IT was the mid-1950s at Moseley School and little did teachers know that they were bringing together two icons and forming a friendship that would last a lifetime.

Jasper Carrott – then known as Bob Davis or Robert to his mum – met The Move and ELO’s Bev Bevan on the first day of high school in Birmingham when they were both 11.

Since then the pals have done everything together from classes and shop work to holidays and showbiz and fast-forward more than six decades and the pair are still thick as thieves.

Jasper said: “This is our 63rd year together. We met on the first day of grammar school. We were sat at the same double desk and we’ve been best friends since.

“I was his best man, he was mine and up until two years ago we lived 10 minutes apart. He lives north of the Midlands at the moment.”


Jasper, known for The Detectives, Commercial Breakdown and Golden Balls, admits that Bev was much cooler than him though and rock was in his blood even then.

He added: “Bev used to get through two pots of Brylcreem a day and at school he was the original rock and roll king.

“He had drainpipe trousers and he sewed his tie together so that it was very thin. I think they banned him from school one day because he wasn’t dressed appropriately.

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“I had a brother who was eight years older than me and he frowned upon all that and so I was caught between two stools.

“He was very keen on music all the time that he was at school and when he was 16 he formed his first band.

“I was sort of on the periphery of music for many years until I started folk music in 1969. This is my 50th year in the business.”


The pair could not even be separated when they got their first job – they both worked as trainees at a department store called The Beehive.

Jasper said: “It was Birmingham’s oldest department store and I swear it must have been the inspiration for Are You Being Served?

“Because we had all the characters there from the camp guy in the men’s department and the old geezers running the shop and the women were the spitting image of the women in The Beehive.

“I was there for about three years and Bev was there for about two and started his professional career then with a group called Denny Laine and The Diplomats.”


Jasper, 74, is sharing his old tales because he will once again be teaming up with Bev for Stand Up and Rock at Parr Hall next Friday, March 22. Bev’s band for the show features Geoff Turton from The Rockin’ Berries, Phil Tree, formerly of Wizzard, celebrated session musicians Tony Kelsey and Abby Brant, and singer Suzi Woo.

He added: “It’s quite a different show. I don’t know anyone else who’s doing it. It’s called Stand Up and Rock and it does what it says on the tin.

“I do the stand-up. I get about two half hours and then there’s two half hours-plus of music.

“It’s a very nice balance and it’s been very successful which is why we’re on the road again. This is our fifth year now. Essentially, it’s a bit of a party.”

Jasper’s connection to music runs much deeper than his friendship with Bev.

A stalwart of the British folk club scene, Jasper’s comedy single Funky Moped shot to the top of the British pop charts in 1975, establishing him as a household name overnight.

On the flipside was his take on the legendary Magic Roundabout, a record still sought out today by vinyl collectors.

“Magic Roundabout is still the only hit single that has no musical content which I think is very apt,” joked Jasper.

Bev provided backing vocals for Funky Moped and here’s a good one for trivia fans – it was produced by ELO’s Jeff Lynne.

Jasper said: “It’s not on his CV. I’ve had him up about that. Again Jeff is a very close friend. He lives in LA but I go over there a lot as two of my kids live there.”


Another of Jasper’s showbiz music friends is Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi.

He added: “Black Sabbath started in Birmingham and Bev was with The Move and ELO and so it was all intertwined.”

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Jasper, Bev and Tony were even in a short lived band together called Belch.

He added: “We’d just had a few drinks one night and we just thought: ‘Why don’t we do a band?’ “So I came up with this name Belch by taking a few of the letters from Black Sabbath, ELO and Carrott.

“We had a couple of friends that joined us and we did a few gigs. It was very enjoyable but it got out of hand in a way because we started to get these offers to do proper gigs.

“And of course Bev and I were busy with our careers and Tony was spending most of his life in America so it never really went beyond a few private things.

“My claim to fame is that I joined Tony Iommi on stage and he was playing Paranoid and I was backing him with an acoustic guitar. That was a bit bizarre.

“The last time we played was six years ago when they gave Bev a star on Birmingham’s Walk of Stars.

“We did a show in a big nightclub and Tony came along and played a couple of Black Sabbath songs. We’re still close and Tony lived next door but one to me for five or six years.”

But when asked if he could imagine himself as a full time musician in another life, Jasper quickly ruled it out.

He added: “Whenever musicians get an instrument in their hand their DNA changes. They become from another planet and nothing is ever right.

“There is always too much of something or not enough of another. They are permanent malcontents until they put the instrument down – and then they become normal.

“I was never that great on the guitar and my voice was never that great and that’s why the comedy saw me through. I would never have been a successful musician.”


So after 60 years of friendship, has it got to the point where Jasper and Bev finish each other’s sentences?

Jasper said: “Not quite but our friendship has been a great support.

“I know that I can turn around and someone will be there for me no matter what.

“If it was taken away from us, I’m sure we would be very lost.

“He lives a little further away now but every Thursday night we get together and have a few drinks with the lads.

“We keep that going and of course when we’re on the road we’re seeing each other all the time.”


Jasper's daughter also works in showbiz.

Lucy Davis is best known for playing Dawn in Ricky Gervais’s The Office and she was also in Shaun of the Dead starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

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More recently she has enjoyed the Hollywood treatment, playing Etta in comic book movie, Wonder Woman.

Jasper said: “Funnily enough she’s flown in from LA today. My wife has gone to have lunch with her. She’s doing a couple of Comic Cons in London.

“She got tremendous reviews from Wonder Woman and she’s gone on to the new version of Sabrina on Netflix.

“She’s been very successful in that. It’s wonderful. She’s riding a real crest of a wave at the moment.”

Dad-of-four Jasper gave Lucy her first screen role when he was in the 90s comedy The Detectives with Robert Powell.

He added: “She happened to be visiting the set. She was down in London at drama school and she wanted to see how it all worked.

“There was this one scene and they just wanted somebody to make a comment at me and Robert.

“She just happened to be there so they said: ‘Do you want to do it?’It was very brief but it was her first time on television.”

That gave Lucy a taste of TV work but the daughter and father agreed that she had to make it on her own after that.

Jasper said: “We had a pact right from the beginning that I would never help her by pulling strings – she had to make it on her own.

“That was the pact and we pretty much stuck to it.

“We did do a comedy sketch together a few years together on The One Jasper Carrott on the BBC but that’s the only time we’ve worked together.

“It’s all her own work and I’m very proud of her for that.”

Jasper Carrott presents Stand Up and Rock at Parr Hall on Friday, March 22. Visit