A candid documentary in which Welsh entertainer Owen Money reflects openly about his life, love and career in the months leading up to his 70th birthday.
Browse content similar to Being Owen Money. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Good morning, everybody. Owen Money here on BBC Radio Wales,
with you for the next two hours. Music you haven't heard for ages.
I'm enjoying my life so much, even getting old now,
I don't feel as if I'm old.
I just feel about 40.
Time waits for no man, as we all know, but as long as I live,
I will want to perform.
I'd like to be like Tommy Cooper.
Go where he went, on the stage, making people laugh.
When he died, they were still laughing
because they thought it was part of his act.
I bet... If he... If there is a hereafter, he's up there thinking,
what a way to go.
AS TOMMY COOPER: Just like that.
MUSIC: Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys
Owen Money, one of Wales' best-loved entertainers.
He's a household name who's been in the business for over 50 years.
Oh! Good evening.
He's been around for so long now that he is a part of the furniture.
You know, he's a very comfy old puff.
Now, as he approaches his 70th birthday,
Owen's inviting us in to follow him,
as his hectic schedule takes him from the working men's clubs of Wales...
It's a big club and it's difficult these days to fill big clubs.
..to a dream job on the streets of France.
And with just three months to put together his latest panto,
will the pressure get too much for Owen
in one of the busiest years of his life?
We need to stop.
It looks so crap.
It's a chance to see a side of Owen that's not often on show.
In a life that hasn't always been full of laughs.
From career knockbacks...
I was going to be axed.
I was astounded.
..to financial worries...
Can you imagine the headlines?
Owen Money really is owing money.
..to personal heartache.
I think he had the affair because he is...
How do you say big-headed bastard in a different way?
It's a story of highs and lows,
success and setbacks,
of a man who's never given up.
Right, now, we've got to hope and pray now that Teddy Bear comes on next.
All the way from Merthyr Tydfil, Rhys Berry and Teddy Bear.
HE DOES ELVIS IMPRESSION
Owen is best known today for his radio work,
taking over the airwaves every Saturday morning on Radio Wales.
# Oh, let me be your teddy bear... #
Today, he's broadcasting from Porthcawl's Elvis Festival,
one of the world's most unique rock'n'roll celebrations.
And it's a chance to bring out Owen's inner king.
'Radio is just so personal.'
Every time I go on air, I feel as if I'm talking to my best friend.
If you talk to the mic as your best friend,
it'll work every time for you.
When did he ask you to marry him and where were you?
In the bedroom.
'I used to script everything.
'I used to script all the links from one song to the other.
'And then I went to the Garden Festival
'and I had scripted all of this but there's people watching me.'
And I felt, well, I can't be reading it.
I'd rather be talking to them.
So I threw my scripts away and I've never used one ever since.
You look like fantastic.
Not you, love, her by here.
'It's magic because you never know what's going to come out of your mouth'
as well as theirs. As long as they don't swear, we're happy.
And what's the secret for you?
What do you like about Elvis?
It's the wife, she started...
Why are you going like this? Why are you leaning back?
It's the wife, she started me on Elvis.
Oh, yeah. That's...
We were married 50 years last month.
50 years last month. They've been married 50 years, everybody.
And the only thing they've got in common now
is they got married on the same day.
About ten years ago, I was offered a radio show at Radio Wales
and I remember that the benchmark was Owen.
That was the sort of big hitter, you know, the biggest listener figures.
That was Owen. That was on Saturday morning,
you're going to be following Owen Money and I was thinking, "Oh God,
"how am I going to do that?" Because he's such an established figure.
His audience loves him.
And I know to this day that half the audience switch off before I come on.
It goes off a cliff when Owen Money finishes and I come on.
And I kind of think, that's fair enough, that's fair enough,
he's a legend of Welsh broadcasting.
You know, he is kind of Radio Wales.
I haven't got time for any more.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I hope you've enjoyed yourselves.
Thanks for being here and thank you so, so much
and we'll see you all again next year.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Great, I enjoyed every second of it.
Brilliant. Really good.
It's great because they come every year and it's like...
Like a family, then, you know what I mean?
I love them.
Great. And they're all dressed up.
They all live the dream.
And so do I.
Long may it continue.
# Oh, the good life
# Full of fun seems to be the ideal... #
50 years in the business has made Owen one of Wales' best-known
entertainers. And not just for his radio work.
From singing to stand up, TV presenting and acting,
Owen is a man of many talents.
-Ooh. New clubs.
Mega, they are. Mega.
Dad's a very big golfer.
