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Joe Longthorne


Joe was born on 31st May 1955, and was baptised at St Wilfrid’s catholic church on The Boulevard, Hessle Road, Hull. Although the Longthornes were a travelling family (“Gypsies”, Joe says), he spent the first part of his life in the family home in Wilford Terrace.

He attended the Villa Place Primary School, in Walker Street, off Hessle Road. Joe has said that he went to fourteen primary schools, but adds “I kept getting banned for fighting”. He was not really the academic type and didn’t do very well at school, but part of this might have been due to the fact that, as he later found out, he is dyslexic. He’s also deaf in one ear, but that doesn’t appear to have held him back in his chosen career. He later attended the Sydney Smith High School, in First Lane, Anlaby.

Joe began performing in talent shows at the age of four, and by his early teens was beginning to make a name for himself on TV programmes such as Yorkshire Television’sJunior Showtime, which was produced by Jess Yates, a man whose memory Joe still holds in great regard. Jess gave encouragement to all the youngsters who took part in the show, and helped to build up their confidence in their own abilities.

In 1981, Joe appeared in the London Weekend TV series Search for a Star , and this lead to national recognition. Joe’s own TV series was soon to follow. In fact Joe has shared the same stage with many of the world’s greatest artists, appearing in Royal Variety Performances and also with Bob Hope at the London Palladium.

Joe’s repertoire of voices contains more than a hundred of the world’s finest singers, and Shirley Bassey, one of the subjects Joe is most famous for impersonating, says: “Joe can do me better than I can do myself”.

Joe has an army of dedicated fans who follow him wherever he appears, and he is on first-name terms with many of them. This relationship, and Joe’s dedication to his fans, ensures that records and videos are eagerly awaited and are always well received. He has several Platinum Disc winning albums to his name.

Joe has had his fair share of ups and downs. In 1989 he was diagnosed as having lymphoma and began a course of treatment at The Brotherton Ward of Leeds General Infirmary. Subsequent to his treatment there, Joe helped the hospital to raise funds through his involvement with The Friends of The Leeds General Infirmary.
Perhaps it is because of his range of experiences that Joe realises what is important in life. He treasures his health and his family; and gains great satisfaction from his charity work. He abhors blood sport, greed, and capital punishment. He enjoys Formula One Motor Racing, and of course listening to music (“Anything from Handel to Heavy Metal”). He relaxes, when he gets the chance, by spending time on the North Yorkshire coastline, around Whitby and the surrounding area.

As he has become older and experienced more of life, Joe’s education, which started in a very unpromising way, has become more eclectic, more fulfilling. He is fascinated by History and Art, and takes interest in Politics and Parliament. But this hasn’t changed the man himself. You only have to watch him with his audience, or on a chat show. Joe Longthorne is just a nice guy!

Joe will always consider himself to be aHessle Roader. The history that really matters to him is the history of his family; the history of his career and his loyal fans. He will never forget where he came from. And we can all look at where he is now and what he’s achieved, and bathe in the reflected glory, because one of us has made it!