Profile: Stan Stennett

The phrase: ‘All round entertainer’ is one that is much misused these days. However, it really can be said to describe Wales’ Premiere Entertainer, Stan Stennett.

Stan has been in the business for more year than he cares to remember, having been a semi-pro and musician during the war, before joining the Army.

On his demob, he formed a comedy musical trio and toured with such greats as Max Miller in the late 1940’s, as well as a summer season at the Gaiety, Ayr on the bill with a young Lionel Blair.

The 1950’s were a boom time for Stan, by then a solo comedian using his guitar and trumpet in an act that saw him teamed with some of America’s biggest stars who came to Britain: Billy Daniels, Johnny Ray, Chico Marx, James Cagney and The Deep River Boys. Stan played all the major theatres, was a regular on BBC radio and topped the bill in countless summer seasons and pantomimes with such household names as Morecambe & Wise, Ken Dodd, Ronnie Corbett, Jimmy Young, John Pertwee, Joan Turner, Susan Maughan, Yana etc, etc!

In the early 1960’s he joined ‘The Black & White Minstrel Show’ and was to stay with them as principal comic for seven years, helping to win the ‘Golden Rose of Montreaux’ TV Festival. It was without doubt the finest show of its kind, and Stan worked with such greats as George Chisholm, John Boulter and Leslie Crowther.

Over the last thirty years or so, Stan has concentrated much of his work in Wales, on TV, Stage and Radio. He holds the record for five consecutive years in panto at Cardiff’s New Theatre, as well as forming his own production company to stage productions in Porthcawl, Colwyn Bay, Southport and on tour. Together with his wife, Elizabeth and sons Roger and Ceri, he has administered theatres, cinemas and arts centres in Tewkesbury, Hereford, Caerphilly and Porthcawl.

In the 1980’s, Stan became known as ‘Sid Hooper’ from TV’s ‘Crossroads’, a character he portrayed for seven years. He had previously had a stint in ‘Coronation Street’ as Hilda Ogden’s brother. He has turned his had to opera, as ‘Frosch’ in ‘Die Fledermaus’ at St David’s Hall in Cardiff as well as films such as ‘Plots with a View’ with Christopher Walken and Lee Evans and ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem’. On the small screen he has appeared in ‘Casualty’, ‘Doctors’, ‘Heartbeat’ and on radio in ‘Station Road’. Most recently he has completed the TV Drama, ‘The History of Mr Polly’, once again alongside Lee Evans.

He holds a private pilots licence, loves golf, is patron of countless Welsh charities, has been the subject of ‘This is Your Life’ and was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in 1979 for services to theatre and charity. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

WI: What is you’re favourite place in Wales?

SS: Where I live, on Rhiwbina Hill in Cardiff!

WI: Favourite Welsh band or musician?

SS: Bryn Terfel – I worked with him many years ago when he was a young singer. He’s done well for himself!

WI: Favourite Welsh food or drink?

SS: My wife’s Welsh Cakes.

WI: What does Wales mean to you?

SS: To me, Wales always means ‘Home’ – it’s where my heart is.

WI: What do you most miss about Wales when you are away?

SS: The characters – the South Wales valleys folk who I have known for so long and have supported me for so many years.

Stan will be performing  on the 7th September – Stan at Ease at Grand Theatre, Swansea. Then The Stan Stennett Show will be at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on 15th September.

This year’s touring panto in December / January will be ‘Red Riding Hood’ visiting Blaenavon, Newport, Beaufort and Penarth.

Stan has a biography coming out in September – ‘Fully Booked’. For more information visit www.stan-stennett.com

,