It's a deal as Rossett ventriloquist goes on show


Iwan Berry

A SEASONED ventriloquist introduced his dummy to Noel Edmonds in the famous Deal or No Deal contestant’s chair.

Rossett man Malcolm Hemmings will star in a special Bonfire Night episode of the box-opening Channel Four game show.

His appearance on the show was recorded in April and will be broadcast on November 5.

And while Mr Hemmings has been sworn to secrecy over how much cash he won, he spoke to the Leader about he and his long-serving ventriloquist dummy Roderick’s moment in the limelight.

The 77-year-old said the Channel Four film crew was very accommodating to puppet Roderick, to the point the show’s costume department made a miniature replica of Mr Hemmings’ outfit for him.

And the slapstick act went down a storm with show host Edmonds and the studio audience.

It was the third time that he had been nominated for the show by daughter-in-law Penny.

He said: “My daughter-in-law nominated me a couple of years ago, but we heard nothing. 

“We tried again last year, but heard nothing.

“Then at the start of this year, she asked me if I wanted to try again. 

“I told her ‘don’t bother, they’re not interested in an old fool like me’.

“A week after they called back and asked me to go for an audition.”

He underwent two audition stages, first facing off against 200 potentials and then being split in to groups of 50.

And after the joyous news he had been selected he went to record the show at a studio in Bristol.

The veteran entertainer, who has two children, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, had planned on having a few jokes at the expense of Edmonds with the help of Roderick.

But he changed his mind after finding he got on well with the “gentlemanly” presenter and TV star.

“My main ambition in doing it was to meet Noel Edmonds, he’s the most well-mannered gentleman on television.

“I watched him very carefully, he has little touches of politeness and he treats everyone with the same respect.”

Mr Hemmings began a career in entertainment at the age of just eight, and along with ventriloquism, is a dab hand at singing, magic and comedy.

He met Jean – his wife of 55 years – after they were introduced by their fathers and she became his stage assistant.

He said: “They either thought we were in love or that we were both a little bit insane.”

He also had training as a circus performer – a job which saw him swallow fire, lie on beds of nails and walk on broken glass – something he describes as “all the simple things”.

But he added such feats were easy when compared to a stint in the Deal or No Deal contestant’s chair.

“That’s far worse. The Banker is a very clever man,” he said.

"When you get out there, your mind changes with the excitement and the nerve

“I know for sure that neither Mr Edmonds nor the Banker know what's in any of the boxes in advance. 

“I met the independent adjudicator and she was very strict with the boxes.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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