Gervase on Stage


Gervase Phinn

Latest News
Itinerary of Gervase Phinn
Photo Album
Yorkshire Journey
Yorkshire Life
Public Speaking
Little Village School Series
Dales Series
The Best Days of Our Lives
Out of the Woods
Gervase's DVD
Children's Poetry
Children's Fiction
Child's Play
Yorkshire Pictorial
Mangled English
Royston Knapper
Children's Authors
The Virgin Mary's Got Nits
Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars
A Wayne in a Manger
All Our Yesterdays
Quick Reads
Little Gems
Little Angels
Little Treasures
Young Readers
Teachers' Guides
Spoken Book Award
Speaker of the Year
Puffin Audio
Child's Audio Books
Franklin Watts Poems
Matthew's Watercolours
Gervase Phinn Live Again DVD cover

Latest DVD now on sale - >>

Radio Leeds interview

listen to Gervase Interview with John Boyd

Listen to Drystone Radio interview

listen to drystone radio interview

video clip of Gervase

"Your talk was brilliant! Our library was buzzing! We've
had loads of lovely comments saying how wonderful the evening was. In fact you made one older lady laugh so
much she had to use her inhaler at the end of the evening!"

Catherine Overton, Librarian, Hinckley Library

"You provided two of the most successful events that we have ever had in our library. The feedback from the audiences as they left was phenomenal. It was an
absolute joy to sit back and watch 110 people so happy and involved and laughing along with your entertaining and informative talks."

Mark Newman, Library Supervisor, Oadby Library

"I just wanted to say many, many thanks for closing this year’s festival for us. It was a perfect way to end the event and we’ve had fabulous feedback from the

Jenny Harris, Director Morley Literature Festival

"The event was truly one of the best we have ever had with everyone having the most enjoyable and entertaining evening... It was an evening to remember."

Tina Dingley, Assistant Fundraising Manager, St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice

big shepherd gervase phinn

A Yuletide Evening with Gervase Phinn

"A worthy successor to James Herriot and every bit as endearing" Alan Titchmarsh

Gervase Phinn has been touring and selling out theatre across the country for over 9 years now as a hilarious raconteur. The best selling and award winning author, Radio and TV personality, really is at his best and most exciting in front of a live audience. 'An Evening with Gervase Phinn' will have you on the edges of your seats, as he shares his hilarious and sometimes poignant tales of life as a schools inspector in the Yorkshire Dales.

Below are photos and extracts from and about Gervase Phinn's acclaimed Theatre Tour.

Review: Gervase Phinn at The Victoria Hall, Hanley

Review by Ian White

IN MANY ways we appear to have lost the art of story telling. Time is against us so often and we need to get to the point as quickly as possible.

It was a joy to be in the presence of one of the country's leading story tellers when Gervase Phinn visited the Victoria Hall on Thursday .

With an international reputation built on his many experiences as school inspector in North Yorkshire, his story telling began in a series of best selling books where his humour became widely known and hugely popular. A round of public speaking engagements led to Gervase Phinn being presented with the Speaker of the Year award in 2004.

There is warmth in the subject of his stories. His audience relates easily to the situations he recalls. There is even greater warmth in the man himself a person of great wit and empathy. His timing, his improvisation and embellishment (all key skills of a strong story teller) were impeccable.

Wrapped up for Christmas, he concentrated his accounts on his school nativity play experiences of which there were many. Any wish that thoughts of Christmas were premature were balanced by the harsh reality of the switching on of the Christmas lights in the city centre that evening.

For us Christmas had arrived early with one of the most gifted of speakers, whose personality continues to shine amidst the present doom and gloom on a night to remember.

Review: Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple

An evening with Gervase Phinn is like having a favourite uncle to tea

Review: Jo Wood

SPENDING an evening with Gervase Phinn is rather like having a favourite uncle round for tea. He's so comfortable with his stories that everyone's immediately put at their ease.

The Queen's Theatre was full. I noticed straight away that the men/women ratio was roughly fifty/fifty, with more than a few teachers in the audience. The thing is Gervase Phinn is genuinely funny and not threatening to anyone. I suppose most people there had read his books (there's quite a few in Barnstaple library) or heard him on the radio, but it didn't matter if you hadn't. Unless you were expecting Ricky Gervais that is!

