Lily Savage: We pay homage to the Dame of Birkenhead
She’s loved for her fabulous outfits, foul mouthed rants and questionable morals and we wouldn’t change her for the world.
Lilian Maeve Veronica Savage was born on the steps of The Legs of Man pub, to a Lady Wrestler. Hell Cat Savage didn’t waste any time in getting back in boozer for a pale ale to steady her nerves, and thus a legend was born.
Lily came to life, after causing untold chaos during her short stint at convent school, when she was crowned Miss New Brighton Baths 1974 and took her unique take on life out on the road. Making waves at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the 80’s/90’s, Lily’s hard work on the London drag circuit began to pay off as a Perrier Award nomination swiftly followed. Damn that young Frank Skinner, that award had our Lily’s name on it for sure!
Lights, Camera, Action
Lily is one of very few entertainers who have made a successful leap from not just the BBC to ITV, but also to Channel 4 too. Lily Savage Live from the Hackney Empire, her first recorded show, was a sell out and off the back of the live recording, Lily embarked on an Australian Tour. Not bad for a girl from Birkenhead.
Did you know our Lily once presented Top of the Pops? She’s had long time interviewer Parkinson on the edge of his seat a few times and enjoyed a little cheeky cameo on Brookside……and starred in a number of episodes of The Bill as a prostitute called Roxanne. Oh, she’s no one trick pony our Lil. She’s had her own catering business with Vera Duckworth, she’s cleaned he lavs in many a pub and she’s even interviewed mega stars from the comfort of her own bed.
Lie In With Lily, the early morning interview slot on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast, was only meant to trial for a month. Lily interviewed celebs such as Cher, Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage, Catherine Zeta Jones, Sooty and so many music stars, on a huge leopard print bed and had viewers in stitches, so much so, her 4 week trial went on for a whole year before the early mornings proved too much for our glamorous girl.
The outtakes from Blankety Blank and her foul mouthed rants trying to read autocue still has us in stitches. “Can I say that Janet…..ahh f&ck it!”
Savage Family Values
You can’t be a fan of Lily’s comedy and not adore the long-suffering Our Vera? Lily’s less fortunate sister is the butt of endless, but hysterical jokes (like being mistaken for a frozen turkey defrosting in the bath, or modelling prunes after a 24 swim-ahon). Also a lover of animals, Lily is always accompanied by her faithful (and bit of a slapper) pooch, Queenie the incontinent whippet, it’s not really surprising that they’re a match made in heaven.
One of Lily’s most famous performances was inspired by her own glamorous film star grandmother. Erica Von Savage, or ‘The deadly lotus blossom of the Wirral’ as she was also known, was “a ringer for Marlene Dietrich” and inspired Lily to tie a lamppost to her back for her cabaret singer slot on the late Rik Mayall’s ITC comedy, The New Statesman show back in 1990. It’s absolute comedy gold, Lily did her nan proud.
Agony Aunt Lily
When it comes to the fellas, it’s safe to say Lily has been around the block and then some. But from all those years of playing the field, she’s the ‘qweeeen’ of relationship advice. “Well, they all sh*t on you eventually, don’t they, the fellas. I don’t believe in divorce me……just murder the b&stards.” This should be an InstaQuote for sure.
One time Lily thought she was on to a winner, but even that wasn’t plain sailing. Picking her engagement ring, she said: “when we were getting engaged, we were looking in the window at Pikes the Jewellers in Liverpool, I said that’s a lovely ring there……he said I’ll get you that…….when the shop shuts…you know what, I’d cry if it wasn’t for the Prozac!”
Oh Yes She Did
When it come to dressing up to the nines, acting like a drama queen and making people laugh, it’s no surprise to find Lily was a huge hit in panto. Whether playing the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Widow Twankey in Aladdin, the jealous, wicked witch in Snow White, or an even more wicked Step Mother in Cinderella, Lily’s one-line gags, put downs and outrageous comments have had children and adults alike roaring with laughter. And she didn’t swear once!
Our very own Walker Art Gallery and Museum of Liverpool were the joint first venues to host the ‘Savage Style’ exhibition featuring 11 of Lily’s most famous and fabulous costumes? Back in 2012, fans were able to get up close and personal with Lily’s famous feathers, We’re talking feathers, sequins, mini skirts and ball gowns, right here in her own backyard.
Now we can understand why she went on an epic rant kicking off about the BBC making her wear Ester Rantzen’s castoffs for her new show! The cheeky gets!
Putting Birkenhead on the Map
Lily may be responsible for coining one of our absolute favourite Scouse curse words…..Gobsh%te is undoubtedly the funniest way of insulting someone with a smile, and we reckon Lily started it. Never forgetting her roots, Lily would refer back to her Merseyside upbringing at every opportunity with classic one liners.
“….rough as arseholes, it would make Birkenhead look like Trumpton.”
“Can I have a bit more wellie on me mic…..that’s Birkenhead for volume.”
“You need two things in a riot, flat shoes and a pram.”
Now Lily may have hung up her stiletto’s but you can still get your fix of scouse quick wit and undeniable charm as Paul O’Grady returns to our screens with Little Heroes on ITV and of course the unmissable Saturday night love fest that is Blind Date on Channel 5.