Big Band, Big Man - The Billy Cotton Story



The most famous catch-phrase of all time?

Ask anyone over the age of 50 if they remember Billy Cotton and the likely response will be a lively shout of "Wakey, Wak..ay". Millions tuned in each week on radio and TV to The Billy Cotton Bandshow, always preceded by that endearing catchphrase.

In 'Big Band, Big Man', Fearne Cotton uncovers the astonishing story of her great-uncle Billy's life including how "Wakey Wakey" became the simplest and most memorable catch-phrase ever.

Billy Cotton - showman,pilot,footballer,racing driver - and philanderer. With actor Roy Hudd who plays Billy, bringing his long lost interviews to life, Fearne learns how the bandleader who couldn't read music became the most famous entertainer of his day.

From humble beginnings and after becoming a WW1 pilot and footballer, he was the much-loved conductor who "just waved his arms about", according to his son, and lived every moment to the full.

Confident, but never cocky; a 'misery guts' but loved as "Uncle Billy" by millions - and rather more than that by a few, Billy Cotton's life reads like a teenager's bucket list: boxing, grand prix racing, motorbikes, boats, planes, TV, Radio, big bands - you name it, he probably did it.

Billy's affairs with stars never damaged his viewing or listening figures. His down-to- earth approach to his music made him a firm favourite even with royalty and "Wakey, wakey", still evokes powerful memories of family Sunday lunchtimes.

Also featuring Sandie Shaw, Lord Michael Grade and many of Billy's colleagues, family and friends, 'Big Band, Big Man' is the uplifting and revealing story of the flawed showman loved by a nation.