National treasure, and without doubt one of Britain’s most talented and best loved comedians & performers, Billy Pearce emerged from the fertile talent fields of Butlins in the mid 1980’s. Multi Award winner Billy, has won just about every comedy award going, including a British comedy award, Solo comedian of the year, and Best television comedy newcomer at the London Palladium.
As a child, Billy was surrounded by the showbiz lifestyle, his late father Lesley Cookson was an accomplished pianist, his mother Jean Pearce, 84, ran one of the biggest dancing schools in the UK, the Pearce School of Dancing, which notably discovered Joe Longthorne and Malandra Burrows.
The dance school were always short of boys, so Billy and his younger brother Andrew got dragged in.
The first time he went on stage was as a 6 yr old child at the Empire in Leeds, and he was a Siamese twin in The King and I. He never for once imagined, he would still be in the entertainment industry, more than half a century on….In fact, he thought he would end up working in a foundry, until fate intervened and almost killed him…
He was on his motorbike at the back of Yorkshire TV Studios when and a guy hit him turning right. He didn’t see Billy, and he flew right into the air and landed on his chest. The seriousness of the accident resulted in Billy losing two-thirds of his liver, his entire spleen, a rib and damaged kidneys. He still suffers today….But the accident changed his life. He found himself befriending his surgeon – Geoffrey Wooler, known for his work during the Second World War – and staying in his villa on Cordula in the Adriatic.
Billy, who was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, first came to National prominence when he appeared in Central TV’s top talent show ‘New Faces’, winning his heat and qualifying for the final. His impact was immediate and he was quickly snapped up for stage and TV appearances, culminating with his first series for BBC television, ‘You Gotta Be Joking’.
In 1993, Billy was honoured to be chosen to host The Children’s Royal Variety Performance screened by the BBC. His success in this prestigious show can be judged by the fact that he was invited to appear on the same show a year later, which he then followed with a laughter-filled appearance on the Royal Variety Performance. In total, Billy has performed in Five children’s Royal Variety shows and Three Royal Variety shows. During the mid 1980’s and early 1990s, he appeared on TV shows such as Tonight at the London Palladium, Through the Keyhole, Blankety Blank, Talking Telephone Numbers, and You Bet.
When variety fell out of fashion in the 1990s, with the rise of alternative comedy, Billy found a niche in family-friendly panto while keeping the razor-sharp wit needed to entertain adult-only audiences. The combination paid off, as evidenced by his ticket sales.
There are few stages upon which Billy has not appeared. He’s broken Box Office records at a number of National Theatres including his Summer season at the Blackpool Grand Theatre, and his Christmas panto appearance at the Bradford Alhambra, where the Theatre took a bank busting £1.3 Million.
Billy even trod the boards of Musical Theatre appearing alongside Jimmy Osmond in the smash hit musical ‘Boogie Nights’. He followed this by having a stint as narrator in the ‘Rocky Horror Show’.
A fine actor, Billy has also appeared on numerous shows, including ITV’s ‘Heartbeat’ and the award winning BBC drama ‘The Street’.
In October 2013 Billy was presented with the Arts and Entertainment Award at the Yorkshire Awards at a prestigious ceremony at The Hilton Hotel, Leeds. Previous recipients of the award include The Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Clare Teal, The Kaiser Chiefs, Chris Moyles, John Godber and Gaynor Faye.