Actor has Lofty ambitions

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Fennikusu’s Pete Gibson is about to resurrect his role as a forgotten jewel from an Indian-based 1970’s sitcom.

And it’s all in a bid to help disadvantaged people enter the arts.

Pete Gibson

Pete will be playing “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” favourite Don Estelle in a short play about the performer’s turbulent career, aptly entitled, “The Rise and Fall of the King of Crumpsall” (May 18th and 19th Gulliver’s, Oldham Street, Manchester, tickets from

Born as Ronald Edwards in North Manchester, Estelle’s career peaked in the mid 1970’s when he appeared as Gunner Lofty Sugden. The show, set in a concert party HQ, became a national institution with Don even hitting number one in the pop charts with his rendition of, “Whispering Grass”. Fast forward a few years though and still donning his famous pith helmet, Estelle was performing outside of high street shops in a bid to beat debt and alcoholism.

“Don’s career nose-dived after the show was taken off the screens for alleged racism” reveals Pete, “certainly it is of its time and does include a blacked-up character (who was born in India) and language I find hard to listen to and accept. But it has more to say about the English class system, the colonisation of India and includes a gay character and a smashing Jewish bombardier!”

Pete’s loving treatment of Estelle’s story, with impressions of many of the show’s prime characters including the late lamented Windsor Davies, will feature in two nights of new writing called, “Rising”. Also including song and comedy, the showcases will raise funds to enable people from disadvantaged groups to enter the arts and get their voices heard. He presented the monologue at a hit showcase called, “Sitcom Stories” earlier this year for charity Singing with Dementia in Salford, and the piece is travelling to the Edinburgh Fringe festival shortly.

Pete will also be appearing in an hilarious parody of High Court Judges written by former Hollyoaks favourite, John Graham Davies.

His previous theatre roles include portraying writer Alan Bennett in “Room 5064” and Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy penman Douglas Adams in “We apologise for the inconvenience.”

Continued Pete: “From older working class people to those from BAME backgrounds, certain voices are still not being heard in the theatre, which remains very middle-class and inaccessible to lots of people. I work closely with two new drama groups who are really trying to change that – Fennikusu Productions and Young, Gifted and Black. So many people have opened doors for me in my career as a professional actor, now it’s time to help others get their dreams up and rising.”

“Rising” is staged at Northern Quarter venue Gulliver’s on Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th of May. Buy your ticket today from