Oh, guilty as charged, your honour.
And I'd like another six sports to be taken into consideration.
'I think, if you're looking at, "Is there a secret to his success, to his longevity?"'
he's an entertainer as much as he's a comedian.
You know, he's the complete thing.
He sings, he hosts, he can get out on a stage,
you could parachute him in anywhere, and he could make people laugh.
But it's not just fellow Welsh comedians that hold Owen in high esteem.
He's even caught the eye of Her Majesty herself,
receiving an MBE for his services to entertainment in 2007.
But today, Owen's biggest fans can be found back at home.
'My feet are on the ground, probably, because of my family.
'We've got the grandkids, they are with us most days.
'And I love them.'
Owen's daughter Katie and his son Matthew
are regular visitors to the family home in Porthcawl.
There's nothing better, this time of my life,
I never had a real great deal of time earlier on when she was growing up and Matthew was growing up,
-but now with these, it's fantastic.
I wake up every morning to that.
CLATTERING To that.
'He is a lovely grandpa.
'The children adore him.
'I think as he's got older, he's realised it is about family.'
It's not all work, work, work.
And he enjoys family time now.
He enjoys spending time with my mum, myself,
and the grandkids and Matthew.
It is like a nice little family unit.
Owen met his wife Kath in the early days of his career,
over 40 years ago.
We got married in 1974.
Didn't have a lot of money.
And we had a bottle of beer.
That's all we had. One bottle of beer and 20 quid in our pockets.
-We had a minced beef pie and a bottle of beer.
-Taking home for our wedding...
-Yeah, we did.
-Half a pie each.
And half a bottle of beer.
As we said to each other then, there's only one way now,
and that's up.
Do you want ham salad?
He was an only child and his mother...
..mothered him terrible.
But then he met my mum and my mum was a nurse.
And she'd just took over the role of his mum.
This is the first time for I don't know how long I haven't bought ham,
I bought this blinking stuff because I was rushing.
-And what is it?
Oh, it's the plastic ham...
I get all the top cuisine here.
Even now, he doesn't know how to use an iron.
He haven't got a clue.
What else doesn't he know how to do?
He doesn't know how to shut a cupboard.
And that really infuriates Mum.
She'll go round shutting cupboards behind him.
It's like she has three children.
And, well, more like five grandchildren.
He's on the mentality of the grandkids.
We have something here that...
..nobody else in the street has got.
What's that, love?
Instant hot water.
Oh, he's over the moon with that.
Only rich people have that. And us.
He may have put his family centre stage
but Owen hasn't given up work just yet.
And at 70, Owen is showing few signs of slowing down.
I really enjoy being very busy, you know.
People say to me, "How do you manage?"
People of my age, they say they could never do it.
But I love it.
And one of his biggest loves is panto.
Owen runs his own theatre company but he's not your average boss.
He's come to Llanelli to check in on his team,
as they get ready for this year's show, Beauty And The Beast.
It's the gates of the Beast's castle.
She's building it.
-How long do you think, babe?
How long before you do it?
I think about three or four weeks.
You've done really well.
This is my son, Matthew. Hiya, Math.
And this is Jason, who's my stage manager.
-All right, byt?
Yeah, he's looking good. Without these two again,
these are the backstage boys who are behind the scenes in the pantomime.
That's Jamie, who is my company manager.
He does all of my publicity for me.
Do you know what his favourite instrument was
when he was in school?
The dinner bell.
-How old is that!
-I know that, byt. I wrote it.
Hiya, Sam. How are you doing, babe?
Sammi Broad helps him bring it all together
and is Owen's right-hand woman.
Sammi and I have been together...
How long have you been with me now, Sam?
-Nine years, yeah.
He's taken all my youth.
I'm an old maid now.
She was thin when...
But not only does she do all the choreographing of all the dancing,
but she helps the costume making, she does all the backing vocals...
Kind of a gimmicky kind of theme song.
Gangnam Style. I had to learn the words of Gangnam Style.
-I know it all. Do you want to hear it?
-Do it. Go.
HE SINGS GANGNAM STYLE
See? Once you learn a song, you never forget it.
Got one here now. Can't Stop The Feeling coming up...
# I can't stop the feeling. #
Great. And the third harmony then, please.
I know it sounds cheesy and a lot of people say it
but we are an actual family.
There isn't the kind of formality of, oh, the boss is walking in.
And that's because of him. It's because he's not the boss.
He is just your friend.
He is just your fake dad.
He is just your uncle.
