'50 years on, we still love our job ... if you don't, you may as well quit'
When: Thursday until Sunday, January 6
Where: Hull New Theatre, Kingston Square, Hull
To book: 01482 300300
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Life on stage: Paul and Barry Chuckle (real name Elliot) are from Rotherham, the youngest in a showbusiness family of eight. Other performers in the family include their older siblings, Jimmy and Brian Patton.
Acclaim: The Chuckle Brothers came to national attention in 1974, when they won New Faces.
Chuckle on: In 1987, the duo became regular faces on children's television show ChuckleVision – a 22nd series is due to be screened in 2013.
The Chuckle Brothers are soon to celebrate 50 years in showbusiness – and love their life on the stage as much as ever, as they tell Will Ramsey
L ife could have been very different for the Chuckle Brothers. If they'd listened to their dad, there would have been no nights on tour and no place on the nation's television screens.
As it is, the pair are about to celebrate 50 years in showbusiness in 2013 – a good advert for following your own instincts.
"Dad told us not to go into showbusiness, well, he advised us not to, because it is a difficult business to be in," said Paul, 65, the younger of the duo.
"We just got a lucky break, thankfully."
Sitting in a wood-panelled room at Hull City Hall, part of a busy schedule of interviews for this year's panto, the pair are in a reflective mood.
Softly spoken – they'll leave the knockabout stuff for the photo shoot later on – they're happy to look back over a half-century of high jinks.
Back in Hull for Sleeping Beauty, a follow-on from last year's record-breaking run of Cinderella, the city holds some fond memories for the brothers.
They first performed at the New Theatre in 1967 in an "old-time musical hall show" – a style of comedy that continues to influence their act today.
"It was all the old songs from Victorian days," said Paul.
"It was the type of thing that was handed down. Dad's uncle was the first in the business, then our older brothers and then us.
"There were also the old sketches, which we still do today, army routines, marching.
That comedy part of it is still what we are about."
"We've changed the gags," added Barry, 67. "But we've not changed the way we work. We've brought them up to date."
As court jesters in the Qdos production of Sleeping Beauty, the duo will draw heavily on these influences.
"We can't do anything we did last year when we had five or six routines," said Barry.
"But we've got some different ones, which we'll rearrange from the good old days."
"There was a routine people were asking about last year which we'll be doing this time," said Paul. "It's where we pick someone up and throw them around the stage, balance them on our heads and all sorts."
As they prepare for the month-long run, the words of their dad still play their part, despite his initial warning about the perils of showbusiness.
"He always told us to do things to the best of our ability," Paul said.
"Whether there were only three or four people or 2,000 in the audience, always do exactly the same, because you never know who's going to be there."
"He was right, though," said Barry. "It worked for us. We were at Ashton-Under-Lyne doing a tour show and there were 28 people in.
"We worked flat out. Unbeknown to us there was a BBC producer and director up in the gods and they picked up on it and took us to the BBC."
That family legacy might now be drawing to a close. None of their children have followed them on to the stage, although Barry's granddaughter has a role in this year's panto in Rotherham.
But they are both certain as to why they continue.
"We enjoy it, that's why we've kept going so long," said Barry.
"It is a job of life," added Paul.
"We have done it for 50 years. Whatever job you are doing, if you don't like it, you may as well get out."