An Audience With.... Barry Humphries. Credit: London Weekend Television
An Audience With...

An Audience With...

  • TV variety
  • ITV1 / Channel 4
  • 1980 - 2011
  • 52 episodes (1 series)

Variety entertainment series, showcasing top acts from the world of music and comedy.

Press clippings

Victoria Wood: Wood Work, A Celebration - DVD review

Running at around 9.5 hours and across five disks, Wood Work, A Celebration is a showcase of the many talents of Victoria Wood, and her ability to make you laugh or cry with her writing and performance.

Suzanne Camfield, On The Box, 27th September 2016

Comedy gold: One More Audience with Dame Edna

The secret to Dame Edna's five decades of enduring popularity? Making hard work appear effortless.

Leo Benedictus, The Guardian, 30th September 2013

If you are of a certain age and are feeling bored in the no-man's-land between Christmas and New Year, watch this 1994 museum piece, scrutinise the audience and play Spot the Face. You can even tune out the remorseless Ken Dodd, who never seems to draw breath as he makes gags about Scunthorpe, Nigel Mansell and Scotsmen in kilts (this is a different time, a generation in comedy terms) as you scour the celebrity faces. Look, it's Diddy David Hamilton! Alf Roberts from Coronation Street! And Kevin Whately looking about 19!

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 30th December 2012

Apologies, Mani-lovers. But I defy anyone to watch this without the words, "Barry, that was all a bit cruise ship for me," echoing round their head.

While Manilow takes to the stage to perform and answer questions from the ­audience of celebs, for us at home that means witnessing some of the most bizarre sights you probably thought you'd never see.

For example, Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood actually grinning as he claps along to Could It Be Magic; Corrie's Dev and EastEnders' Archie grooving to Can't Smile Without You; and fellow Walfordians Christian and Zainab sharing a hug.

"Who are all these people?" poor Bazza must be wondering.

He's written a string of ­timeless pop classics and his name looks great in lights - but will tonight's performance be good enough to keep him out of the bottom two?

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 28th October 2011

All the stars are out - Dev from Coronation Street, one of the Nolans, an actor who used to be in The Bill - and they're up and dancing as Manilow runs through those peerless greatest hits. Go on, scoff if you must, but Manilow has produced some belters: Mandy, I Write the Songs, Can't Smile without You and camp classic Copacabana.

If you can get through the cheesy links (he loves his British fans and he's got a new album out, of course) and put up with Strictly's Bruno Tonioli making it all about him, then this is an unbeatable way to end the week. All together now: "Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl..."

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 28th October 2011

ITV likes to dust down its An Audience with... format now and again for vintage stars, and few are worthier of an old-fashioned showcase than that purveyor par excellence of the 1970s power ballad, Barry Manilow. On piano and accompanied by his own orchestra, Manilow displays fine pipes as he opens tonight's show with a rousing rendition of Could It Be Magic. He hits the high notes and emotive key changes with reasonable ease and swivels his hips impressively through Copacabana. Best glossed over are two songs from his new album and the well-rehearsed answers to soft questions lobbed from the audience, but overall his performance is as smooth as his peculiarly boyish forehead.

That's not to say it's superficial - Manilow still sings with an emotional sincerity that excites the tear ducts and brings the audience to its feet. Among the famous "Fanilows" in the audience are actress Keeley Hawes and Gavin & Stacey star Joanna Page, performers who were surely babes in arms when Tony first sailed across the bar to rescue Lola the showgirl. It proves that ITV isn't just tapping into the cheesy nostalgia factor with Manilow - he really does write songs that make the whole world sing.

Vicki Power, The Telegraph, 27th October 2011

He's an acquired taste, but there's something so dangerously odd about alleged hamster-diner Freddie Starr that makes him irresistible. He's outrageous, out of control and downright weird. The fact that he's impossible to like somehow makes him more appealing, or appalling, as this 1996 show demonstrates. There's nothing warm and fuzzy about Starr; he radiates barely suppressed anger. Yet he can be inspired and hilarious, even if you really don't want to laugh. There's plenty of madness here, though none of it is quite as hilarious as the celeb-studded audience seems to think it is, judging by the shots of shrieking Windsor Davies, Gareth Hunt and Carol Smillie. As a comedy museum piece, though, it's worth a look.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 26th June 2010

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