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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Carlisle OAPs' Bolero dance spoof finding a YouTube audience

Two north Cumbrian pensioners' comedy tribute to a legendary Torvill and Dean ice dance has made it on to the worldwide web.

Bolero dance couple photo
Robert Irving and Jane Porter

Now in their seventies, it is 25 years since Jane “Pussy” Porter and Robert “Bobby” Irving performed the spoof at Carlisle art college.

The lifelong friends – who worked together at the city’s Binns department store – teamed up as a double act each year to star in local comedian Donald Scott’s annual show.

One of the most memorable was the slapstick Torvill and Dean Bolero tribute. But it came as a huge surprise when video footage was uncovered by Jane’s son Steve in his garage earlier this year.

Highly amused, he transferred it on to DVD and handed copies out to friends and family at her 70th birthday party in the summer.

But now a copy has turned up on internet site YouTube, under the title Pussy’s Paso Doble and Bobby’s Bolero, and is rapidly gaining hits.

Jane, of Greenhill, Brampton, who doesn’t even have a computer, said the whole thing has had her in stitches.

“I couldn’t believe it when he found the video hidden in a drawer. As soon as I heard the music playing it brought it all back, it had me creased up.

“Nobody will admit who put it on YouTube – I haven’t even got the internet. We just can’t stop laughing,” she said.

Watch the dance. Article continues below...


It was while working at Binns, now House of Fraser, that Bobby gave her the nickname Pussy – in reference to Mollie Sugden’s character in Are You Being Served? – and it has stuck with her ever since.

Jane managed the women’s fashion floor for more than three decades while Bobby, now 75, of the Maltings, Carlisle, ran menswear.

“Binns was a wonderful place to work and it was one big happy family. I always called him my other half and the shop was just like Are You Being Served?” she said.

“Robert called me Mrs Slocombe and I called him Mr Humphries. He would often rush up the stairs and shout ‘how’s your pussy today?’ – the customers would burst out laughing. To this day I even get mail for Pussy Porter.”

As well as their in-store antics, the friends were also members of Brampton Players for more than 30 years.

They were both natural comics and easily roped in by Donald Scott to star in his famous comedy nights.

Bobby said: “We did a few sketches for Donald including The Sand Dance, an Australian skit and a ballet with balloons.

“At the time Torvill and Dean were absolutely massive and the audience reaction every night was amazing. I still get people coming up to me and talking about it.”

Still the best of friends, Jane and Bobby regularly meet up and talk on the phone.

What has amused them most are the comments that have been posted on YouTube alongside the video – including one saying that they are both living in separate care homes.

Jane, who until her 70th birthday was still working as a volunteer at the nearby Green Lane care home, said they would like to reassure their fans that they are very much alive and well – and definitely not past it yet!

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