Pete Conway & Robbie Williams: Like Father Like Son
Robbie Williams is recognised as one of the best selling music artists of all time, having sold 75 million records worldwide. Six of his albums are in the top 100 biggest selling records in the UK; four of which are in the top 60. But some of that magic may well have come from his dad. Pete Conway (Peter Williams) who is Robbie’s father, and believes he saw the ‘X Factor’ in his son at an early age.
Pete Conway: New Faces
Peter Conway is a comedian, singer and guest speaker, who first appeared on ‘New Faces’ in 1973. This was a TV talent show of the time, similar to ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Conway has worked with some of the best in live entertainment. Speaking to the Boundary Club at a recent event; he recalled being on the bill with the great Tommy Cooper (1921-1984). Working in the seaside resort of Skegness, for a summer season in the 70’s.
Meeting Tommy Cooper
On meeting Tommy Cooper, Robbie’s dad asked him ‘How’s the show going?’ Tommy replied ‘I don’t know I haven’t seen it’. Pete mentioned how Cooper loved a drink, but was as funny off stage as on. He asked Peter what he did in his act? Pete told him ‘Jokes, songs and some impressions’. Then Tommy asked ‘Do you do me?’ Peter replied ‘Yes’. So Tommy said ‘Well I’m going to bed, any calls you take them’.
Tommy Cooper – Pete Conway’s Friend – There’ll never be another
Robbie Williams: Live Shows
Robbie Williams’ live shows are sell outs, in 2006 he entered the Guinness Book of World Records for selling 1.6 million tickets in a single day, for his Close Encounters tour. As his father and close friend, Pete is very much a part of Robbie’s live touring shows, coming on stage to do a couple of songs together in true father and son style; the two seem inseparable. Comedian and friend of the Williams, Jim Tavare said: ‘Robbie really loves his dad, he wants to be like him’.
Pete Conway: Career Changes
Conway’s heyday as a comedy entertainer, was very much in the old cabaret and social club scene; which reached its height in the 60’s & 70’s. Comicus has arranged several artists such as Mick Miller, Adger Brown, Adrian Walsh, Roy Walker and glam rock group Slade – all friends of Pete’s – for after dinner speaking and events.
However, come the 1980’s the cabaret circuit began to close, as a new comedy style began to emerge through the comedy clubs. So in the mid eighties, Robbie Williams’ dad became events manager at Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village in Kidwelly. Where he ran all the resort shows and entertained the guests for four seasons.
Kid About It
Robbie was born in 1974, as he got older he watched his dad on stage, along with other famous acts. By the time he was eleven, Robbie knew what he wanted to do. Starting with amateur dramatics, then getting a small part in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang, Bang’.
Pete Conway also worked regularly with a pop singer called Ross McManus. Who he recalled “…used to bring his son, before Rob was born, and he also used to sit in the dressing room. He is now Elvis Costello”… So there must be something in the Northern Water.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.