He is just the person who makes you laugh
or kind of will help you out if you are really in need,
kind of a thing. He's really generous.
Well, I can pick any note.
I can sing all the notes.
I know... Not necessarily in the right order.
But I can...
I think he is the reason why it works and why people want to work with us
because panto is supposed to be fun.
It's supposed to be light-hearted.
And the main reason we do that is because he isn't whipping and going
crazy backstage. It's because he is having fun with it as well.
With the panto set looking good,
Owen's next task will be to find the remaining cast members
to complete his team.
But for now, it's time to take a well-earned break.
Owen is on his way to Swansea Bay golf club for some much needed R&R.
This is what I love doing.
This is my genuine pastime.
I absolutely adore it.
I love the camaraderie...
Dobbin would... refused to be filmed.
My greatest friends, I suppose...
..in the world, are in this golf course.
It's an opportunity to spend some quality time with son Matthew,
who shares his passion for the sport.
Not bad. In the ditch?
No. You might be in the ditch, though.
I know. I've got a new driver, don't forget.
They enjoy a good relationship now, but it hasn't always been the case.
As a young man, Matthew tested Owen to the limit.
His lifestyle pushed the boundaries of their father-son relationship.
I was about 24,
bought a bit of drugs off my friend.
Left them in the house.
Went out, forgot about it, and my mother found them.
The discovery of his son's drugs
provoked a shocking response from Owen.
I said, "I need to see you a minute. I need you to come with me."
"Where am I going?" "Jump in the car."
Took him down to the police station.
I said, "We've got to go in there a minute." "What for?"
I said, "I've just found this in my son's room,
"can you arrest him?
"These are drugs." I've never taken a drug in my life.
Matthew was spared a prison sentence.
But Owen and his son lost touch for nearly two years.
At the end of the day, I can understand why, like.
You see that... He's taught me a lesson a bit.
At the time... Otherwise, I might have still been going down the wrong road, like.
So, in the end,
I think it was a good choice that they done it but I still felt a bit
disappointed and angry about it.
After settling down with partner Rachel,
Matthew is now back on track.
I am so proud of him
that he's turned his life around and done so much
with his life over the last two years, since he met Rachel.
Little boy and everything.
-And golf is something that we love doing together.
-Yeah, we enjoy playing together.
Yeah, we love it. Aye.
-Do you think you might win today?
No. It all depends on the last three holes.
-You never know, I could come second.
Well, you never know, you might come first. It's a bit windy.
Let's go and have a look, then.
After a quick round of golf,
Owen is back in his car for his next appointment.
He's also a lead singer his band, the Travelling Wrinklies.
Tonight, he's got a gig in his hometown of Merthyr.
And he's on his way to the venue to set up.
Before the rest of the band arrive,
he's keen to have a look around the place that played a big part in
launching his early career.
The Merthyr Labour Club.
Known back then by his birth name of Lynn Mittell,
the 16-year-old had only one ambition -
to become a successful singer.
The Merthyr Labour Club has been part of my life for most of my life.
From an early day when I was a kid, coming over here,
to cadge a shilling off my father
when he was in the bar having a drink
to go and get some sweets,
to coming here to perform for the first time at the age of 16.
And I learnt a lot of my trade through working here.
You know, I'm a Merthyr Labour Club boy. Through and through.
In the early '60s, the South Wales music scene was thriving.
And the young Lynn was desperate to be part of it.
'Will you please welcome the greatest band in the universe,
'the fabulous Bystanders.'
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
At 17 years of age,
I joined a band called the Bystanders and that changed my life.
Because they became a very good band.
Lynn became the front man of the group, changing his name to Jerry Braden.
The Bystanders became known for their close musical harmonies,
covering pop songs of the day.
# When she was just a kid
# Her clothes were hand... #
We had carefree attitudes,
we thought we were never going to grow old,
we were going to be young for ever.
The next Beatles song would come out, the next Rolling Stones song,
oh, we thought, this is fantastic.
Then we moved to London.
It was all happening in London.
And we had a recording contract.
They were so fantastic.
I always thought that singing was going to be my life.
But it... You know, it just... It all came crashing down then.
About a year later when they said,
"You aren't good enough," and I was booted out of the band.
And I was devastated.
It was the first disappointment
I ever had as an entertainer in my life.
And I did cry a bit.
I think that's the only time in my life when I never thought I would
recover from it.
But Owen would bounce back
and the rejection would later help make him a household name.
On its own, number eight.
With tonight's bingo session coming to an end,
it's almost time for the band to take to the stage.
