Why you won’t see superstar David Essex on Strictly - but you might spot him in Horsham

Singer-songwriter David Essex Photo: Bill Foote
Singer-songwriter David Essex Photo: Bill Foote

He had his first No 1 hit 46 years ago and since then seventies heart-throb David Essex has rarely been out of the limelight.

But one thing’s for sure - you won’t find him on any reality TV show. The singer - famed for such hits as Gonna Make You A Star - has turned down a string of requests to take part in everything from Strictly to jungle capers in ‘I’m A Celebrity.’

But one place you might come across the singer-songwriter-actor-author is on the streets of Horsham.

He has been in the town for the past two weeks rehearsing at Horsham’s QM Studios for what he says will be his final solo music tour which starts next week.

And the star has pledged to come back to the town. Horsham, he says, is “a lovely place.”

He has also agreed to be patron of QM studios, situated behind the Drill Hall in Denne Road.

He said he would recommend the Horsham music venue “to all my friends if they want to rehearse somewhere outside of London.”

He confessed he had not had much time to look around the town - he’s been staying with one of his sons in Guildford. He said a couple of his band members had been having an enjoyable stay at Horsham’s Premier Inn ... (who knew that venue was so rock and roll?)

Mandy Ansell, who co-manages QM Studios with Adam Gellibrand, later described her surprise when David Essex first contacted her about using the studio facilities for rehearsals, but she said: “He was really charming and down to earth, he’s even made the tea for us all.”

Thrice-married David, 69, whose photo once adorned the bedroom wall of almost every teenage girl in Britain, is now a grandfather and father of five.

His youngest son Sonny is just two and a half years old, but he says he doesn’t plan to have any more. “I have five. I think that’s good enough.”

His glittering career has included leading film, TV and stage roles. “I sing, I write, I act, I play music. The only thing I don’t do is dance.” No surprise then that he has turned down appearing on Strictly.

Among David’s best known hits are Gonna Make You A Star, Rock On, Stardust, Hold Me Close and Oh What A Circus to name but a few. He had leading roles in the stage musicals Godspell, Evita and Mutiny among others.

He also starred in the TV sitcom The River during the 80s and more recently played the role of Eddie Moon in EastEnders.

He recently published his first fiction book ‘Faded Glory’ and has also published a collection of poems and his autobiography.

David spent six years as an ambassador for Voluntary Service Overseas, which earned him an OBE in 1999.

David’s ‘I’ll Be Missing You Tour’ starts in Manchester on November 2 and goes nationwide before ending in Wolverhampton on November 27 where his final concert will be filmed.