7 questions for Hippodrome Circus owner Peter Jay

Peter Jay, in his familar black shirt (photo: Nick Butcher)

Peter Jay, in his familar black shirt (photo: Nick Butcher) - Credit: Archant © 2009

The Great Yarmouth circus owner Peter Jay shares his Super Seven cultural picks - from news hopping to the ultimate fast food burger

Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers

Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers - Credit: Archant

As the only surviving total circus building in Britain it seems fitting that the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth should be at the centre of nationwide celebrations marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of the circus.

Peter Jay, owner of the Hippodrome, which was built in 1903 by legendary showman George Gilbert, says this year’s grand summer circus and water spectacular show will bring their greatest every line up of performers to the stage from across the globe to celebrate the milestone.

Peter has spent his whole life working in the entertainment industry; during the 1960s, his band The Jaywalkers, enjoyed chart success and toured with some of the world’s biggest stars, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones. But having spent so many years on the road, he and his wife Christine are happiest when they are at home in Norfolk - as he reveals with his favourite cultural picks.


Where do I visit?

I try to go nowhere as much as possible other than to the Hippodrome and back home to Burgh Castle and sometimes to our house in a village in Andalucia. But that suits me. I did all the travelling when I was younger and 10 years on the road with the band is enough!

What am I eating?

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My absolute favourite and my choice for my last ever meal would be a Burger King Cheese Whopper. Before Burger King came to England I would fantasise about eating one as you could only get them in America in the old days. I thought maybe I could get one frozen and sent over but I never did. I now have one in Great Yarmouth!

What am I singing along to?

I’ve never ever sung along in a car to anything; I always have the radio tuned to Radio 4.

What am I listening to?

Amazingly for a musician I never really listen to music other than when I need it for the show. Except of course the greatest drummer of all time the late Buddy Rich, I’m still practising!

What am I wearing?

I only wear black and have been for the last 25 years. I’ve got four favourite shirts and have one style of trouser, of which I have 20 pairs; the original pair were made by a fantastic designer in Ibiza called Ola and I’ve had copies made in thick, medium and light cloths for all purposes. Wearing the same colour means one less decision to make every morning!

What am I watching?

I never watch films or go to shows as I find them too slow. I’m so used to the speed and excitement of the Hippodrome that everything else seems too drawn out. On TV I watch the news, flicking between 10 worldwide news channels about every 10 seconds; somewhere in between is the real thing. It’s fascinating but drives Christine and my friends mad!

What am I reading?

I’m not reading at the moment because I am writing my autobiography. It goes from variety days, to the pop business on tour with The Stones and the Beatles and then finally to the circus. It will be full of old posters and programmes and loads of stories about all the people I have worked with over the years.