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Wellystock 2015: Crusher In The Cafe

Crusher In The Cafe 1 In which Crusher finally learns the business…

On Saturday 24th October 2015, the Summer Winos website reached a milestone… its first official event! The streets of Holmfirth might have been chilly and windswept, but Sid’s Cafe was a warm hive of activity, as two packed houses of Summer Wine fans crammed into this beautiful and intimate venue to witness a little bit of history; Jonathan ‘Crusher’ Linsley returning to the cafe – and indeed to Holmfirth – for the first time in almost thirty years.

It all started back in March, when Jonathan kindly agreed to be interviewed for the Summer Winos website about his time working on the show. He had so many great stories to tell (and we’ll have the whole interview on the site soon – we  promise!) that we were determined to meet up with him at some stage for a proper chat. And when he mentioned that he hadn’t been back to Holmfirth since leaving the show, well… we clearly had to put that right.

Crusher In The Cafe 2Tickets for the event were sold out in advance, and – on the day itself – there seemed to be a real buzz of anticipation around the town. Jonathan had arranged to meet us for lunch in the bar of the Old Bridge Hotel, and it’s fair to say we were a little bit shaky ourselves. After four years of blogging our most candid and intimate thoughts about the show, this was the first time we’d ever met one of its stars in the flesh! Would Crusher stride manfully from the snug in his white ‘frock’ and studded bikers’ gloves, ready to bang our heads together? Would we even recognise him, almost three decades on from his final Summer Wine appearance?

Needless to say, the answer to these questions were, erm… no. And yes. In that order. We found Jonathan in a quiet corner of the bar, looking almost entirely unchanged since 1987! And he’s fabulous company; funny, thoughtful, and an absolute goldmine of fascinating anecdotes from the acting world. We enjoyed a relaxed bite to eat with Jonathan, his wife Frances and their friend Joy, and then – finally – it was time to wander over to the cafe.

Crusher In The Cafe 3With a buzzing throng of Summer Wine fans already congregating in that famous square outside the front door, Jonathan quite rightly decided to preserve the integrity of his theatrical entrance, and crept around the back of the cafe to hide in the venue’s sumptuous Green Room! (Mind the bucket). And, with cafe owner Laura buzzing around, serving tea and cake in a considerably more friendly manner than Crusher’s Auntie Ivy ever managed, the crowd began to excitedly wander in. We were thrilled to find quite a few devotees of this humble website amongst the audience – and, needless to say, we’re very grateful for all of your kind words.

And then the moment finally arrived… with a theatrical flourish, Jonathan emerged from the cafe kitchen to rapturous applause, and proceeded to entertain the crowd for well over an hour with a fabulous talk, covering his early days as a viewer (as a Yorkshire teenager, he’d been a spectator during location filming for the Blamire episodes!); telling us how the character – and costume – of Crusher came about; how his success in the Last of the Summer Wine stage play led to him being headhunted for the TV show; and all about his extraordinary career beyond Summer Wine… including breathtaking tales of Hollywood excess, working alongside Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Crusher In The Cafe 5

And, in a stroke of utter genius as the talk reached its climax, the character of Crusher was reborn before us! Gasps of delight sprang forth from the crowd as a white ‘frock’ and a pair of studded bikers’ gloves were indeed produced from a hitherto hidden suitcase. Jaws dropped, cameras flashed, and there he was… Crusher in the Cafe! Towering over everyone in the room, Jonathan was thrilled to pose for photos, sign several hundredweight of memorabilia, and chat one-on-one to fans about his fascinating career, and his time on the show.

And then, as darkness fell outside the cafe windows… we did it all over again! Such was the popularity of this first Summer Winos event, that we’d sold it out twice over. So a second, entirely different capacity crowd were then treated to a repeat performance, just as funny and fascinating as the first. And the celebrations rumbled on, long into the evening.

Crusher In The Cafe 4

Huge thanks to Jonathan, Frances and Joy for their endless enthusiasm, and all the time and effort that they all put into making this event such a success. And indeed to Laura Booth, owner of Sid’s Cafe, and her amazing team… they seem to have boundless reserves of patience when it comes to our madcap schemes, and it’s been a thrill and a pleasure to work with them all.

And the question on everyone’s lips… will we back with another Summer Winos event in 2016?

Well, let’s just say we’re ‘learning the business…’

Crusher In The Cafe 6

20 comments

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    October 26, 2015 10:03 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Jonathan Linsley

    It was more than fun. Thank you for making it happen. Thank you for all the kind things you said about me and to me. It was a truly amazing evening.

    Reply
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    October 26, 2015 10:09 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Bob Fischer (Author)

    Aw, thanks Jonathan! The pleasure was all ours.