Dressed in cheerful colours he entertained us so well the evening flew by. Mr Phinn was surely born with a gift for storytelling and poetry. He's from Rotherham and fiercely proud of it. His career has taken him from teaching to work as a Schools' Inspector, and given him the ability to see the world through a child's eye.

"If a little girl writes egog what does it mean?" he asked us. "Why, Hedgehog of course." His fascinating life in education has given him ample fodder for many books, and a packed schedule of performances all over the country. There's not much about children that he doesn't know.

Mr Phinn has become one of the most popular authors in the country, and despite what he says about a happy childhood not selling, I think this is where his secret lies: happiness is always in demand. He's got a gift for seeing the funny side of things, which we all want to share. Who else would see the writing on a lipstick as a dire warning: 'Remove cap and push up bottom'?

Not shying away from the emotional extremes he is capable of reducing an audience to tears or paroxysms of laughter with only moments in between. I challenge you to sit through a show without being moved. His faith is clearly a huge part of his life, and he's not afraid to stand up and declare it. You might think this would be rather unfunny, but it seems to have the opposite effect. I loved the anecdote about the headmistress of a convent school answering the phone as "The Head of John the Baptist".

I'm not sure if I should be a bit ashamed about enjoying an evening of 'easy listening' but I haven't time to talk about it now as I need to get to the library before it shuts...

Review: Gervase Phinn - Hall for Cornwall, Truro, 

Review by Eric Dare

In a gloomy world on a wet April evening, Gervase Phinn provided the tonic all of us wanted as we packed into the HFC last week.

For me it was a refreshingly new experience. I had read his accounts of his life as a Yorkshire schools inspector and found them amusing, but to hear his fund of quips and stories given ‘live’ was totally different: non-stop banter for ninety minutes before the interval, tears in eyes, I ached with laughter. ‘You can always tell a Yorkshireman – but not much!’ What a gift to comics is a rich Yorkshire accent! Add to that superb timing, mimicry and ‘pregnant pauses’.

Oops! He wouldn’t have approved of that last cliché – and quite right! Though we laughed at his performance, a serious thread throughout was the importance of language and literature to young children – and love - something he had enjoyed from his parents as a youngster that he fervently wanted for all children. Let them be given Shakespeare – not presented to children with lots of notes – poetry and the speeches of Churchill.

However, he could also enjoy the misuse of language, especially from his secretary, Connie: ‘If I ever discover who’s been making those allegations, I kill the alligator!’ Poorly composed advertisements and signs, ambiguous instructions (on a lipstick: ‘Take off top and push up bottom’) were all grist to his mill (ugh! another cliché), as were his own experiences of growing up in Rotherham. More recently he had been based in Harrogate, ‘so posh even the Fire Brigade is ex-directory.’

What distinguished his performance from other popular Yorkshire comics such as Les Dawson, was his declared Christian faith, his belief in the importance of education, and his obvious humanity and compassion. This was movingly evident in the only story he read, that of the unloved Matthew and Fr. Mackenzie. The evening was not only joyously funny, but also heartwarming.

Review: Gervase Phinn in Ipswich Corn Exchange

Review by Angus Smith - Resident of Kesgrave

I have to confess I had not even heard of Mr Phinn until a few months ago when my mother and cousin mentioned he was doing a theatre tour including a date in Ipswich. They had read several of his books and said they were hilarious and when I asked if was he a comedian they said he was, but much more.

Despite it being cold and snowing outside, a packed Corn Exchange proved that he had something of a cult audience and he is indeed a man of many talents.

Gervase Phinn is, as I discovered, a multi-faceted talent - raconteur, teacher, freelance lecturer, author, poet, OFSTED school inspector, educational consultant and visiting professor of education.

Rotherham-based Phinn entertained us with a two hour set comprising an array of humorous tales, anecdotes, readings and stand-up.

The tour, entitled a Yuletide Evening with Gervase Phinn, was primarily promoting his new book Out Of The Woods: But Not Over The Hill which is, in essence, a best-of compilation of his previous works.

"Never having to resort to profanities to punctuate his punchlines and prose" - Angus Smith

Getting old

It primarily focuses on the humour and observations of getting old, but also included some very funny recollections of his career.

