Charlie, the animated doll who's so popular in TVT 6's daily children's sessions, may speak with the voice of ventriloquist John Sidney - but this pert little fellow has become a star in his own right!
He gets more fan mail than anyone else at the channel and hundreds of requests pour in each week from young viewers who want a picture of their idol.
When he sits in repose in the big studio waiting for his act to begin, visiting children love to stroke him and murmur endearments.
One little girl the other day was heard asking him, “Are you asleep, feller boy?”
As ventriloquists' dolls go, you would call Charlie a particularly handsome member of the species. John has him insured for five hundred pounds.
Characters like Charlie are hard to replace.
That's why John Sidney hid him away when university students descended on the studio lately and tried to steal him for a Commem. prank.
Man of many parts
Charlie wouldn't be much good without John, but Sidney is a very versatile fellow in show business.
Born in Pontville, Tasmania, 1927, he had violin lessons at seven and was given his first professional engagement at eight. He worked with the Sidney family orchestra during World War II (sister Gwen on piano and brother Don on drums), and when it was over he went to the United Kingdom.
There he drove a London taxi and played in Scottish dance bands.
John Sidney is a polished pianist as well as a violinist and he shares the bill with Peter Richman on the Hammond organ in “Tea Time Tunes” from TVT 6 on Sunday afternoons.
Not long ago, he quitted his regular job of pianoforte tuition to join the sales staff on Channel 6.