Erik Ellison, the singer who shot to fame on the UK TV talent
show, Opportunity Knocks.
Erik, a grand character with a terrific
sense of humour, sadly passed away November 10 2008 aged 90. He had a really wonderful voice which could easily be mistaken for
Josef's, and thoroughly enjoyed life.
He leaves behind a widow, Carol, a son and grandchildren.
Erik and Carol were married for 55 years, and were once a famous double act.
She was 12 years his junior, and after the birth of their son, she stepped
out of the spotlight to concentrate on the family.
Erik continued on the stage, and this London-born entertainer from Norwegian stock hit the headlines in the late 50s.
He was performing in Manchester when he received a visit from the Police,
who believed he was actually Josef Locke. Safely across the water in
Ireland, Josef would have been a big catch to answer charges of tax
But by showing the boys in blue his driving licence and personal items, Erik
was able to clear himself.
The incident made the nationals, and knowing a good thing when he saw it,
his agent re-branded him Mr X, and as such he was invited to guest on Hughie
Green's Opportunity Knocks TV show.
Before his repertoire changed to make the most of this Josef mystery, Erik
had a fine career in musical performance, and his love of Grieg was
reflected in the music played at his funeral.
He died peacefully at home, surrounded by those he loved, after a wonderful
In September 2001 I went to see Eric when he was
performing in a terrific variety show at the Floral Hall, Southport. At 82 he put on a
wonderful performance with his rich and powerful voice, and delighted the audience. He
also told me an anecdote from a few years ago, when he was on the bill in a venue in
Bolton, Lancashire, with Bernard Manning. He only had half an electric organ for
accompaniment (the pedals wouldn't work), and an audience of young people.
After some concern about how to handle the boisterous crowd, this former
soldier finally won them over with 'Land of
Hope and Glory', and had them waving and cheering like last night of the Proms!
Information gleaned from a newspaper article
Hear My Song, as
well as introducing a whole new generation to Josef Locke, brings to life the bizarre Mr X
- a character who carved a lucrative career out of impersonating Locke in his absence.
Now, 30 years on, Mr X - former Christmas tree salesman Erik Ellison - still makes a
living recreating Locke's hits.
"Now no one will let me be,' he complained when interviewed in his home at the time
of the film's release. "I do bit parts in acting, but all they ever want me to do is
Even Mr X gets to be a hero at the end of the movie, which is gratifying for Erik.
His occasional agent Paul Brydson said: "It was Hughie Greene's idea when he
introduced him on Opportunity Knocks as Mr X, an is-he-or-isn't-he? Jo Locke gimmick.
"It's amazing how he's kept it up for so long, He played the South Pier at Blackpool
and women mobbed him at the stage door.
"They always refuse to believe he isn't Jo Locke, He denies it but they won't have
"God knows what he signs in their autograph books.
"Jo absolutely hates it."
When interviewed, Mr X he was in a rush to get to a cabaret date in Spain and had not seen
"I'm afraid I have to live with Jo Locke,' he said sadly.
"I even had visits from the Inland Revenue and the police at the theatre accusing me
of being him. I met him once.
"He came to see me at the Queen's Theatre in Blackpool.
"He said: "Carry on son. You'll make it one day.""
''And that was it."
"I went to Leeds for the first time to perform, and they said: "We've had you
here before," Would you believe another Mr X was impersonating me"