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Ostrich-riding funnyman Bernie Clifton fails to fly in The Voice audition


Crackerjack star Bernie Clifton with Ricky Wilson after his audition for BBC1's The Voice (Guy Levy/Wall To Wall/BBC/PA)

Crackerjack star Bernie Clifton with Ricky Wilson after his audition for BBC1's The Voice (Guy Levy/Wall To Wall/BBC/PA)

Crackerjack star Bernie Clifton with Ricky Wilson after his audition for BBC1's The Voice (Guy Levy/Wall To Wall/BBC/PA)

Ex-Crackerjack star Bernie Clifton received a standing ovation despite failing his audition on BBC One's The Voice UK.

The 79-year-old comedian sang The Impossible Dream for coaches will.i.am, Boy George of Culture Club fame and Brit award winners Ricky Wilson and Paloma Faith.

However, he did not impress enough to persuade the quartet to hit their buzzers and spin their red chairs around.

At the end of Clifton's audition, two of the panellists still did not recognise him.

The veteran entertainer became a famous face in the 1970s and 1980s for a variety act which featured him astride a comedy bird named Oswald.

He was also a regular on BBC children's series Crackerjack.

The Voice's US artist will.i.am did not grow up in the UK, but Faith's attempt to enlighten Boy George did not work. He still did not remember Clifton.

When asked about his career today, the entertainer sparked much laughter when he said: "There's not much work about for elderly ostrich jockeys!"

His good humour in the face of rejection won him applause from the coaches and the audience.

Before he left the stage, Clifton delivered a heartfelt message.

"If I can just say, anybody that's out there, whether you're 19, 89, 99 - if you've got something that you think you ought to work on, you should go out and have a go because if I can do it, anybody can."

The crowd broke out into deafening cheers and chanted his name.

The Voice's quartet of coaches are hunting for a new pop sensation for the very last time on the BBC: the show will be broadcast by rival ITV after this series.

Although yet to produce a winner who has sustained a successful chart career, The Voice is popular with viewers.

Clifton is no exception.

When asked why he had selected it over The X Factor or Britain's Got Talent, he said it came down to "respect".

"I felt The Voice was a programme that gave the participants a lot of respect. It's a proper pop vehicle for proper voices," he told the Press Association.

Earlier, the show opened with all four coaches singing a mix of Florence + The Machine's You Got The Love and Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love.

In the first of seven blind audition shows, seven contestants made the coaches spin their chairs.

Wilson's team is so far made up of Irish teenager Aine Carroll who performed Karmin ballad, Brokenhearted.

The youngster was joined by Brooklynne Richards from Birmingham who sang Solomon Burke's Cry To Me.

Faith's team includes Beth Morris from Maidenhead.

The 26-year-old gave an eye-catching audition in a leopard-print catsuit with Nutbush City Limits by Tina Turner.

She was joined by Dwaine Hayden, 30, who sang Don't Know Why by Norah Jones.

Voice favourite will.i.am, the only remaining original coach, was selected by Tom Rickels.

The 23-year-old fishmonger, who bears an uncanny resemblance to One Direction's Harry Styles, sang a mix of Ellie Goulding's Love Me Like You Do and Jason Derulo's Want To Want Me.

He was joined by Londoner Lyrickal who gave a unique take on Jamiroquai's hit Virtual Insanity.

The first person on Boy George's team is teenager Cody Frost who sang Abba's Lay All Your Love On Me.

The Voice continues on BBC One next week.