Wednesday, 5 August 2009

You shall go to stage school...

With the remake of Fame limbering up and practicing its demi-pliés in the wings, a whole new generation of unexploded talent bombs are all set to have their fuses lit. So thank goodness for Jonathan Wilkes, who's prepared to guide them through the fickle world of fame.

Don't worry, you're forgiven for not instantly recognising Wilkes. After all, his own contribution to the world of entertainment is equivalent to the contribution of old magazines to dentistry. In fact, do a Google image search for Jonathan and the first thing you'll be struck by how many of the results are actually about his best friend, Robbie Williams. The two lived together for a while, and it didn't take long for the benefits of Robbie's superstar lifestyle to rub off on his less fortunate comrade.

Bonding like a pair of boarding school brethen, the inseparable twosome shared studio time with songwriter Guy Chambers, duetted on stage while Robbie was on tour, and played in a number of high profile celebrity football games, although I'd like to think that they stopped short of decorating digestive biscuits together.

All the while Jonathan built on his formative years' experience, headlining his own end-of-the-pier style show at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, by plugging away as a modern day 'variety' entertainer. In the process he enjoyed such towering highlights as a number 24 'hit' single, guest appearances on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, and three years filling the Matterhorn-sized hole left by Lisa Riley as the host of You've Been Framed.

So if anyone can teach impressionable kids how to scale the giddy heights of celebrity, it's Jonathan (available for pantomime) Wilkes. Opening their performing arts school in the notorious epicentre of talent that is Swindon, Jonathan and his wife Nikki hope to "instill good values into the kids who come along." As Jonathan rightly says, "Whenever you ask kids what they want to do when they grow up they all say they want to be famous - they want to be a celebrity. They want to put in as little work as possible but make as much money as they can and that's not the way to achieve longevity in the business." He's right, you also need to be friends with the right people.

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