Singer Sue to celebrate 30 busy years in showbiz

Local singer Sue Brooks, who appeared on 'Stars In Their Eyes' as Elkie Brooks.

Local singer Sue Brooks, who appeared on 'Stars In Their Eyes' as Elkie Brooks. - Credit: Archant

She is a singer who has entertained thousands of Norfolk people over the last 30 years and this is your invitation to join her anniversary party this Friday... and let the good times roll again.

Local singer Sue Brooks

Local singer Sue Brooks - Credit: Archant

Her name is Sue Brooks, and she is a wonderful example of a talented and warm-hearted performer we can all be proud of. She has graced stages across this country and abroad but now she is back home where she belongs... and still putting a smile on faces.

And she tells me that one of her favourite moments was many years ago when she was working at Bally shoe company in Norwich and heard her record being played on national radio which was broadcast throughout the works.

'I have never forgotten that. It was so lovely,' said Sue, now living near Lowestoft and performing mostly at dates across Norfolk and Suffolk.

'We don't travel so far nowadays,' said Sue, who says she would never have been able to keep on the road with the love and support of her husband, Keith Markwick. He is also handy at humping equipment out of vans and onto stages!

Sue worked at Bally from about 1975 for many years before being a professional singer.

In 1990 she was chosen from more than 5,000 other hopefuls to appear in the second series of Granada TV's Stars in Their Eyes. Her fantastic impression of the sultry Elkie Brooks is now famous and she returned to the Stars studio for the Christmas Special the following year watched by millions.

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She also recorded two songs written for her by former Mud keyboard player and Norwich planning officer Brian Smith for the Shoot The Canary CD which was part of Radio One's Sound City, Norwich.

'Keith has always been a great Norwich City supporter and when it was played at Carrow Road he was able to tell people around him: 'That's my wife singing that!',' laughed Sue.

Sue is one of three brothers and three sisters from the Tivetshall/Aslacton area of Norfolk and has been singing for as long as she can remember. Her dad Clifford Brooks was a popular singer and musician playing the piano and accordion in the Norfolk pubs – and those GIs loved him.

She went to Swardeston Primary and then Wymondham High School where she joined the choir, singing at events in Wymondham Abbey and St Andrew's. 'I was given great encouragement to sing at Wymondham and when I left school I just kept on singing.'

Sue, who went on to live at Mulbarton, started by singing with various bands in Norfolk and then entered one of those big talent contestants of the day at The Talk of the East, now The Talk, the great survivor of the Norwich entertainment scene in Oak Street.

'I remember the judges included two female singing icons, Eve Bridger and Tammy Jones,' said Sue – and they loved her.

So did Brian Russell of Norwich Artistes and he put Sue in touch a band looking for a singer. Trivial Pursuits was formed in around 1985 and they picked up quite a following before becoming The Sue Brooks Band.

She continued singing on her own, in a duo, and with the band but then signed with top London agent Wally Dent and headed out on her own performing at big venues across the country. When Wally died in 1999 she looked after her career herself. She and husband went out to Tenerife for four years where she continued singing – entertaining locals and holidaymakers.

'Now we've come home and it is lovely to be back and singing again in Norfolk and Suffolk,' said Sue, who is celebrating 30 years in showbiz on Friday night at one of her best-loved venues – The Seabreeze Club at Hemsby.

Joined by local favourites Lou & The Diamonds, the well-known Barry Wortley as drummer, plus the wonderful Stevie Pyevarotti, Sue and friends will make sure it will be a night to remember.

While Sue will be performing at Seabreeze on Friday, by coincidence none other than Elkie Brooks herself appearing at the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, this Thursday. I suspect that Lilac Wine will be flowing on both nights.