Little Britain star Matt Lucas has teamed up with staff and pupils at an east Belfast school to recreate his lockdown hit single, Thank You Baked Potato.
Proceeds from Lucas’ comedy charity single go to FeedNHS, an initiative set up to raise £1million to buy 6,000 meals per day into London hospitals for critical care staff as they deal with the coronavirus crisis.
Lucas performed the original version of the song on comedy quiz show Shooting Stars two decades ago, and he shared his updated version on Twitter in March.
The new version includes updated lyrics: “Wash your hands, stay indoors, thank you baked potato. Only go to grocery stores, thank you baked potato.”
To show their appreciation for the NHS and all key workers, musicians from Ashfield Boys’ High School have released a virtual performance of the track with a special guest solo by Lucas himself.
Lauren Hill, head of music at the school, was the brains behind the video. She said the idea came about after the school spring concert had to be cancelled because of the virus outbreak.
“Lockdown happened about a week before our spring concert was due to happen so obviously we were all very disappointed that that didn’t happen because there’s a lot of work and time that goes into that from myself and the pupils,” she told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster.
“So I decided that I wanted to do something to keep the music going. You know, at this stage, everyone turns to music to try and make themselves feel better and what better way to try and get my band together.
“I had planned maybe to do something from our spring concert programme and then I saw the Matt Lucas video which is obviously one of those songs that sticks in your head, so I decided to do an arrangement of that.”
Miss Hill then roped in Mike Whan, a past pupil of Ashfield and who works as a musician and producer, to help with the co-ordination.
“I thought he could do the arrangement and all the editing and tricky stuff and I could just sit back and relax,” she laughed.
The music teacher was "shocked" that it only took one email to get Lucas on board.
“I thought I may as well chance my arm and see if I could get in contact and in a day or two we got a reply from his booking agent who said he was happy to do it," she said.
"All we had to do then was send the video and the track to him and again, in a day or two, the video was back to us.
“You don’t ask, you don’t get."
A total of 32 staff, pupils and family members took part in the video.
“It is tricky at this time because maybe pupils don’t have their instruments with them in lockdown, there were a few instruments that were broken so even to get that small number of boys involved was great and they were really happy to do it," Miss Hill added.
Miss Hill said the project had been a welcome distraction during the worldwide pandemic saying many parents had thanked her for allowing their children to be involved and providing a lasting memory.
“This completely took our minds off everything. The pupils had something to do. They had to go and teach themselves music without any help from teachers, so that was great.
“Then I sent out the email to staff to see if they would want to get involved and many of them are homeschooling as well as trying to teach online and it’s very difficult so I was amazed at the response I got.”