Take a socially-distant stroll down one of many paths which wind by means of Edinburgh today and also you would possibly catch sight of Barbara Dickson whizzing by at a blistering pace.

Chances are you’ll even catch a glimpse of her cackling whereas she does it.

Biking is among the hobbies the singer, songwriter and TV presenter has taken up throughout lockdown, and nobody’s extra stunned about it than the 72-year-old.

“I’d initially taken up operating throughout all this,” she stated. “The dangerous information is, I’ve needed to cease as a result of I appear to have pulled the muscle mass in my proper knee, and I’ve been in ache and needed to cease.

“So, whereas I’m sorting that out with my digital physio, I’ve been biking. That has been a elementary change for me. I’ve been taking one of many metropolis bikes and taking place the routes just like the Depraved Witch of the West at about 90 miles an hour!”

Like considered one of her metropolis cycles, freewheeling Barbara’s profession has adopted a barely meandering path.

Born in Dunfermline, she was initially a profitable people singer, then a musical actor – starring within the likes of Blood Brothers – and adopted that with a vastly profitable flip as a pop star, with hits comparable to I Know Him So Nicely and January February.

And never content material with taking over operating and biking in her 70s Barbara additionally turned a actuality star over the previous few weeks by showing within the BBC’s The Actual Marigold Lodge.

Does this imply she’s going to be eating on beasties through Bushtucker Trials quickly?

Don’t rely on it.

© Twofour
The Actual Marigold Lodge forged

“Marigold wasn’t a tough determination,” she stated, “It’s a highly-regarded tv collection. It’s not controversial. You don’t must eat grubs, and also you don’t get voted off. And it’s not aggressive in any manner.

“I don’t watch any of these tv programmes, as a result of I’m not considering celebrities and what we do.

“What me about Actual Marigold was, it was a gaggle of individuals, all of whom in various levels I knew of.

“The stunning factor about it was that I’ve by no means been to India. So it was actually nice to be taken there with a gaggle, sorted and proven all kinds of points about Indian life.

“I met numerous beautiful Indian folks. And, additionally, it did me no hurt. I imply, I didn’t look ridiculous. I didn’t appear absurd, in any manner – which is essential to me.”

On her journey to the subcontinent Barbara made buddies with Coronation Road star Susie Blake, and fellow Scot, and Dragons’ Den star, Duncan Bannatyne.

“I simply felt actually at house with Susie from the get-go,” she stated. “And I favored all people. There was no one there I assumed was a ache. Duncan’s a working-class Scot like me, he’s nonetheless a boy from Clydebank. He’s nonetheless that individual he was when he was in Scotland and so am I. It was beautiful to do it they usually had been nice.

“So far as Marigold is anxious, it was a beautiful expertise.”

Actuality TV reveals today appear to be riven with fallings out between stars. Barbara stated there wasn’t any hazard of that – primarily because of the age of the members.

“I feel that you could get people who find themselves of their 20s or 30s in order for you preventing and shouting at one another,” she laughed.

“Whenever you get to our age, though we are usually most likely a bit extra set in our methods, we don’t actually wish to be that confrontational.

“I’m not aggressive but when I do something I would like it to be good. I don’t significantly wish to come first. I’m not bothered so long as I don’t do badly.”

This modest strategy applies to a different of Barbara’s newest actions.

Her brother, a tremendous artist, lives in Canada however the pair stay shut. Though they battle with expertise – like the remainder of us – the pair video name recurrently.

He’s providing Barbara recommendation on the nonetheless lifes which she has taken to portray just lately.

“I’ve additionally carried out a few drawn self portraits by taking a look at myself within the mirror and drawing, which is sweet self-discipline.

“However, however my brother, who can be an exquisite sculptor, says that yeah, do this – however attempt to let your thoughts go into impartial as effectively.

“It’s so I paint one thing actually unique, it’s not like taking a look at {a photograph}.

“I gained’t allow you to see them, no! I’m not a adequate artist. I’m doing it for myself and it’s very therapeutic and useful.

“These are the issues that feed your soul.

“In case you haven’t acquired something like that, in the event you’re unable to faucet into one thing like that, it’s far more tough to take care of the nuts and bolts of life.”

© ITV/Shutterstock
Barbara on stage in 1977

Earlier than the nation locked down, Barbara was touring – and he or she is already planning her subsequent one, which begins in March subsequent yr.

The Scottish leg involves the Royal Live performance Corridor in Glasgow after which the Usher Corridor in Edinburgh, earlier than swinging by Carnegie Corridor in her house city of Dunfermline.

These reveals give her extra freedom than when she was on High Of The Pops.

“Excursions are completely different each time – I’m not speaking about pyrotechnics or costume modifications, that’s not what I do,” she defined. “I’ve a band, there’s 5 of us on stage. I play guitar and keyboards, as effectively.

“Once I was a pop star they used to say, please don’t deliver your guitar as a result of we will’t see you correctly. So all that garbage is gone and I can now play and sing no matter I would like.”

Barbara has been married to Oliver, a TV director, for the previous 35 years. They’ve three grown-up sons however, up to now, no grandchildren.

“None of my sons have but actually correctly paired off,” she stated. “I reside in hope and I’d like for somebody to get going pretty quickly however, you already know, it’s a type of issues you’ll be able to’t make occur.

“And I’d relatively it was proper. As a result of the one factor I might, I might actually really feel unhappy about is that if they connected with any individual they usually had a baby, after which they break up up. I’d a lot relatively they acquired it proper.

“I preserve teasing them and saying I’ll be too previous to take the grandchildren to feed the geese or to go right down to the Botanics with them.

“However, you already know, you get what you’re given.

Dwelling in Edinburgh metropolis centre fits Barbara, and the lockdown, she says, hasn’t made her crave a extra rural way of life.

“There’s no visitors round Edinburgh metropolis centre,” she added.

“It’s this superb factor the place you’ll be able to hear the birds chirping – you’ll be able to virtually hear the grass rising. I like nature anyway, which is de facto dangerous contemplating I reside within the metropolis centre.

“It’s nice to have that connection and, in Scotland, we’re very fortunate as a result of our metropolis centres are inexperienced locations, aren’t they?

“Would I transfer to the countryside? No, not at my age.

“I feel that what you do is you progress to rural areas if you’re youthful.

“And the older you get, the nearer the hospital you get…”

For somebody biking at these speeds, maybe it’s not the worst thought…


The Actual Marigold Lodge is on the market to observe on BBC iPlayer.


Lengthy and winding highway

© Alan Davidson/Shutterstock
Barbara and Elaine Paige topped the charts in 1985

Folks story

Barbara began performing in people golf equipment in her native Fife in 1964. Her early work included albums with Archie Fisher. Her first solo album was Do Proper Girl in 1970.

Stage proper

Barbara starred within the award-winning musical Beatles musical John, Paul, George, Ringo … And Bert, and Andrew Lloyd Webber requested her to report One other Suitcase In One other Corridor in 1977. She went on to star within the musical Blood Brothers in 1982.

Pop stardom

Tim Rice approached Dickson to participate within the recording of the idea album for the musical Chess within the function of Svetlana in 1984. Dickson’s songs on the album included I Know Him So Nicely, a duet sung with Elaine Paige. The tune was a worldwide hit.

On the field

Within the 1990s Barbara modified tack once more. She appeared in varied tv dramas together with Taggart, The Lacking Postman and the acclaimed crime drama, Band Of Gold.

Tour de Pressure

Barbara is at the moment engaged on a brand new studio album, which is out later this yr. She’s additionally gearing up for her subsequent tour, attributable to start in March subsequent yr – tickets can be found now.



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