Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin on his perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 12:21 04 November 2011 | UPDATED: 07:54 16 September 2015
With more than three million hits on YouTube and guest appearances on Comedy Rocks and the Royal Variety Performance, Paul Zerdin is one of the UK's best-known ventriloquists. Come the weekend, the Wimbledon resident likes to enjoy a stroll up Box Hill followed by a visit to Denbies and a Sunday roast in Mickleham
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2011
When I was a little lad, one of my favourite weekend activities was to camp with a friend in a wood belonging to friends of my parents near Churt. They had a big house on what was Lloyd George’s old estate, complete with a minstrel’s gallery (where they kept their riding tack) and a big black iron chandelier, which looked as if it had been pinched from a production of Richard III.
There was a hut in the wood in which we could boil a kettle and we used to dig holes in the ground some way off to use as a you-know-what.
Dire consequences were threatened if we didn’t cover them properly afterwards! We pitched our tiny tent and giggled the hours away through the night, though deer snuffling round in the pitch darkness would give us a fright.
Now, if I’m not flying off to do a gig abroad or on a cruise ship, the weekend usually means work. Friday audiences at the Comedy Store tend to be somewhat rowdier than a typical excited Saturday crowd; people come to the clubs straight from work and take advantage of the ‘happy hours’ before the show! I usually return home to my house in Wimbledon at around 1am and then it’s straight to bed.
Lunch in Claygate
Saturday is my favourite day of the week and starts with a (not too early) morning cup of tea followed by a read of the newspaper on my new best friend, the iPad. A session with my personal trainer follows at about noon at the David Lloyd. Then it’s home for a healthy lunch or maybe a genuine French one at the Hare and Hounds in Claygate.
Saturday afternoon is usually spent going over the material that did or didn’t work the previous night and pacing the garden rehearsing a newly edited script with silly voices to boot (the neighbours have given up wondering who my ‘friends’ are).
If I’m not working on a Sunday night, the afternoon will be spent reading the paper, listening to Elaine Page on Radio 2 (after having worked with so many fantastic performers in panto for the last 17 years, I am something of a closet West End Wendy!), and then a walk with my girlfriend and some chums up Box Hill.
Surrey Hills sparkle
Of course, once there, it’s difficult to avoid being tempted by Denbies Vineyard below. The excuse is, it’s a great place for a cup of tea and (for a fitness fanatic) a cheeky fruit cake, but then it’s impossible to leave without a bottle or two of my favourite rosé and, if I’m feeling celebratory (or need an excuse, like proposing an anniversary toast to my sister who had her wedding reception there), some of their sparkling stuff. So what’s left?
Ah yes, a Sunday roast at the Running Horses in Mickleham, bang next door to my old boarding school (where we used to have a crafty smoke behind the bushes), all in my favourite county.