And there's been a good turnout for Owen.
There's about, erm...
Oh, there's about 250 out there, I would think, something like that.
It's a big club.
And it's difficult these days to try and fill big clubs.
It's... I'm delighted there's so many in.
I really am because that means they've come to see me, which is great,
and the great thing about it is when people come to see you,
they give you a bit more of a chance.
Especially when they've paid a fiver to come here, that'll do it.
Well, here we go.
Here we go.
It's Owen Money and the Travelling Wrinklies.
Thank you. Lovely to be here.
One, two, three...
# If I needed someone to love
# You're the one that I... #
The Merthyr Labour is one of the last remaining working men's clubs
in Wales and a notoriously tough crowd.
'I get nervous playing here.
'I really do. I try not to show it but I do get nervous.
'There will be a lot of people here I know and when you're a local boy,
'they are always quick to condemn you and say,
'"He's a bloody load of rubbish, he is."
'Maybe I am in some people's eyes.
'But I just try and go out and do my best and if you
'can do your best, and make them dance and get them singing,
'all I want them to do is have a really good night and enjoy themselves.'
Owen's efforts have won over the crowd.
The band are a hit and the night is a success.
Hey, thank you!
The panto schedule is hotting up and today,
Owen and the team are on the lookout for some new cast members.
We've got about 12 or 14 actors coming today.
I like to work with actors who can think on their feet because I'm more of
a comedian and actor, so I'm off the book a lot.
I'm looking for somebody who can think on his feet, think quickly.
Good singers, obviously. Somebody who will have that little...
I hate to say it, but X factor, you know,
who will have that little magic about them.
..an order of washing powder
and hot soapy water, so that must be my favourite laundry boy.
You are definitely my favourite princess.
I think I might.
Do I need to say it?
It could be anything, really, couldn't it?
Lovely. That was great.
There must be a man for me somewhere.
Who will always be faithful and true.
Yes, I'd like to discover a tall, handsome lover.
I think I found him.
Hey! Willie? Willie?
Are you still cleaning upstairs?
Yeah, I'm dusting the landing.
Be careful of that top step, it's...
# I tell ya, Cellophane
# Mr Cellophane
# Shoulda been my name
# Mr Cellophane Cos you can walk right by me
# Walk right through me
# And never know I'm there. #
Good. That's all I need, byt.
I love Chicago.
Yeah, I do. Cheers, byt.
-All the best.
-Thank you very much indeed. Thanks, mate.
Can I pick him or what?
He's a done deal, dude.
I loved him. That was amazing.
That is our dame for Beauty And The Beast.
I just hope we can get him - financially, I hope.
Because this guy's done everything, you know what I mean?
So, that's it. We've got them all.
What a good day. Lovely day's work.
-Some talent there.
-And the sun is out.
And the thing is, this gives me the start of panto.
It is. It's like the beginning of it all.
You know, the long road from here now is...
-This is where all the cogs fall into place.
-..learning the lines next.
# For the miracle... #
OWEN SINGS ALONG WITH THE RADIO
But for now, memorising the script will have to wait.
Owen is on his way to one of his biggest gigs of the year,
at St David's Hall in Cardiff.
He is performing in one of his bands,
but he's bringing his own unique style to the show.
One, two. One, two.
Hello, hello, hello. This is not on, Phil.
I'm very happy with my lot, being a comedian, you know.
It's great to make people laugh, you now what I mean?
That's a wrap, everybody. I'll see you back here at 20 past eight.
It's a big night for Owen in one of Wales' most iconic venues.
-'I'm so sorry I can't be there. I would have loved to have been there.
'But, you know, with that injunction you took out...'
Before he takes to the stage,
he's catching up with a number of well-wishers,
including fellow comedian and old pal Rob Brydon.
Before I do go, Rob, do me a big favour.
My favourite thing you've ever done is the little man in a box.
You know, I'd love you to do that for me now.
-Little man in a box.
Right now? This moment?
Yeah, do it now.
-HE CLEARS HIS THROAT
-Hey there, how are you doing?
It's really nice to see you. I don't know where I am. Somebody get me out of here...
Oh, that's brilliant. I love it.
That's my best work.
That's my best work.
Yeah, I've got to go onstage in a minute.
-My pleasure. Lovely to see you, Owen. Have a great night.
-All the best. Bye-bye, mate.
I never ever tell a joke that I don't laugh at.
If I don't think it's funny, I'm sure my friends won't.
And I play to my friends and people out there.
There's an old fellow driving on the motorway.
He picks the phone up.
