Three Men in a Bow Tie has never really lived up to its name because we have rarely been three men in a bow tie.
The trio started out in 1993 doing annual Christmas concerts at Shrewsbury School. The original line up was BBC radio producer and broadcaster Chris Eldon Lee, diary farmer Martin “Monologue” Jones, Shrewsbury School’s Director of Music John Moore and satirist and songwriter Fred Phipps.
With the aid of a Lottery Grant the foursome started touring Shropshire village halls in the autumn of 1996. In February 1999 the group featured largely in a BBC 2 TV special about the state of farming. In fact we were the only funny thing in the whole programme.
In September 1999 Fred retired from regular performing but was soon replaced by the infamous agricultural stand-up starlet Freda Brace-cock, who has warmed many a farmhand’s heart on a cold and stormy night. This was the line-up that did a two-week run at the 2003 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We won a Four Star review, managed to break even and were booked for tour of leafy Cheshire.
In 2004 (in order to comply with European Equal Opportunities Legislation) the very blond BBC bombshell Nonny James joined the group and became very popular, especially in Lancashire where they don’t see many real blondes. But after five arduous years of touring with Martin and Chris, she opted for the subs bench.
So, enter Sally Tonge, a multi-instrumentalist and storyteller who joined the boys at the beginning of 2010. She soon licked them into shape, won the hearts of our audiences and became our regular ‘third man’ – especially in the cricket season.
We are now touring regularly and have played venues from Sussex to Scotland. Bearing in mind our background, we seem to go down especially well with rural audiences.
In fact, we've just done our 500th gig. So why not book us now whilst we can still walk….