular—a Newport MP—were not going to be best pleased. The phone calls I received were numerous that afternoon and a few Labour people in Wales were not happy.
There was no rehearsal and indeed I would have been a better interviewer had we done so. The only aspect agreed in advance was the list of politicians to be imitated. The questioning was entirely spontaneous—so what you will hear is totally impromptu with no re-takes—a one-off. It was a truly remarkable and memorable performance and I can still visualise it! I did not see much of Mark after those days and the last I heard was that he had joined the Labour Party—as quite a few members did—after the merger of the SDP with the Liberals.
So the recording will cover Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, Roy Jenkins, Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Peter Shore and Roy Hughes.
By way of interest I also include two short link features of Mike Yarwood impersonating Harold Wilson and an item on Ed Miliband by Rory Bremner.
Mike Yarwood/Harold Wilson
Rory Bremner/Ed Miliband