His wife says, "Charlie, where are you?"
"On the M4, I'll be home in ten minutes."
"Charlie, be very careful.
"It's just come on the radio, there's one motorist riding the wrong way down the motorway."
He said, "One? There's bloody hundreds of them!"
My father is 97...
He's got a hard drive of jokes in his head,
a hard drive of gags for every occasion.
So, in that sense, he's a very traditional joke-telling comedian.
On top of that, he's a great host.
On top of that, he sings.
I know he writes. So there's lots going on.
I know you, what's your name?
Elaine. Where are you from, Elaine?
Aberdare. I knew I knew you.
He's part of the people that he entertains,
so when he talks about the different areas of Wales,
you know he's been there.
You know he knows the place.
And he's been around for so long now that he is a part of the furniture.
You know, he's a very comfy old puff...
..that you can put your feet up on, and, you know, have a laugh with.
A lovely battered puff.
She's from Aberdare.
Famous for two things.
Beautiful women and great rugby players.
What position do you play, Elaine?
MUSIC: Five O'Clock World by The Vogues
How are you, byt? All right?
Good. Nice to see you.
How are you, byt?
Hiya, byt. All right?
Owen's connection with his audience
has been key to his success as a comedian,
and was honed on the streets of South Wales.
After being booted out of the Bystanders,
a young Lynn Mittell found himself
working on his father-in-law's market stall.
I started working as a fruit-and-veg salesman and you had to have a little
bit of humour about you, otherwise you could never get into people's front doors
to knock the door and sell the bag of potatoes or sell the cauliflower, sell the peaches.
You had to make them like you.
Last couple of plums going cheap.
Brings back some memories, byt.
Putting his likeability and sales skills to the test,
Owen tries his luck on the local fruit-and-veg stall.
-Banana, pound a bag.
-Pound a bag of bananas.
Come on, here you are, love. Come here, love. Excuse me.
-Two for £2.
-Go on, then.
-There we are. Put them in there, byt.
You never lose it, byt. There we are, byt.
All the best.
-Do you want some more strawberries now?
2.21. That's 3.31.
-2.35 and 1.50, 3.85.
221, you got down here.
-That's a kilo.
-That's the price.
-All right, then.
-There we go.
Thank you very much indeed. Slipping here.
Does that mean I'm sacked?
I'm glad you haven't been here since this morning, byt!
He might not think this but what he's doing by there
gave me the confidence to become an entertainer.
You have to learn about people.
You have to learn how they tick and...
..get on the right side of people. And it's the same with comedy.
With aspirations to still make it big in showbiz,
Lynn went on to form comedy band Tomfoolery.
As the band's front man, his act involved both singing and comedy.
They would become one of the UK's most successful show bands,
but the success wasn't to last,
and the band broke up a few years later.
Lynn was left wondering where to go next.
And a chance encounter with a fellow performer would inspire him to become
the Owen Money we know today.
And tonight, Owen is off to see his inspiration in action.
Fellow Welsh comedian Colin Price.
Have I had a week.
I've had my mother-in-law down. I greased the stairs and she slept on the couch.
I got up at half past four this morning, somebody stealing the front gate.
I didn't say anything in case he took offence.
Simple little gags but they are fantastic, the way he delivers them.
The way he delivers them is fantastic.
She said, I'll use his surname.
It was about 45 years ago when I saw him for the first time
and I just fell in love with him from that moment on, really.
I remember it as if it was yesterday.
I was sat there and I was just dumbstruck.
I'd never laughed so much in all my life at anybody.
And I was young, I was only in mid-20s.
My early 20s.
I feel humbled with that.
It was a night that really changed my life.
It may have meant nothing to you at the time, it probably didn't, but...
I was in that audience, thinking, "My God,
"this guy is absolutely brilliant."
And...this is what I want to do.
I was betwixt between being a singer, being a comedian,
doing a little bit of... I'd done a little bit of both and that was it for me. Forget the singing.
That's what I'm going to do.
To have someone to say that I was his inspiration
and to get where you are today is a bonus for me.
And thank you very much.
-Thank you very much indeed.
-You're welcome. Bye.
Having decided solo comedy was the way forward,
his new act would need a new name.
And Owen Money was born.
Owen Money. I was quite embarrassed about it, originally.
I thought, it's never going to last.
But it's been lucky for me.
The '80s was a fantastic time.
I started getting more work.
Lots of gigs.
And at the same time,
I got a nightclub in Port Talbot which did really well.
I did the thing for HTV,
which put me on the television for the first time.