The first part of the evening concentrated on the Christmas theme and Phinn brought up some hysterical yarns from his time as a schools inspector.

There were large numbers of teachers in the audience (myself included) and he delivered some terrific tales from his A Wayne In A Manger book along with other Christmas-related material.

The second half of the show dealt more with material from his Dales series of books and others such as Don't Tell Teacher.

Phinn's delivery is like a cross between Alan Bennett and James Herriot for the 2010s and his self-deprecating humour shone.

He thanked his parents for giving him his love of reading and writing and his sense of humour:

"I mean, my father had a great sense of humour. Who else would call their son Gervase in a Yorkshire coal-mining community."

Dangerous dogs

His work as a schools inspector was often the source of much hilarity.

"What's the difference between a rottweiler and a school inspector?

"Well, a rottweiler doesn't smile when he savages you!" or "What's the difference between a school inspector and a terrorist? At least you can negotiate with a terrorist."

Other gems were when phoning the mother superior of a convent school Phinn was shocked with the reply of "This is the head of St John the Baptist speaking!"

His own family provided the gags when he recalled his little grand-daughter telling his wife: "Grandma, your face needs an iron."

Never politically correct, but at the same time never having to resort to profanities to punctuate his punchlines and prose, Phinn managed to entertain and delight throughout while at the same time making poignant observations on life and learning.

All in all a hugely entertaining evening.

Gervase Phinn was at the Ipswich Corn Exchange on Thursday, 25 November, 2010.

Review: Gervase Phinn at King George's Hall, Blackburn

10:58am Tuesday 16th November 2010

FORMER school inspector turned author Gervase Phinn led the assembly at King George’s Hall last night and delighted an audience with his tales from the classroom.

If you’d taken the register, the chances are that the vast majority of those in the hall were either current or past members of the teaching profession.

Certainly the knowing chuckles and nods coming from the audience meant Gervase was in the main preaching to the converted.

Phinn is not a comedian as such, he’s an old fashioned storyteller - and he’s very good at it. His humour is gentle, almost of another era.

His show was based around school nativity plays he’s witnessed over the years and there was no shortage of great material.

It was also surprisingly moving in parts. Phinn has an inherent belief in the innocence of children and their natural goodness.

Through stories and readings from some of his numerous books and poems he created a warm feeling around the room with ‘aahs’ interspersed with much laughter.

Christmas may be several weeks away but for one night, the festive spirit came early thanks to Gervase.

Peter Kay meets James Herriot

below: Gervase Phinn chats with Zita Collinson about the perils of working as a schools' inspector and what  happens when Nativity plays go badly wrong.

To see Gervase Phinn's forthcoming engagements, please see the Itinerary page >>

Gervase Phinn shares his hilarious tales of life as a school inspector in the Yorkshire Dales which will have you in stitches. Dubbed 'The James Herriot of schools' this best selling author, Radio and TV personality is not to be missed.

"A natural storyteller, he combines the timing of the professional comedian with palpable warmth and the ability to deliver a message that is just more than a series of jokes" - The Times



“I owe, as I’ve always said in life, any success I’ve had to people. It started with my parents. My mother used to read to me, my father used to tell stories – White Fang and Moonfleet – and he’d take me to the library in Rotherham, he’d go to the market and pick up old paperbacks. So, as a child, I used to read avidly anywhere - behind the garden shed, in summer on the lawn, up a tree, in bed at night under the covers with my torch. I couldn’t get my nose out of a book and the more you practise something, the better you become at it. If you read and read, you know a lot about language and on the back of reading is writing."

“My university tutor at Leeds, Dr Cowell, said ‘if you want to be a writer, you’ve got to do two things – read, read and read and you’ve got to keep a notebook and write things down, which was great advice. One of the best bits of advice to give is ‘keep a diary of events and things that happen’.


Words of wisdom:
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
- Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you’ll win some false friends and true enemies.
- Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
- Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
- Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
- Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow.
- Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.
- Give it anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it’s between you and God.
- It was never between you and them anyway.
Mother Theresa

Buy the DVD now from amazon
visit the Amazon website >>

>> more photos

Home ] Media ] Contact ] Legal ] Links ]

Back | Next