The first origins of That'll Be The Day can be traced back to 1984 when a variety show called 'The Happy Days of Rock n Roll' was launched by Bristol-based agent John Mills for the club and cabaret circuit for a six week autumn tour. The show had a varied cast of rockers including Fred The Ted, Margo and Trevor, Terry Denton and The Rock 'n' Roll Circus band. A one-boy, three-girl singing and dancing group called Fizzical joined the show in 1985.
Fizzical was the creation of Trevor Payne, who had enjoyed previous success with The Medium Wave Band in the 70s, including a number one hit record in Malta, which Trevor also wrote. The success of the short tours of 'The Happy Days of Rock n Roll' were followed by further spring and autumn tours, and in 1986 Mills secured a summer season for the review at Butlins' Minehead and Bognor holiday centres. While Mills pulled in more dates for this fledgling show, Trevor Payne took on the responsibility of writing and staging the production. Following a successful Christmas show tour in 1986, Trevor started writing a new show for 1987, which he called 'That'll Be The Day', for the first time.
The show starred Trevor with Fizzical, Elvis impressionist Kenny G, The Sound of Sunrise band, and TV comic and impressionist Dave Evans (father of the then unknown comedian Lee Evans).
In 1988, the individual artistes' billing was dispensed with, as by now the cast appearing in the show were working as part of one company instead of performing as separate acts, combining their individual strengths and talents into one integrated production.
It was during the summer of 1988 that Trevor was introduced to Gary Anderson, a club comic and impressionist who, at the time, was working the same circuit as Trevor and Fizzical. After rehearsing some new material together, Gary joined That'll Be The Day for the show's autumn season at Butlins in Minehead. After this short season, the individual artistes went their own way and joined up again in the spring of 1989, playing holiday centres around the south of the UK.
4-piece Phizzical 1984
Gary & Trevor - early double-act 1989
That'll Be The Day 1987
Now Gary Anderson was in the show, That'll Be The Day was able to expand on its comic front. It's very difficult to find comedians who are willing to adapt, try new material and share laughs in sketches. Trevor and Gary struck up an instant rapport and became, in many respects, a 'double act' within the show, which was to prove hugely significant. In 1990 the band backing the show was called 'Ritz'. They had previously been backing Jim Davidson and 'Fizzical' and so were well known to Trevor. Mark Street was the drummer, Alan Cutler on bass guitar, Richard Snow on keyboards, Simon Francis on guitar and Lorraine Robinson on vocals.
The band benefited from Mark's solid drums and flair for vocals. Lorraine was a powerful vocalist and dynamic performer. Josie Cain was still with the show and Kate Gray job-shared with Karen Rodrigues. Paul Da Vinci completed what was a very strong line-up. The show was a club act and was able to deal with audiences who were still being bowled over by the style and quality of the production. In 1992 the show won the Club Act of the Year award. The crowds were demanding but the show was always up for it!
In 1995, That'll Be The Day performed for the first time at the London Palladium.
In 1997 the show moved from working with John Mills to being promoted by Derek Block, a renowned London-based theatre artiste promoter, who was instrumental in accelerating the transition from mainly playing clubs to playing the major theatre circuit.
Lakeside Country Club 1995
Joanna, Josie & Jules with Morgan 1993
Promo Shoot 1990's
Trevor & Gary with Cliff Richard 1999
In 2000, the show had two major changes. Josie left and emigrated to Australia. Katy Setterfield was auditioned to take over from Raya but, such was the power of her voice and performance, she became Josie's replacement and Clive Fishlock effectively replaced Raya. Clive had auditioned a year earlier, and the decision was made to use Clive as the "play-everything" fifth band member who could also sing well. The line up then was to stay for the next five years: Morgan Turner, Gary Anderson, Trevor Payne, Julia Greenham, Katy Setterfield, Phil Hollender, Clive Fishlock, Mark Street, Iain Hawkins and Andy Hodge.
In 2001, the settled cast moved into evermore ambitious and complex shows. Katy established herself in her lead role and Clive played everything and was able to work happily up front when needed. Mark was able to come off the drums and join the front line and Andy and Iain were also being used in featured pieces. The summer of 2003 saw That'll Be The Day playing its seventh consecutive year at Bournemouth but transferring from the Pavilion to the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) and staging what was an arena show. The show overcame the vastness of the hall and the season was a big triumph.
By this year, the show had reached new heights both in staging and production. The sheer scale of the new show was awesome and received critical acclaim. This was also the year of 'Cliff The Musical', which was created by Trevor Payne, ex-Radio DJ Mike Read and then That'll Be The Day co-producer Colin Rozee. Trevor also directed the musical and after a short provincial tour it transferred into the Prince of Wales Theatre in London's West End for a ten week run.
2004 and the show had been running for nineteen years! The box office was stronger, regulars were growing in numbers and some fans have seen over three hundred performances. Never were two shows exactly the same. That'll Be The Day was still in touch with its audience and the same enthusiasm came over the footlights. 2005 and co-producer Colin Rozee left to develop his graphic design, photography and filmmaking business. Trevor created a new production, the 20th anniversary show, a sort of 'Best of', but with plenty of new material. The summer season was back at the Pavilion in Bournemouth.
