LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Sunday, 10 June 2018

When Rick Astley met Philip Astley (sort of)

I always wondered if 80s singer Rick Astley was a descendant of Philip Astley, the equestrian who founded the modern circus 250 years ago this year. It seems not, since Philip had only one son, who never had children of his own - which also explains why you don't come across many, if any, Astley's in the modern circus.

Rick did briefly run away with the circus, however, in this video for his 1991 single Never Knew Love.

My thanks to actor and ringmaster Chris Barltrop for bringing it my attention. The clip was filmed in the Circus Berlin big top in London's Acton Park with performers including Rani, a well-known elephant on the scene at the time.

Barltrop features in the video as ringmaster.

Chris Barltrop
as Philip Astley
Today, Barltrop is keeping the Astley name alive (Philip that is, not Rick!) with his one man show, The Audacious Mr Astley. Find out more, here.

And click here for 15 Facts about the Father of the Circus.

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