My Haven: Bill Oddie (Daily Mail Weekend)
The bird lover, conservationist and comedian, 77, in the music room of his north London home
1 BIRD MAN
I’ve lived for more than 30 years in this house near Hampstead Heath, where I go birdwatching. This letter is one of my prized possessions – it’s from the ornithologist Sir Peter Scott (1909-1989), the father of conservation, inviting me down to the nature reserve at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. He was a great artist, especially of ducks and wildfowl, and he painted birds on my invitation.
2 GOODIE TIMES
In the Cambridge Footlights, I met Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden and we did loads of sketches and songs as The Goodies. This silver disc came after we sold 250,000 records of Funky Gibbon. We couldn’t do it again now. It’s like someone saying, ‘could we get the football team from 1966 back together?’ The bust on the left is of the late comedian Marty Feldman, who I knew quite well.
3 ON THE BALL
I used to be an avid sportsman – I played everything – and this is me as school rugby captain at King Edward’s School in Birmingham. I went to many football matches too. My father somehow managed to get us tickets to some of the most famous matches ever – including Stanley Matthews playing in the 1953 FA Cup final and also the World Cup final in 1966 – so thank you, dad.
4 ME AND MY GIRLS
My ex-wife Jean and I are still very good friends and now I’m married to Laura, I have two families. My daughter Bonnie is a dancer and choreographer, and Kate [second from left] is an actress and writer. Rosie [front], my daughter with Laura, a singer-songwriter, and leaning against the sofa is one of her first guitars. She’s the lead singer in the band Bones and has toured with guitarist Jeff Beck.
5 ROCK ROYALTY
My favourite musicians include the singer-songwriters Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon — but my number one has to be Prince. I remember when my daughter rang me up to tell me that he had died two years ago. She burst into tears and so did I because I had never seen anybody give everything the way he did when he was on stage — he was absolutely wonderful. He was a musical genius, and he seemed like such a nice guy too.
6 TAKING THE MICKEY
Laura and I went to Walt Disney World in Florida for our first holiday together. It was a dream come true for her, as she’d always wanted to go. We went back seven or eight times over the years, with everyone in the family. The quality of what they create is extraordinary, and some excellent musicians cut their teeth there. I’ve gathered a few pieces over the years and the early collectible Mickey Mouses and Donald Ducks are exquisite — they’re usually doing something like painting or playing golf.