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Big Band, Big Man - The Billy Cotton Story

Big Band, Big Man - The Billy Cotton Story

Presented by Fearne Cotton, starring Roy Hudd as Billy Cotton

BBC Radio 2 - Dec 2014

Silver Trophy, New York Festivals ‘World’s Best Radio Programmes’ 2015


As well as achieving great success at the awards ceremony in New York, we

were once again chosen to feature on BBC Radio 4's Pick of the Week and the

Sunday Times’ Pick of the Day.


We were also delighted that our programme helped the Cotton family to get

in touch with long lost relatives! Fearne blogged about our success in NYC here.


In Big Band, Big Man, Fearne Cotton uncovers the astonishing story of her great-uncle Billy's life including how "Wakey Wakey" became the simplest, most memorable catch-phrase ever.


Billy Cotton: showman; pilot; footballer; racing driver - and philanderer. With actor Roy Hudd bringing Billy’s long lost interviews to life, Fearne learns how the bandleader who couldn't read music became the most famous entertainer of his day.


From humble beginnings and after becoming a WW1 pilot and footballer, he was the much-loved conductor who "just waved his arms about", according to his son, and lived every moment to the full.


Confident, but never cocky; a 'misery guts' but loved as "Uncle Billy" by millions - and rather more than that by a few, Billy Cotton's life reads like a teenager's bucket list: boxing, grand prix racing, motorbikes, boats, planes, TV, Radio, big bands - you name it, he probably did it.


Billy's affairs with stars never damaged his viewing or listening figures. His down-to- earth approach to his music made him a firm favourite even with royalty and "Wakey, wakey", still evokes powerful memories of family Sunday lunchtimes.


Also featuring Sandie Shaw, Lord Michael Grade and many of Billy's colleagues, family and friends, 'Big Band, Big Man' is the uplifting and revealing story of the flawed showman loved by a nation.





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