Cheryl Baker, an English singer, television presenter and former member of pop group Bucks Fizz but now with The Fizz, chats with Kevin Cooper about her feelings towards David Van Day, never getting tired of singing Making Your Mind Up, winning the Eurovision Song Contest and her forthcoming appearance at The Indigo at the O2.

Cheryl Baker, real name Rita Stroud, is an English singer and television presenter. She was a member of pop group Bucks Fizz who won the 1981 Eurovision Contest with Making Your Mind Up. Following a legal dispute between members Bobby G and David Van Day over ownership of the group’s name, Baker along with Jay Aston and Mike Nolan now perform under the name, The Fizz.

In December 1984 the group were involved in a serious crash involving their tour bus whilst on tour with the group. She broke three vertebrae in her spine, but Nolan Suffered serious head injuries, prompting her to help establish the HeadFirst charity which supports accident victims, especially those with head injuries.

In the mid 1980’s she began a career as a television presenter and in 1988 she presented her own television show Eggs ‘n’ Baker featuring cooking and guest musical performers, which ran for five years. She has also had some acting roles including the television production of Cinderella at Christmas 1986.

Whilst busy preparing for The Fizz’s tour she took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what she had to say.


Cheryl good morning, how are you today?

Hi, Kevin, I’m very well thank you. I’m just finishing my early morning walk and I have to say that I have actually put on a pair of socks today as its blinking cold (laughter). But more to the point how are you today?

I’m very well thank you and I have to say that it is a typical English summer, isn’t it?

Well, no, I think that it’s much worse than that (laughter). I think that it actually feels like winter this morning. It really is awful.

But looking at it, we really should be used to it by now don’t you think?

Yes, I know. You are most probably right but there are all of these reports going around about the governments around the world messing around with the weather patterns, not that I believe it, but that is what they are saying.

What always amazes me is that we have an inch of snow here in the UK and the whole country comes to a complete standstill whilst over in Canada they are driving though twelve -feet snow drifts and its business as usual (laughter).

I know, it’s absolutely crazy (hysterical laughter).

Then we have the railways, where it’s either too wet, too hot or there are those naughty leaves on the tracks (laughter).

I know but don’t forget the best one, they are on strike again. I personally don’t think that anyone actually remembers why they are on strike, and to be honest, I really do not think that anyone sympathises with them anymore. It’s a case of, ‘here we go it’s yet another strike, oh well let’s get on with it and work from home’ (laughter).

The worst are the French air traffic controllers who always seem to go on strike every year around the holiday season.

I know, they go on strike, and you always find yourself being diverted to here, there and every bloody where (laughter).

Anyway, now that we have at least attempted to put the weather and the world’s strikes to bed, let me thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

That’s okay, it’s a pleasure.

And just how is life treating you at this moment in time?

(Laughter) life is treating me really well but as you can imagine, I am extremely busy as I always am at this time of year. Eurovision is looming, and we always end up doing so many interviews, TV, radio, but please don’t think that I am moaning in any way, because I have to be totally honest with you and say that I love it. Its good, it keeps your name in the frame, it keeps you busy, I’m fit, I’m not 196 years old, and we are still gigging, so all in all things are really good (laughter).

You mention that you are still gigging; you are currently three dates into the tour. How is it going?

(Laughter) I most probably misinformed you when I said that because nowadays, we really don’t tour as such, we like to say that we are simply playing a few shows as we are touring all of the time, if that makes any sense whatsoever (laughter). We played a Butlins Weekender last weekend, which I have to say was really fantastic. We are working tonight in Tunbridge Wells, an intimate gig in a cosy small club. Next week we are doing another Butlins Weekender, and as you most probably know we have got the big one coming up at Indigo on 28th June together with a lot of festivals during the summer, more Butlins Weekenders; it is simply continual. We have already been offered thirteen gigs for 2025 and I have to say that I think that it is the gigging and working that is keeping us young, I think (laughter).

Do you still enjoy touring or is the travelling a pain in the bum, but a necessary evil?

I have to say that, for me, the travelling is awful. I really do hate the travelling especially when we play Butlins for example. For us to get to Skegness from Kent, where we all live now, we really do have to allocate at least five hours travelling time. Likewise, whenever we play Butlins at Minehead, simply because we are going from the very bottom of the South-East to the very top of the South-West. It really is one hell of a journey. So, in answer to your question, I really do hate the travelling. Don’t get me wrong, I love the gig and because of that I would have to say that all of the travelling is worth it, if it wasn’t then I wouldn’t do it.

