How Fatboy Slim brought Tam and John together

Tam Ryan and John Thomson

Tam Ryan and John Thomson

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It’s amazing who you bump into at a wedding.

In the case of Poulton lad Tam Ryan, it was comedian and TV star John Thomson and it has led to a lengthy friendship and a show they hope will be a big hit this Easter.

Actually, in this case, the fact Ryan bumped into a showbiz figure wasn’t that amazing – the wedding was Zoe Ball’s, so there was bound to be a fair few stars around.

“Zoe is my cousin, and when she married Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim, in 1999), John was one of the guests,” said Tam, an actor and panto star.

“I was a bit nervous about speaking to him, to be honest, because I had been a massive fan of his in my uni days, from when he was performing with Steve Coogan. I had a chat to him and that was that.”

Then, a few years later, Thomson visited him backstage after a panto.

“He came to the dressing room to tell me how much he’d enjoyed my performance,” said Tam.

“I was quite humbled. He’s from Didsbury, and at the time I was living in Manchester, so we arranged to go for coffee and we’ve been mates ever since.”

Given they’re both performers, and funny people, it seems odd that it’s only now they’ve decided to link up together for a show – The Easter Funny Show.

It’s at the Opera House in Manchester at 7.30pm on Friday, with two more shows on Saturday (1pm and 5pm), and Tam describes it as a proper show for all the family.

“It is basically a pantomime at Easter,” said the 37-year-old. “We thought there was a hole in the market, in that there isn’t much on for a family audience at Easter.

“There might be stuff for the kids, but nothing for both kids and adults, and that’s where this show comes in.

“The basic idea of the show is good against evil, and there are jokes in it that will appeal to all ages.”

There’s a strong supporting cast, which includes Blackpool panto favourite Steve Royle and puppeteer Russ Brown.

As for Tam, who lives within a stone’s throw of the Highcross pub in Poulton, he will certainly feel at home on the Opera House stage.

“I’ve starred in the Opera House pantomimes for the last four years, so it’s a venue I know well and which I love,” he added.

Originally from Barnsley, Tam moved to the Fylde coast in 2001 after realising it is the best place to be for an entertainer.

Performing at various local hotels and at family holiday parks like Ribby Hall led to his break in pantomimes.

Tickets for The Easter Funny Show start at £12, and they are available from www.atgtickets.com/manchester, or the Opera House box office on 0844 871 3018.