Actor, comedian, singer, dancer and now author of his own theatre show I’ve Gotta Be Me, a tribute to the life of Sammy Davis Junior. There isn’t much that Danny John-Jules, star of Red Dwarf and longest running main cast member of Death in Paradise can’t do.

Here he talks about why he had to create his Sammy Davis tribute (currently touring the UK). He also talks about the now filming Red Dwarf special (which will be shown on Dave/UKTV) next year and what makes the series so enduring.

Why a show about Sammy Davis Jr?

Sammy Davis Jr wrote the blueprint for ‘Performing’. And if you are going to be inspired in your chosen career, it’s only wise to look to the best. And the consensus is Sammy Davis Jr.

What does Sammy mean to you?

Sammy Davis Jr to me was (And still is) ‘The professor Of performance’. The Lola that Barry Manilow sang about was discovered and mentored by Sammy Davis Jr. Lola Falana ’The Queen Of Las Vegas’.

Who created the show?

I created the show after I read an article by Sir Bruce ‘Mr Entertainment’ Forsyth in which he said that the highlight of his career was working with Sammy Davis Jr and that he thought his legacy had been forgotten.

Which Sammy quote do you live by?

“You always have two choices, your commitment versus your fear”.

What are your future plans?

My future plan is to ‘Remind’ everyone of the person that ‘Opened the doors that generations of performers like myself have had the privilege to walk through.

Will you ever return to Death in Paradise?

I outlasted three leading men in seven years. When you’ve been inspired by Sammy Davis Jr, you crave challenges. I’ve Gotta Be Me is such a challenge. As I said: “You always have two choices, your commitment versus your fear”.

It seems new Red Dwarf is on the way, anything you can reveal?

I will be filming Red Dwarf while touring. It’s a 90 minute special. It will sit nicely alongside the AA series of commercials we did earlier this year. It will be funny.

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Why do you think Red Dwarf remains so popular?

Red Dwarf remains popular because they obviously haven’t come up with a sitcom with the legs to keep up with us or they wouldn’t keep making it.

The only other character on UKTV that can hold a candle (in the wind) up to the face of The Cat, in the department of Camp, Drag, Hair and Make-Up, Elan, sashaying, glide, and the wickedest put downs is, RuPaul!!   LOL.

You can still see Danny John-jules’ I’ve Gotta Be Me at the following theaters this November:

4th – Swindon, Wyvern Theatre – READ MORE / BOOK NOW

14th – Sevenoaks, The Stag – READ MORE / BOOK NOW

20th – Greenock, Beacon Arts Centre  – READ MORE / BOOK NOW

21st – Aberdeen, The Tivoli – READ MORE / BOOK NOW

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22nd – Dunfermline, Carnegie Hall – READ MORE / BOOK NOW

29th – Margate, The Theatre Royal – READ MORE / BOOK NOW

Red Dwarf The Special complimented by a three part documentary will be shown on Dave/UKTV next year

About the author: Dannii Cohen

Dannii Cohen is a stand-up comedian (drag name Divine Varod) and comedy writer turned author, psychologist, professional counselor, life coach and self-help expert. Specialized in LGBT issues, anxiety, empowerment, children's issues and bullying.

Published works include children's books about childhood depression and the importance of being yourself (When Clouds Hide The Sun and Christopher the Lonely Bear) and an easy to use self help manual 50 Things To Know To Have A Better Life: Self-Improvement Made Easy.