You have briefly mentioned that on the 28th June you will be playing Indigo at The O2, are you looking forward to that?

Yes, I am, I really am. The Indigo holds approximately 4,600; 1800 seated upstairs and downstairs there is 2800 standing, so the place really is ideally suited for us. We are all so very excited to be playing there once again. We really can’t wait.

That’s right, you played there last year on your belated 40th Anniversary tour, didn’t you?

Yes, we did, as you say it was our belated 40th Anniversary tour and I have to say that, in my opinion, it was one of the best concerts that we had ever done, if not the best. There was a capacity crowd, and we were enjoying ourselves so much that we played for just over two-hours (laughter). It was a very special night for us all as, and at the end of the show, we revealed that Nicola Martin, the person who formed Bucks Fizz more than four decades ago was in the crowd.

On the subject of live gigs, with such a vast back-catalogue, just how difficult is it for you to put together a set list?

Yes, it is, it really is. What you have to remember is that we currently have over ten thousand members in the fan club, and each and every one of them has an opinion as to what is their favourite song, which means that we have to be selective. There are certain songs that we have to do, songs like Making Your Mind Up, Land Of Make Believe, but there are also some songs that you have to think, ‘we have done that far too much so we had better change that and do a different one’ (laughter). It is certainly something that we have to spend a bit of time on. After we have played around with it for a while, we will all agree that it is a good set list and we go with it.

How have you found working with Mike Stock?

Mike really is wonderful. I really love working with him. We have recorded four albums with him now, and he is just a joy. He really knows what he wants, he is meticulous with his phone calls and all of his production, but I really love the fact that we don’t start until 11am and we finish at 6pm (laughter). Back in the day we would start at 10 o’clock in the morning, and we would sometimes still be there at 3am or 4am the following morning. Nine times out of ten your voice would be shot and all that you could think about was going to bed. Now, it is a really easy day with Mike, and we even break for lunch at 1 o’clock (laughter). Mike really is a genius.

Is there any new material on the horizon?

No, not at the moment simply because what has been happening in Mike Stock world; he has been working on the musical I Should Be So Lucky, and he has been flat-out working on that. He was very much involved in the writing of the script plus he had to record the album too because they wanted it to be reflective of their music. So, we haven’t done anything with Mike since the last album, Everything Under The Sun. Having said all of that, who knows, there may be another one, or maybe that’s it, maybe we have just recorded the four.

On the subject of Everything Under The Sun, they always say that you should never believe your own publicity, but when you have people saying, “still making great music” “absolutely fizztastic” and “the fizz at their best.” Surely that must give you a warm feeling inside?

It does, it really does. They also mention these things on the fan club. We are so very lucky to have a fan club such as ours who have followed us for all of those years, all of those decades, and they still come to the gigs, and they still make lovely comments like that, then yes it does, it makes me feel all warm and fluffy (laughter).

Putting you firmly on the spot, what is your favourite Bucks Fizz song to perform?

Well, what can I say, I do love the big songs, songs like Making Your Mind Up even though I don’t care too much for the song. The reaction which that song gets from an audience really is phenomenal, so I really do like it for that reason. There are songs like Heart Of Stone which wasn’t a huge hit for us but I really do love performing that. I love performing the songs that weren’t such big hits, songs like London Town. There are quite a few songs that are great too perform, but they weren’t big hits. Maybe I prefer those because I have done the others so many times.

Do you ever get tired of singing Making Your Mind Up?

I really don’t think that you can, as much as it’s not my favourite song, it really isn’t. I was a Joni Mitchell fan, and I can’t really imagine Joni Mitchell singing Making Your Mind Up can you (laughter). But being totally honest with you I do love performing it because the audience’s reaction is absolutely fantastic. You see all of their mobile phones come up to take the picture of the moment when the skirts come off and yes, we still do pull the skirts off (laughter).

I am so pleased that you have mentioned the skirts because I recently interviewed Jay (Aston) and she told me that ripping the skirts off very nearly never happened.

Really, tell me more (laughter).

She said that you were adamant that you didn’t want to show your knees.

(Laughter) well I have to say that is not quite true. It wasn’t the fact that I didn’t want to show my knees, I know that my legs are better from the knee down than they are from the knee up. So, I wanted to wear a skirt that was knee length, whilst Jay wanted to wear a mini skirt. If I had been adamant, then I wouldn’t have agreed to having a rip-off skirt (laughter). So, good old Jay but that wasn’t quite true I’m afraid (laughter).

In that case I will let you take it up with her.

Oh, I will, don’t you worry about that (laughter).

