Derbyshire entertainer Bernie Clifton to ditch Oswald the Ostrich and audition for BBC show The Voice

Bernie Clifton wants to prove to people he's got THE voice.
Bernie Clifton wants to prove to people he's got THE voice.
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Derbyshire entertainer Bernie Clifton hopes to convince TV viewers he’s not just a funnyman on an ostrich when he stars on BBC One show The Voice tonight.

The 79-year-old, who lives in Barlow, found fame in the 1970s and 1980s for appearing in popular shows like Crackerjack, Seaside Special and The Good Old Days.

He is perhaps best known for riding around on yellow puppet Oswald the Ostrich – but now Bernie wants to show off his vocal talent.

Bernie started singing as a teenager but “buried” his voice as he developed his variety act.

He started working with a vocal coach three years ago.

“The more the voice came out, the more I realised that I really ought to try and find a vehicle for it because I wanted people to know there’s more to me than the ostrich,” he said.

“How could I get a job singing on TV? There’s just no chance. But then I thought of The Voice. I went through the process like anybody off the street.

“I auditioned anonymously under my real name, Bernard Quinn. I just queued up with everybody else, but without my family or manager in case they tried to talk me out of it.

“As I got audition after audition, the producers asked me to sit down and tell them about myself and then the truth came out. It’s been a magical kind of a trip.”

As he approaches 80, the entertainer is looking to the future.

The more the voice came out, the more I realised that I really ought to try and find a vehicle for it because I wanted people to know there’s more to me than the ostrich

Bernie Clifton

“I’ve got a regular show on BBC Radio Sheffield, it goes out at weekends. Apart from that, I’m doing any gigs that come around,” he said.

“I’m also looking forward to putting out an album soon. I’d love to get into some form of musical theatre. I’m pretty happy with where I am at the moment.”

See how Bernie gets on by watching The Voice, which features coaches will.i.am, Boy George, Ricky Wilson and Paloma Faith, at 7.30pm.