We catch up with the gorgeously camp and ever youthful Cheryl Baker. Famous for ‘that’ skirt moment, winning Eurovision, Christmas Top of The Pops and co-hosting Record Breakers. Cheryl we bow down to thee….
What is your favourite moment from your career?
Winning Eurovision, without question, as that was always my ambition as a child. Eurovision is like the Olympic Gold of pop music, so to win that was amazing. Personally, though, my favourite moment was singing Mary’s Boy Child on stage with my sister when I was a teenager as that was when I decided I wanted to be on stage.
Comparing Eurovision to the Olympics – no wonder you’re such a legend.
What has been your campest moment?
Again, winning Eurovision! And, when we did Christmas Top of the Pops, I was dressed as a Pixie for The Land of Make Believe. When we sang “run for the sun”, I was hoisted up in the air. It was pure pantomime and fabulous.
Flying pixies on Christmas TOTP – 10 out of 10!
What’s the most outrageous thing a fan has ever said / sent to you?
Oh, that’s easy! I get hay-fever really badly and, one time, this girl asked me for my tissue. I said “No! It’s full of snot!” She just said “But it’s your snot!” Yuk!
Erm.. VILE! Oh. My. God.
Have you ever used your fame to get into a VIP area (don’t you know who I am)?
No! I can’t stand that. I hate it so much. A really good friend, who I love dearly, bought me tickets for My Fair Lady at the National. She said to me we should go to the after-party, I said “No, I haven’t been invited.” but she just said “They’ll let you in; you’re Cheryl Baker!” I remember when I was in Co-Co in 1977, I was in a restaurant called The White Elephant on the River – everyone went there, it was the place to be. Davy Jones from the Monkees came in, and he was my idol, as that was my era. They said “I’m terribly sorry, Mr Jones, but there are no tables.” and he actually said “Don’t you know who I am?” and my heart just sank. He was my idol.
We love a diva, but we love an unassuming one even more.
What was the most breathtaking record you saw broken on Record Breakers?
Roy Castle did the longest wing-walk. They wanted me to do it too. I tried for about 10 minutes but it was hell. Roy was terrified of heights but that’s how he dealt with his fears – by facing them. We both did the longest rope slide, from the top of Blackpool Tower, although that record was beaten shortly after by the Marines. We were both terrified. I raise my hat to Roy – so many of the records were about him facing his phobias.
Why do you think the gays love Eurovision so much?
I don’t know but I’m so glad they do! They love everything I love – musical theatre, pop music, Eurovision. I’m like a gay man. If I was a man, I would definitely be gay.
Never change. Ever.
What does it mean to you to be a gay icon?
It means I have a real loyal following that say lovely things. They call me Dame Cheryl, which I love, even though it sounds a bit old! Gays are very happy to wear their heart on their sleeve. If they like something that other people say is camp or twee, they don’t care. Gay men and women are not afraid to come out and say they like something, and just be themselves.
Dame Cheryl; we salute you. Gay Icon, Eurovision legend and Bethnal Green’s campest export. ∎
Cheryl Baker currently appears as Mrs Cunningham in the UK tour of ‘Happy Days the Musical’. Tour dates and tickets from happydaysthemusical.com