Buxton man David Carlisle wowed the judges of a talent competition held in memory of the legendary comedian Frank Sidebottom with an impression of hero.
The Member of Buxton Drama League entered as Mr X, the Mystery Man – and walked away with the title.
Called The F-Factor, the contest required the wannabee Franks to sing and perform ventriloquism in the manner of the cardboard-headed comic genius. Frank was brought to life in the 1980s by Chris Sievey, who sadly died in June 2010 at the age of 54 after a brief battle with cancer.
With rumours of Chris dying almost penniless and facing a “pauper’s funeral,” his friends sprang to action to launch a campaign to pay funeral costs. Within a matter of hours, social networking internet sites linked fans to ensure that all costs were met several times over. Buoyed by the great response, the same friends announced that they hoped to build a bronze statue of Frank in the Manchester suburb of Timperley, which figured in many of the large-headed comic’s silly songs and sketches.
With the target of £60,000 almost met, Frank’s Final Fantastic Fundraiser was held at the Night & Day Café in Manchester and included the F-Factor competition. David competed alongside one of Chris’s Sons, Stirling and Phil Fletcher, the puppeteer responsible for CBBC’s Hacker the Dog. Manchester’s Lee Hulme completed the line-up with his character, R Kid.
Judged by Mike Joyce, drummer of legendary Manchester group, The Smiths, film and television actress Maxine Peake and award-winning journalist and musician John Robb, the competition ended in true Sidenbottom-style daft chaos with the judges claiming Stirling as the winner and the audience chanting for David’s Mr X. The judges finally relented under crowd influence to announce Mr X the winner.
David said: “It was a great privilege to enter Frank’s world. What fantastic fun. I am so proud to be acclaimed by Frank’s fans as the most worthy winner. Ace result for Buxton.”
The fundraising efforts continue. More information at www.franksidebottom.org.uk