The group, 4 Poofs and a Piano, shot to fame as the house band on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross between 2001 and 2010. The group, David Wickenden, Stephen De Martin, David Roper and Ian Parkin have been busy touring and making TV appearances since.
I caught up with band member Ian Parkin (bottom centre) to find out if they any of their piano playing fingers were also green. “Funny you should ask that,” he replied, “I’m actually a late gardener. I have only recently developed an interest in gardening. We have a big roof terrace here in London and last year we planted it up with big pots full of vegetables and flowers. When it was all done I wanted to do more so I am now looking to buy a house with a decent sized garden. Our tomatoes did well but we only had 3 beans on our miniature been plant, which was a bit disappointing.” The camp cabaret artist continues, “Last Christmas I did Panto with Charlie Dimmock and I kept asking her all sorts of gardening questions and I have a got a good friend who is doing an RHS course so I can pick her brains too.”
Ian also recalls helping out his father as a child, “My Dad was a really keen gardener. We had a corner plot and the front part was a rose garden. It was a council house so when we moved we weren’t supposed to take anything with us but I remember helping to dig up the roses in the middle of the night so we could take them. My father’s pride and joy was his manicured lawn and he also had a big shaped privet hedge. I used to help quite a lot but all the photos seem to be of my brother pushing me around in the wheelbarrow, not working at all.” I’ve also got a great photo of me in an Aran sweater feeding sheep on Snowdon during a family holiday to Wales. It was howling a gale.”
He adds, “I remember being taken around castles and gardens as a child and I was quite happy about it then but I’m not really an outdoorsey person these days. The other three have run the London Marathon and loads of half marathons for Charity. I’ve never been tempted to join them; I think as I’m a singer and dancer that’s enough exercise for one lifetime.”
Ian, David and Stephen met whilst singing in a choir ‘just to keep singing whilst we weren’t working.’ They went on to form a group and only did two gigs before being spotted by a production company who signed them up as the resident band for the Jonathan Ross Show.
“I’ve always maintained it was 30% talent and 70% luck,” laughs Ian, “David Roper then joined us in the third series. It was great fun and we did musical introductions for Madonna, Paul McCartney, David Bowie and Robbie Williams. We’ve been touring a lot since and always get a fabulous welcome from the audiences but have decided that when this Tour ends at the end of March that we are all going on to do things individually. It’s not like the break-up of Take That,” he adds, “We haven’t got a helpline or anything for distressed fans. It just seemed to be the right time to do other things. Hopefully my lottery numbers will come up or I’ll be offered a huge film contract and then I can buy a nice house with a big garden and spend more time gardening.”
For more details of the group pop into www.4poofsandapiano.com