QUICKFIRE: Impressionist Jon Culshaw on big hair days, being late and a crush with strings attached


Guilty pleasure? Watching reruns of the TV game shows 3-2-1 and Bullseye. They are unintentionally hilarious, but a fascinating cultural snapshot of how we were.

Where is home? I spend 60 per cent of the time at my home in Belsize Park, Northwest London, and the rest in Lancashire, where I’m from.

Career plan B? A counsellor or a therapist.

Who would play you in a movie of your life? John Simm.

Biggest bugbear? Anyone calling themselves an ‘influencer’ or ‘thought-leader’. What hubris!

As a child you wanted to… Get a job at the local mushroom farm where my dad worked.

Earliest memory? Seeing the moon landings on TV in 1969 when I was one.

Secret to a happy relationship? Calm, understanding and little kindnesses.

Your best quality? I like to think I’m quite calm and understanding.

And your worst? I’m disorganised and always end up being 15 minutes late.

One thing that would make your life better? To stop being late.

Last meal on earth? A Sunday roast with a pyramid of roast potatoes and dinner plates as big as a bin lid.

Dream dinner-party guests? Henry VIII and all his wives, with Jeremy Kyle presiding and Ross Kemp to step in if necessary.

Advice to teenage self? Get your hair cut. It was like a huge cumulus cloud on my stick-like body, but that was the 80s for you.

On a day off we’d find you… Doing a little bit of solar observing. I have always been enormously fascinated by astronomy [Jon is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society].

Starstruck moment? Being introduced to Professor Stephen Hawking in 2013 at a talk given by the astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. What a sense of presence he had!

Big break? Joining the Spitting Image team in 1994.

Career highlight? The Royal Variety Performance in 2001.

Favourite tipple? A mellow glass of pinot noir.

Hangover cure? A big drink of water and a Berocca before bed.

What did you have for breakfast today? Porridge with maple syrup and a banana.

Top of your bucket list? To see another total solar eclipse, one of nature’s most spectacular events. I’ve seen three and plan to see the next one in Chile next year.

Philosophy? Acknowledge people.

Biggest lesson you have learnt about money? Don’t be cavalier or brash with it.

Biggest lesson you have learnt about women? Try to empathise with them – unspoken understanding goes a long way.

First record you bought? ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order.

Most extravagant purchase? A Rolex watch that I bought in frustration at Duty Free after being late for a flight back to the UK from America.

Best present you ever received? The Observer’s Book of Astronomy when I was about six.

Biggest fear? I will quote William Hartnell playing Doctor Who: ‘Fear itself is largely an illusion, and anyway at my age there is very little left to fear.’

Celebrity crush? An old schoolfriend once said Aqua Marina from Stingray was pretty fit for a puppet and I can’t disagree!

Happiness is… Finding your own quiet contentment and treasuring it.

Jon’s stage show, The Great British Take Off, will be at the Edinburgh Festival from 13-26 August and touring until 28 November. Details at jonculshaw.com

Interview by John Koski