And then Radio Wales came along in 1987.
I never really looked back.
Owen joined BBC Radio Wales and his weekly programme Money For Nothing
would go on to win over 120,000 loyal listeners.
Ten years later, and in a defining night in his career,
Owen would win two golds at the Sony Radio Awards in London.
And it was incredible because I won. We just couldn't believe it.
So we all climbed onto the stage and got our award
and it was just an incredible feeling.
We sang all the way home and we had a marvellous night and it was...
It changed my life.
And just months later,
Owen's good fortunes would continue
when he was given his very own weekly talent show on the BBC.
Oh, good evening!
Welcome once again to Just Up Your Street,
half an hour of topline television,
which is so big, it'll last 35 minutes.
There was a period... sort of sweet spot time
when he seemed to be everywhere.
And alongside all of that,
he was driving a million miles and doing the shows, here,
there and everywhere. So he was busy, busy, busy.
But Owen's world would soon come crashing down.
It was a real golden time for me.
I was leading the high life.
You know, I had plenty of money, fast cars.
Going to nightclubs.
The business that I'm in, there was always an opportunity to stray then.
I thought I was invincible...
..in that way.
A secret he'd been keeping from his family
was about to be revealed by an unlikely source close to home.
Me and my boyfriend at the time had had an argument.
And I won't use the language but he said, "Your family is F'd up.
"Your father's been having an affair and he has done for 15 years."
It was like someone had just punched me in the stomach.
And I could not keep that from Mum, so I told her.
It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life -
to break your mother's heart.
I was probably the last person to ever know because never in my life
I thought he would have... been that person.
We were always a loving couple.
He was never ever any different to me.
He have always looked after me.
He have always loved me.
I think he thrives on attention, he loves to be adored.
I think he had the affair because...
What's the word? Hang on.
How do you say big-headed bastard in a different way?
Kath kicked Owen out of the family home.
It would take her over nine years to forgive him.
If we'd got back together shortly after the affair and everything came out,
I don't think we would have got through it
because I was very bitter for a number of years.
I wouldn't have been able to let it go
and it wouldn't have been fair on either of us.
So I've had to get over that hurdle, which I have, and we're fine.
I could never have asked for anybody nicer than Kath.
She stuck by me.
You know. I wronged her.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing
and I'm sorry about all of that now
but, you know, I'm never going to be the perfect husband,
you know what I mean? I...
I'm not that way, like, you know.
But...I try my best and we get on really well now, don't we?
-And, you know, it's...
You know, we...
We don't kiss each other and do all that business that married people do
but we respect each other, you know what I mean, don't we?
We do kiss each other.
Well, we do now and again. When I want to go out with the boys,
I give her a little peck on the cheek.
-But you know what I mean, it's...
-Yeah, I know what you mean.
You get to a certain age like and...
Sex is what we have our coal delivered in in Porthcawl.
I kissed her.
Just pop yourself there.
Up the valley in Ebbw Vale,
the panto team is practising one of the key scenes.
And with only a week to go until opening night,
Owen is feeling the pressure.
I don't think you're going to have a problem.
-With the lighting and the smoke, it'll be fine.
We are a little bit behind schedule at the moment.
The transformation from the Beast back into the Prince
is going to be very important.
We are hoping that we can do it in the smoke.
We've just bought a new down smoker which will cover a lot of things.
So, just going to do it now, so let's hope it works.
Now the Beast has altered his ways, and discovered his one true romance.
When my magical curse is put in reverse, he'll be given a second chance.
It looks so crap.
His gloves are getting stuck because they are sweating.
We need to stop.
I cannot do this scene with the stage like that.
We cannot do this scene with the stage like that.
Both the stage and costume malfunction is causing tension in the team.
-It's not there.
-It's hard to judge.
Yeah, once she counts to five...
Knowing we've got to get it off in a certain amount of time...
Don't panic about it.
We don't want the gloves off until the smoke comes down.
So they are not coming off...
-We can't take them off.
-I think we need to do it...
After a brief discussion, Owen wants to give it another try.
Here we go, then. This time, this will be it.
Come on, please.
Yeah. Yeah, that works.
I'm going to put my clobber on, anyway.
It's been a long week of rehearsals
but the show's finally coming together.
We did about seven or eight hours yesterday.
Transformation, I think, will work now.
So we should be fine.
It's a bit different to The Lion King, byt.
He was in The Lion King.
-That was the last show he did.
-No, it's not different at all.
All Owen needs now is for ticket sales to go well
and a full house on the night.
