OPPORTUNITY knocks for entertainer Bobby Crush to play Gerry in Summer Holiday for the first eight weeks of a tour whose next bus stop is the Grand Opera House, York, from Tuesday.

Crush, who was a six-time winner with his piano skills on Hughie Green's talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1972, has latterly been appearing in ITV's Last Laugh In Vegas, wherein he and seven other vintage British acts headed out to the United States on an adventure to star in a Las Vegas show.

"The reason I'm doing only part of the tour is that they're trying to put together a tour for all of us who were in Last Laugh In Vegas: Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon, Su Pollard, Anita Harris, Bernie Clifton, Jess Conrad, Kenny Lynch, Mick Miller and me," says Bobby, whose all-round skills take in piano playing, acting, presenting, songwriting, broadcasting and now Las Vegas.

"Yes, I did get my Vegas show! There was speculation that we wouldn't continue after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, in the middle of making the series, when we were given the option to come home, but give eight old pros the option to come home and we were never going to do that."

Crush's Vegas show went well. "I got a standing ovation, doing my own act and a Liberace tribute, which they appreciated me doing in a sincere manner, with backing from the Liberace Foundation, who lent me the full-length Liberace fur with the 4ft train: the one that Michael Douglas wore in the Liberace film [Behind The Candelabra]. It was just outrageous and I had this fantastic wig made too," he says.

"So I got to make my Vegas debut at 64! I never dreamt I'd play a Vegas stage, where the week before Engelbert Humperdinck and The Temptations had played!"

From being the youngest participant in Last Laugh In Vegas, Crush says he is now the "father figure" amid a cast with the average age of 25/26 in Summer Holiday, a stage musical based on the 1963 film of the same name that starred Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Una Stubbs and a certain red double-decker bus.

Summer Holiday, you will recall, tells the story of Don and his fellow London Transport mechanics as they journey together in a bus through Paris, the Alps, Italy and Greece. Along the way they pick up a girl singing group and a young American pop star on the run from her domineering mother.

Crush's role as Gerry requires him to take on various guises. "Gerry's job is to try to get the American pop singer back to work when Don and the boys have helped her 'escape', cadging a lift on the bus," he says. "I have to dress up as a street entertainer with a Fez and as a goat herder, which is probably my most unexpected costume, tramping on in this outrageous Afghan fur."

It turns out Crush is no stranger to dressing up on stage. "Every year I play dame in panto; I've been doing that every year since 2000," he says. "You get to a certain age where you can't play the prince any more and you then either play the 'dad' role, which is always a little underwritten, or the dame role, where you get the biggest cheer of the walk-down. Doing 11 costume changes really keeps you fit, even with a dresser in the wings."

Crush will sing only one number in Summer Holiday, La La La Song, and, yes, he will have his moment on the piano. "I play standing up for the first time," he says.

That adds to the joy of a show that Crush is so enjoying. "There's a big nostalgia for a show set in 1963, 55 years ago, in a much more innocent age, and it's truly a family show; the choreography is fantastic; we have a double-decker bus on stage; we have not only the songs from Summer Holiday but more Cliff hits too; it's very entertaining and everyone leaves on a high," he says.

"These are troubled times we live in and if you can make people forget about that for two and a half hours, that's great."

Summer Holiday runs at Grand Opera House, York, from Tuesday (May 29) to Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york 

Did you know?

Bobby Crush composed Orville's Song (I Wish I Could Fly), a number four hit for Keith Harris and Orville in 1982.