Trevor had the good fortune to work with Peter Kay in the 'Max and Paddy' TV series, and he also achieved his ambition of being on 'Top of The Pops' with Peter Kay, albeit in the video of the smash hit 'Amarillo' which raised huge sums of money for Comic Relief. Earlier in the year That'll Be The Day had teamed up with BT and Childline and was collecting on their behalf. The generous fans donated over £55,000 in 2005.
2006 saw the departure of singer Morgan Turner. After twelve years he'd had enough of touring and made his farewell at a wonderful open air concert at Haywards Heath in the balmy early summer. Morgan's replacement had been found and was in place for the new show beginning in August. Rebel Dean was the new man and was an instant hit with the fans. Morgan was a tough act to follow but Rebel more than held his own!
In January 2008 Jodie Lawson joined the team and replaced Katy Setterﬁeld. Jodie was an experienced performer and came to the show after working solo in the UK and prior to that, the Disney Cruise lines. She had also previously run her own band, so was used to singing all styles and harmonising. Crucially the fans took to her straight away, and in the summer of that year Nikki Renee Hechavarria was invited to join the show. Nikki had been appearing in the Lion King in the west end and brought another dimension to the show. That'll Be The Day was now back to a three-girl line-up which hadn’t been seen for years. The line-up allowed for trios like the Ronnettes and the Crystals to be portrayed again.
Gary and Jules 2008
2011 saw the show celebrate it's 25th anniversary year. That'll Be The Day had been with the promoter Derek Block for 14 years by this year, during which time the show had enjoyed the transition into theatre and was becoming a regular attraction everywhere it played. The show passed it's 5000th performance in this year too. The following year the show's charity collections moved to be for "Help For Heroes" and the feel good factor of the show continued to be reflected in the generosity of the fans. Long-time truck driver ‘Chocolate’ Brian retired and in came Steve Jackson.
The 25th anniversary show took place in 2011. Some of the most requested songs, sketches and impersonations were added to new material to make a fitting anniversary special. That'll Be The Day's popularity continued to grow year on year attracting thousands of new and regular fans throughout the UK. The show was a great success with more theatres being added to the tour. At the end of 2012 Iain Hawkins departed after over 20 years on guitar with That'll Be The Day. His last show was New Year's Eve at Stevenage and he was going to concentrate on teaching. Ollie Gray had already deputised on guitar when Iain was unwell and the decision was made to move Ollie from his bass guitar position to lead guitar. That left a vacancy for bass and Jarrod Loughlin from Weston -Super-Mare was recruited. It was to prove an inspired decision.
Ollie was right at home on guitar and had now had played 3 of the band's positions. Jarrod is another multi instrumentalist playing bass, guitar, keys and drums as well as having a great voice. It was an exciting period and the band gelled together straightaway. The musical line up improved, both playing and harmony wise, and the 2013/14 show was constructed with this fresh new line up.
Ollie and Jodie had the first intra-company baby, a boy called Jackson, 3 weeks before Mark and Tash had a baby girl, Freya. A new chapter had started in this long running musical 'soap opera' and will the children turn out to be future performers? Time will tell...
2015 was when Rebel left; he had been ten years in the show. Every time a new vocalist comes in it brings fresh opportunities, different possibilities, and a change of emphasis. Pete Jackson left the Beatles show ‘Let It Be’, in which he portrayed Paul McCartney because That'll Be The Day offered him the chance to diversify both in playing and singing. Versatility once again being a key requirement and Pete stepped up to the mark.
In the summer of 2016 there was another red letter day. The Abbey Road Studio2 was booked to record a song written by Mark Street and Trevor for the ‘Make a Wish’ Foundation. Some ‘Wish’ recipients came to sing on the track together with a brass and string section. The cast had the best of time enjoying every moment recording in that most famous studio 2 where so many pop heroes, including of course The Beatles, had gone before and - yes - the cast did walk on the most famous zebra crossing in the world!
After a gap of seventeen years, the decision was made to play the London Palladium again in November 2016. This was, for some of the cast, their fifth appearance there and everyone was suitably excited. The Palladium show was a sell out and generally considered as being up there with one of the finest performances the show has ever given.
In 2017 Jane Watkins came in to replace Jodie. Jane had plenty of experience and it was a smooth transition. In early 2018, Jodie and Ollie produced a baby sister for Jackson. Pete became unwell and left the show in 2019. We decided not to replace him as Ollie, Jarrod, Mark and Clive had all developed into more than capable front line singers. At the end of 2019 the show left Derek Block and became represented by Prestige Productions, teaming up with Ross Mills who Trevor had known for almost 40 years.
Now here we are, stopped in our tracks by this awful pandemic and no idea when the nightmare will end. What we can say is we are ready whenever that time comes to be back where we belong. Let's just hope it's not too long!
Theatre Royal Plymouth 2018
London Palladium sell out 2016
Team TBTD 2020