I could never be a real woman.
Sorry, I might have to have a hand off you.
But it's not just in panto where Owen's invested heavily.
He is heading up to Merthyr
to check on the progress of yet another of his passion projects,
one that has caused him both joy and pain...
..Merthyr Town Football Club.
He's catching up with old friend and current vice-chairman Anthony Hughes.
The non-league side has had a special place in Owen's heart
ever since he was a young boy.
I think I discovered football at a very, very early age.
My father was a professional footballer.
My mother was a football fanatic.
And I remember my father taking me up to see Merthyr
playing at the age of about four, five,
and I just fell in love with the Black and Whites of Merthyr
and it's been there ever since.
Following his split with Kath,
Owen became the club's director and later its president.
He was there when the Martyrs won the Welsh cup in '87 and again when they
beat top Italian club Atalanta 2-1 at home.
And when the club hit hard times a number of years later,
Owen dug deep into his own pockets
to prevent his beloved club from going under.
Owen is massive when it comes to Merthyr.
Without Owen, there would have been times
when the club would probably have ceased to exist.
There's been times when the club has really been on its knees
and it's been the finance raised through Owen's contacts
and the events he has organised and put on himself,
to be fair, that's kept the club afloat.
But it would test Owen's passion to the limits.
It would be just week after week after week, not only me -
there were other people involved putting money in as well and trying to raise money.
I remember lying in bed one morning
and the phone goes and it's John Lewis, my manager.
That boy Luke, he needs an operation on his knee.
And he said, he's got to have this operation.
I'm in Bupa now.
I said, "Well, how much is it?" He said, "£2,000."
So, I had to go and get my credit card, I paid for it there and then.
It's unbelievable what a drain it is financially on your pocket.
I think Owen, at that time, like the rest of us,
knew that we were trying to save the football club
and, unfortunately, I think that took a huge toll on Owen,
emotionally and probably health-wise as well.
The pressure of the football club and my weight -
I put a lot of weight on -
and I think a combination of all those things just...
I think that's why I had the stroke.
Despite living apart at the time,
it would be wife Kath who would nurse him back to health.
I always remember the night it happened because
we had been out on the booze, as you do,
and I just felt something go in my head, something pop.
And when I woke up in the morning, I was all over the place.
-Yes, but when you phoned me, you were slurring, so I said,
have you been drinking? You said no.
And I thought, that's strange, because you were really slurring.
-I was, yeah.
-The way you sounded...
-Yeah, true that.
-And the way it was, I thought, oh, my gosh.
No, I was concerned about you. I was worried about you.
You were worried and you were depressed because your work involves
-your voice for talking.
You thought you wouldn't work again.
My career was... I thought my career was definitely over.
No, you're not the same. Definitely not the same.
No, no. It's left a little mark in my head there.
And I know when you get tired, the slur comes back again.
Ten years on, and Owen is almost fully recovered.
But his illness would have a lasting effect on his outlook on life.
Having a stroke made me re-evaluate my life.
You know, my friends, my family, you take a lot of people for granted,
don't you? But they really came to my help and got me through a really
I think I'm enjoying life more now than I ever have.
I get up every morning and I say to myself, right,
I'm going to enjoy today because you never know when your number's up.
And it would be this strength of character that Owen would rely on in
the months following the stroke
when he faced a challenge of a different kind.
Merthyr is the only place in the world I've ever come from.
I will never come from anywhere else, wherever I go,
anywhere in the world, where are you from?
It's here. It's Merthyr Tydfil.
As a young man, Owen lived on the Gurnos estate with his family.
I learned a lot by living up here.
It was a working-class area, and it gave me a lot of values.
We were all in the same boat, really.
We all got up early in the morning and went to work.
It was a learning curve for me,
knowing exactly what I needed to do in life and if I was ever successful,
I would try and put a little bit back into the town.
So, when Owen was invited to join
a multi-million pound redevelopment consortium in 2005,
he jumped at the chance to not only invest in his hometown
but secure his personal finances.
The idea was to build loads of houses,
we were going to have a massive retail park there, schools,
and a brand-new football stadium.
We were going to bring, like, 3,000 jobs to the area.
So we thought we had it made there, like.
Having enjoyed years of success as one of Wales' highest profile
broadcasters, Owen was able to invest heavily,
but then he got bad news.
I had a phone call off a journalist friend of mine.
He said, "Look, we've been told that three of your radio programmes are
"coming off and you're going to be axed from the afternoon show."
I was... I couldn't believe it.
It was a big body blow for me.
The rumours were true.
