Bobby Kaye

Comedian Bobby Kaye. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Early Career

Before beginning his comedy career Bobby Kaye (real name Robert Sturgeon) was a junior at Liverpool F.C. and later became the lead singer in the Liverpool skiffle group The Crescents who recorded and released the single Baby, Baby, Baby b/w Wrong on the Columbia label in March 1958.

When full time entertainment didn’t work out Bobby became a family man and took a job selling beer for a brewery, but his success at Butlin’s Search for a Star contest gave him hope that he could make it on the professional comedy circuit.

Talent Shows

Bobby was no stranger to the talent show format as back in January 1972 he was an Opportunity Knocks winner and had previously been voted Top Talent 1970 by The People newspaper.  The producers clearly ruled that a three year gap was sufficient enough to class Bobby as a new face and he was allowed to appear on the show despite this previous appearance on the small screen.

Agent Tony West, Bobby Kaye signing his contract and Pontin’s Chief Entertainments Executive Jim Kennedy. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

After appearing on New Faces his clean brand of humour and Harry Secombe style vocals found him full seasons work at Pontin’s Holiday camps in Blackpool, Morecambe, Southport and Prestatyn throughout summer 1977, following a guest appearance at Pontin’s Southport the previous year.  Also on the Pontin’s circuit that year were some other New Faces successes, including Les Dennis, The Nobodies, Crick’s Canine Wonders and The Amazing Bavarian Stompers.

In March 1978 Bobby appeared with Brotherhood of Man at the Nite Out in Birmingham. His appearance was such a success that the management asked him to return as soon as possible. With some juggling of schedules he was back just a few weeks later on the same bill as group Guys and Dolls and French singer Charles Aznavour.

Talent Show Win

On 9 November 1978 Bobby entered a talent show sponsored by the Warrington Guardian and Greenall Whitley Brewery held at the Wilderspool Leisure Centre, Warrington. Bobby had the audience with him from the moment he walked on stage and with some good original material he beat the other five other acts to win the £1,000 prize.

May 1992 Liverpool Echo advert for The Best of Search for a Star Charity Show, featuring Bobby Kaye and Colin Areety. Image: Trinity Mirror. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. All rights reserved.

Pantomime Debut

In December 1991 Bobby made his pantomime debut in Babes in the Wood at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton on the Wirral.  He provided the comedy playing Friar Tuck alongside two other pantomime debutants, Going Live TV presenter Peter Simon (Simple Simon) and former boxer John Conteh (Sheriff of Nottingham).

In May 1992 Bobby appeared in The Best of Search for a Star Charity Show, sponsored by Tetley Bitter in conjunction with The Liverpool Echo at the Floral Hall in Southport.  Also on the bill that night was Liverpool singer and former New Faces contestant Colin Areety.

As well as appearing on The New Comedians TV show he also performed shows for UK forces, golf and boxing clubs and conferences for clients such as Manchester United F.C. and the Northern Variety Club as well as performing shows on many UK cruise lines and he was still performing 25 years after his New Faces appearance.

Death and Funeral Service

Bobby died in hospital, at the age of 83, in April 2019 after a period of ill health.  His funeral service took place at Ainsdale Methodist Church and afterwards friends and family gathered at Southport and Ainsdale Golf club, where Bobby was a member, to celebrate his great talent, fantastic wit and sense of humour.

Bobby Kaye on You Tube