Comedian Phil Cool, the man with the rubber face, is embarking on his farewell tour. And as he tells JOHN ANSON, this really will be the last chance fans get to see him perform live

IN the 1980s Phil Cool was one of the most recognisable personalities on TV.

His ability to contort his face into seemingly impossible shapes together with a ready northern wit made him one of the most in-demand comedians.

But now he is calling time on the comedy tours and his Final Curtain tour – which comes to Bolton’s Albert Halls on Friday and then a home town date at Chorley Little Theatre on May 24 – will definitely be his last.

“I’ve seen other comedians go on their ‘first farewell tour’ and just keep going,” said Phil. “But this will be it for me.

“To be honest I’ve just had enough of all the travelling. I’ve been doing it for so long now.

“If you could invent some kind of machine that could just beam me straight to the venue so I could walk straight on stage that would be great. But I think I’ve seen enough of motorways now.”

The Chorley-born former electrician found fame after years in the clubs when he was providing the voices of the likes of Mick Jagger and Boy George on the classic satirical show Spitting Image. Two primetime BBC series of his own show Cool It followed.

“With hindsight I was mugged doing so much TV,” he said, “I was having to come up with so much new material week after week. I was exhausted.

“If you look at a clever comedian like Peter Kay. He puts together a show, doesn’t go on TV with it, and can then perform it live for months.”

As well as embarking on his farewell tour, Phil is putting the finishing to an autobiography, Stand Up Chameleon, which should be ready for release soon.

“It’s not a soul searching work,” he said, “it’s more telling the story of how I made it, how one thing just led to another.”

The book begins with Phil about to step onto the stage of the Grand Theatre in Leeds, his first big show, and then goes through the steps that got him to that point.

“It’s peppered with anecdotes and incidents so hopefully people will find it light relief,” he said.

Phil has recently been touring as a musician alongside Ken Nichol and he admits that the folk clubs are his true home.

“We supported Fairport Convention for a tour which was a wonderful experience,” he said, “and I think I might be making the occasion trip to the local folk clubs.”

But as far as the major comedy tours are concern, catch Phil now as there won’t be another opportunity.

  • Phil Cool, Albert Halls, Bolton, Friday, March 1 (01024 334400) and Chorley Little Theatre, Friday, May 24.(01257 264362).