Owen was cut from four shows to one.
But this time, the rejection would hurt more than just his pride.
I was on an interest-only mortgage
and I was paying, like, 400 or 500 quid a month, I think it was.
A big house.
And all of a sudden,
that finished and I had to pay...
..almost £2,000 a month.
The bailiffs came in one day and locked the door and that was it.
But, then, it just went from bad to worse, really.
Owen received the news that the plans for his Merthyr
investment project had been rejected.
Overnight, he lost all of his life savings.
It was embarrassing for me because I'd worked so hard all my life
and all of a sudden, I end up with nothing
and I had nothing in the bank, nothing.
You can imagine what it was like for me,
knowing that I was financially ruined.
I was at a real low ebb, then.
I mean, you know... Really down in the dumps.
I never really confided in anybody,
I didn't tell anybody that things were going bad.
Can you imagine the headlines?
Owen Money really is owing money, you know what I mean?
They would have had a field day with my name, to start with.
It was a very lonely time when all these things were happening.
And the ironic thing about it is come Friday and Saturday,
I had to go out on the stage,
the lights would flash and I would have to get out there and tell my jokes and be as funny as I could.
But behind the painted smile, I was feeling terrible.
Nine years after being declared bankrupt, Owen still works hard.
You got them working, Math?
-You got them working?
I don't know.
Tonight, he and the team are getting ready for
the opening night of panto.
Stand by, everyone, please.
-OK, we got clearance, ready to go.
-Clearance. Here we go then.
So far, so good.
Now it's time for the star of the show to make an entrance.
All right, man, I'm coming.
Take your time, why don't you?
Honestly, I haven't met anybody quite so lazy as you.
See this wagon here? I moved that down to the village - me, on my own.
Would you like to just re-peat that?
I didn't remember it the first time. Let alone the second.
He's got the audience in good spirits but up next is the big reveal.
Will the transformation of the Beast go as planned?
It's a success. And a big relief for Owen.
After more than three months of hard work,
Owen and his team have pulled it off.
One down, 91 performances to go.
I can't wait...
for the next one, which will be tomorrow afternoon.
I've got to get up at half past six for my radio show in the morning.
So there's no rest for the wicked.
Good evening. I'm Owen Money.
I'm Eleri Sion. And we're still...
-We're still awake?
After 50 years in the entertainment business,
Owen is still going strong.
50 years of highs and lows, successes and setbacks,
have shaped him into the man he is today.
To most of us, he's a legend of the airwaves,
a friendly and familiar voice that will put a smile on your face.
But today, perhaps the biggest smile belongs to Owen himself.
He's got the gig of a lifetime,
broadcasting from the Euros
in the run-up to Wales' crucial game against Russia.
It's four hours before the game.
Four hours before the game. Look how many people we've got here.
They're all Welsh. This is a dream of a lifetime for me to be here
with all these great fans.
And I'm so excited. All we want now is the right result.
With me now, I've got Pam, Iris, and Linda.
To be here,
representing our country through the medium of radio
is the greatest honour I think I've ever had.
To me, this is the...
I really enjoyed having my MBE, but I think this absolutely tops that.
It's just a fantastic time to be alive, to be Welsh,
and to be here.
THEY CHANT: Wales! Wales! Wales!...
Me, I don't think I'll ever retire.
You know? The thing is, I...
I love the business so much, I think...
I don't know what I'd do.
# When I have worries
# And I can't sleep
# I count my blessings instead of sheep... #
Age has never bothered me
and I never ever thought ever about becoming an old person.
You've got to enjoy every moment in life
and I do from the moment I get up in the morning
when my grandkids are waking me up, jumping on my head.
I love it from that moment till I go back to sleep.
People say to me, "Do you enjoy being Owen Money?"
I said, "Well, I do, actually."
I really do. I think I've brought happiness to a lot of people.
It's incredible, the amount of people I've entertained over the years.
I think the key to my success is being me.
People say, "I like him, he's one of the boys."
Owen Money went out one day, owing more than he could pay,
Owen Money came back that day, still...
A candid documentary in which Welsh entertainer Owen Money reflects openly about his life, love and career in the months leading up to his 70th birthday. As Owen looks back on his life, the programme charts his astonishing story of career highs and personal lows, from winning two Sony Radio Awards and receiving an MBE, to the affair that shook his marriage. His busy schedule takes him from the Elvis Festival in Porthcawl to the Euros in France, and this compelling documentary reveals what makes him tick, what's made him a household name, and what keeps him going after 50 years in the business.