Sunday for Sammy 2016

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Sunday for Sammy 2016

Sunday for Sammy 2016

Posted: 29 Feb 2016

28 February 

Newcastle City Hall

Photos: Paul Millard 

The ghost of Brendan Healy loomed large – in the most benign way possible – over this year’s Sunday for Sammy concert.

The show started, fittingly, with a minute’s applause for the comic genius who, along with Tim Healy, has been the glue that has traditionally held together this bi-annual North East extravaganza.

The event was launched in 2000 to celebrate the life of actor Sammy Johnson who died in 1998 and to raise funds for upcoming talent in the region.

Brendan has been dubbed Newcastle’s Billy Connolly and his death earlier in February could have cast a gloomy shadow over proceedings. Instead it added poignancy to the time-honoured mix of sketches and songs that make this one of the most sought-after tickets in the region.

Sammy stalwarts including Denise Welch, Charlie Hardwick, the Auf Wiedershen, Pet gang and Lindisfarne’s Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell were joined this year by Stephen Tompkinson, members of the cast from the TV series Hebburn and – for the grand finale – Lindisfarne’s Ray Jackson.

Jacka was the perfect choice to lead the customary rendition of Run for Home – one of his old band’s best-loved numbers – as the whole cast took to the stage at the end of the three-hour set.

Despite its length, the show never once flagged – a tribute to everyone who took part as well as the organisers.

Some of the stand-out moments were:

A cracking stand-up routine by Jason Cook, now one of the region’s biggest names in comedy who got a leg-up from the Sunday for Sammy fund when he was starting out

Jill Halfpenny singing Natural Woman

The Auf Wiedersehen, Pet sketch set in ancient Greece

Annette Crosby belting out Proud Mary

Peter Peverley as Bobby Thompson, the Little Waster

Billy Mitchell and the Inspire Choir singing Lean on Me

Olivia Devine and Alice Quinn performing Sting’s Fields of Gold (followed by a filmed clip of Sting giving his seal of approval)

A Mock the Week sketch featuring a quick-fire round of contributions on things a Geordie would never say (favourites: “When it comes to fake tan, I believe less is more” and “I always thought the name Sports Direct Arena had a nice ring to it”)

Even without Brendan, Sunday for Sammy looks set to be as firm a fixture of the North East calendar as it ever was.

Both shows – one in the afternoon and another in the evening – always sell out fast, but anyone missing out on a ticket can see all the action on DVD.

JG Windows in Newcastle carries DVDs from past shows and will stock this year’s as soon as it is released.

Windows: 0191 232 1356


Ten of the stars of this year’s show feature in My North East by its Famous Sons and Daughters – a full-colour coffee-table book featuring 58 North-Easterners (including Brendan Healy) talking about the region and how it shaped their lives.

It costs £17.99 and is available from JG Windows, bookstores and online at





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