    Blushing now…

    Reply
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    October 26, 2015 10:10 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Austin Hendricks

    Wonderful, I am envious of all who attended. Guess I will have to sit here in the states and be content watching the “Crusher” episodes!! The funny thing is, if my health allowed it, I would of flown over, made a weeks vacation of it. I always enjoy summerwinos site. I was glad to hear you both were so busy, and you would be back watching an episode soon. Keep up the good work, Austin from the states.

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    October 26, 2015 10:22 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Bob Fischer (Author)

    Such a shame, Austin… it would have been lovely to have met you! Thanks as ever for the kind words, and keep battling on, it really means a lot to us that you enjoy this site so much.

    Reply
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    October 26, 2015 10:30 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Peter Willetts

    Thanks to Jonathan for a thoroughly enjoyable time, we all loved it, and thanks also for singing ‘happy birthday’ to Wendy my wife for her birthday on the Sunday that was a surprise for her. I’ll leave now with these words,’Come back soon Jonathan’.

    Reply
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    October 26, 2015 10:38 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Bob Fischer (Author)

    Ha, thanks Peter… lovely to meet you both. Hope Wendy had a great birthday!

    Reply
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      October 27, 2015 10:34 amPosted 1 year ago
      Peter Willetts

      She did enjoy herself (we both did), and when she met up with her family who sent greetings she always commented on the ‘audience with’ she was well pleased. Thanks everybody for making it happen. 🙂

      Reply
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        October 27, 2015 1:02 pmPosted 1 year ago
        Bob Fischer (Author)

        Pleasure!

        Reply
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    October 27, 2015 12:07 amPosted 1 year ago
    Rod

    Many thanks for making this happen, great event and have good memories as well as a mug and a photo or two!

    Look forward to more Winos comments ….

    Reply
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    October 27, 2015 9:14 amPosted 1 year ago
    Bob Fischer (Author)

    Thanks Rod, it was lovely to meet you.

    Reply
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    October 27, 2015 10:18 amPosted 1 year ago
    Joy Beddows

    It was an amazing event, and thank you both for organising it…….I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

    Reply
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    October 27, 2015 10:29 amPosted 1 year ago
    Bob Fischer (Author)

    A pleasure Joy, great to meet you! Thanks for all your help, we’re still buzzing from the whole thing.

    Reply
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    October 27, 2015 2:54 pmPosted 1 year ago
    John Shakles

    What a “crackin” evening we had with Crusher! You could tell straight away the temperament and kindness of Jonathan, typical BFG 🙂 he could have kept us entertained all night.
    Honestly made my year!!! Massive thanks chaps.

    Reply
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    October 27, 2015 3:00 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Bob Fischer (Author)

    Thanks John, great to meet you. And thanks for putting me right on how to pronounce ‘Shakles’. 🙂

    Reply
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    May 20, 2016 7:14 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Owen Brennan

    Oh what a lucky bunch in the Cafe that night, I live in the west of Ireland and I come over to Holmfirth every year that I can for the Food and Wine Festival Ive stayed in the White Horse and Nora Battys, I love Summerwine and Holmfirth,oh I wish that I had known about Jonathans visit I would have been on the first flight over, ah well the lovely pictures will have to do instead, oh and Jonathan thanks for all the laughs and live long and prosper.

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      June 25, 2016 3:18 pmPosted 11 months ago
      Bob Fischer (Author)

      Sorry you missed it Owen, but there may well be another event in the offing! Keep checking back…

      Reply
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    July 18, 2016 5:58 pmPosted 10 months ago
    Peter rachael

    Crusher , thanks mate for many enjoyable hours watching you in LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE , I watch the show religiously every day. Only just discovered this website . Wish I’d known about last years get together at “SIDS CAFE” . Is there a DVDs from it ? That I can buy . Regards Pete 👍

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      July 21, 2016 8:48 amPosted 10 months ago
      Bob Fischer (Author)

      Ah, sorry Pete – there isn’t! We might do another event sometime soon though, so watch this space…

      Reply
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    January 10, 2017 2:01 pmPosted 4 months ago
    Regeneia Dugan

    I have been an ardent Summer Wine devotee since I discovered the series at least 15 years ago. It is my favorite comedy series of all time. I get very upset when it is pre-empted. I would have been giddy to be at this event and have the pleasure of meeting Johnathan, his lovely wife and friend. Roy Clarke is a creative genius with talent that is unmatched, in my opinion. Thank you Johnathan for your contribution to the show and by honoring your fans by participating in this event and thank you to the organizers for putting it on. I just found this site and I am making it one of my favorites.

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      January 14, 2017 1:32 amPosted 4 months ago
      Bob Fischer (Author)

      Thanks Regeneia… lovely to have you along for the ride!

      Reply

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