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Liverpool pianist ‘Billy the Hat’ is one of the stars of tonight’s C4’s The Piano

1 month ago

Liverpool pianist ‘Billy the Hat’ is one of the stars of tonight’s C4’s The Piano
Eight year old Joanna with 87 year old Billy the Hat, Tickle the Ivories at Liverpool One.Picture Jason Roberts

A piano playing Liverpool grandad known as Billy the Hat will be one of the stars of Channel’s hit talent show The Piano when it’s screened this evening.

The 89-year-old has become a shoppers’ favourite at the annual Liverpool ONE Tickle the Ivories festival.

Billy, aka Gordon Fishwick, is a popular sight sitting at the free-to-play pianos every summer and is known for his flamboyant style including some eye-catching trilbies.

Now he’s about to get an even bigger fanbase and a national TV spotlight as he tries to impress the show’s judges, superstar pianist Lang Lang and pop star Mika, to win the final place in the concert.

The episode, which will be screened on Sunday evening on Channel 4, was filmed at Lime Street station back in February.

Crowds of commuters watched as host Claudia Winkleman invited amateur pianists to show off their skills on a piano placed on a podium on the station concourse.

The Piano
The Piano Series 2 Ep5 Pictured: Brad K

Each contestant was asked to step up and perform one piece while the judges faced the tough challenge of deciding who to put forward.

And, in true Scouse party style, they even joined in at one point with a station singalong!

The Liverpool episode will be the last qualifying heat of the series, with previous finalists already selected from Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.

Billy the Hat, who is the oldest pianist to take part in the show, can’t actually read music and plays by ear, but that doesn’t stop him performing a repertoire of tunes including jazz classics like Summertime and Ain’t Misbehaving.

He faces some stiff competition because, not surprisingly, Liverpool isn’t short of talented musicians.

Among those joining Billy and hoping to progress to the concert stage will be 18-year-old Logan Paul, who’s better known as The Beatles Boy, and Brad Kinsella, who has the crowd in tears watching an incredible emotional performance.

Whoever is chosen will go on to play the biggest gig of their lives at Manchester’s Aviva Studios which is being filmed for a TV special.

The winner of series 1 was visually impaired teenage pianist Lucy Illingworth from Halifax who stunned crowds and the two judges when she played a very complex Chopin piece at Leeds train station. She went on to appear in a Channel 4 documentary following her success.

  • The Piano season 2 Liverpool episode is on Sunday May 26 at 9pm on Channel 4.

Get the latest for Liverpool HERE.


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