Taking you back to Saturday 4th April 1981, just how did it feel when you were announced as the winners of Eurovision?

Funnily enough, it felt as though I had just won the Eurovision Song Contest (laughter). I just took a moment and thought to myself, ‘just how big can all of this get’. It was the biggest thing that has ever happened to me in my life. I had always wanted to be an Olympic runner and win a gold medal for my country; it was that but for music. It was ridiculous, it was extreme, every emotion that you can imagine happened in those brief few moments. Going back out onto the stage and looking at all of the cameras I think that I said, “hello mum” (laughter).

For me, looking into the camera and knowing that my family were watching and that they had just seen their daughter, their sister, win the Eurovision Song Contest. It really was phenomenal. We had to stand on a platform; we were surrounded by photographers, interviewers, and cameramen. It was so deep with cameras that you couldn’t see the back of them, you could only see people. It was at that moment that we realised that our lives had just changed. It really was an extraordinary time.

Putting Eurovision to one side, what would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?

Taking Eurovision aside, I would have to say that there have been lots of times and lots of things. I guess that when you are invited onto the Christmas Top Of The Pops show you know then that you are one of the biggest selling artists or one of the most popular artists of that year. So, I have to say that was a fantastic experience. Equally, going over to Australia to perform there, and to promote our singles out there, but it wasn’t just that. I actually got to see my brother who I hadn’t seen for years and years.

So, for me, there were other reasons, it wasn’t just down to the performance side of things, it was the personal side of things, I got to see my family once again and stuff like that. Another one would have to be when we went over to Rio de Janeiro, sitting on the Copacabana beach, singing, ‘If You Can’t Stand The Heat’ (laughter). They really were surreal moments; they really were pinch me moments that were just amazing.

How did you feel when Bobby G refused to let you use the name Bucks Fizz?

Let me just say that I was more than miffed; I think that it is really selfish of him. In fact, I think that it was pretty awful actually. We all won the Eurovision Song Contest; we all have massive history between us, which was condensed into those first five years from 1981 to 1986 and beyond obviously. Most of the success and the crazy times were condensed into that period including that awful coach crash that we had. Everybody had different levels of injury, and everybody is still suffering now for it and I think that it is pretty awful actually that Bobby has refused to let us use the name. I am quite bitter about it, I really am, I am quite bitter about it. He uses the name Bucks Fizz once in a blue moon, and as I said earlier, I find the whole situation pretty awful.

Whilst you and I are getting along dare I ask you about a former member of Bucks Fizz?

(Laughter) I think I know what’s coming, but fire away.

What fires your hatred against a certain David Van Day?

David Van Day I would happily throw into a river. What fires my anger towards that individual who calls himself David Van Day is that fact that he basically stole from Mike (Nolan). He borrowed a large six figure sum off Mike. It was ridiculous just how much he owed Mike, and he made himself bankrupt so that he didn’t have to pay it back which meant that Mike had to sell his flat because of it. Mike now lives in a little flat down on the coast whereas he used to live in a fantastic penthouse flat in Maida Vale in the heart of London. Because of that, I really do hate David Van Day because of what he did to a very dear, sweet friend of mine. What I hate most of all is that he is still living off his notoriety, he is still making a living out of being an arsehole and I really do hate that about him. Take it from me, he is not playing at it, he really is an arsehole (laughter).

Swiftly moving on and testing your memory, what was the first record that you bought?

The first single was Rosie by Don Partridge, and the first album was Abbey Road by The Beatles.

Who did you first see performing live?

I went to a big festival at Wembley Stadium where I saw my Joni, Joni Mitchell, together with Crosby, Stills and Nash, and The Band. They were the three that I really wanted to see.

What was the last song or piece of music that made you cry?

I have to tell you that I cry all the time whenever I listen to music. One of my favourite songs is Kiss From A Rose by Seal and whenever I hear those fantastic vocals, that really does make me fill up.

Now I couldn’t speak to you without taking you back to 14th February 1987. Valentine’s Day and that kiss with Gyles Brandreth in an attempt to break the record for the longest sustainable screen kiss. Just how did that come about?

(Hysterical laughter) you bugger, you total bugger, just how could you do this to me (laughter). I’ve been trying to forget that and put the whole episode behind me for well over thirty years now (laughter). At the time I was still a member of Bucks Fizz but I was also doing a fair bit of television presenting. My manager at that time said to me, “Cheryl you need more profile so I really do think that you should do this” (laughter). I have to be honest with you and say that it wasn’t my finest moment. Gyles had just drunk a cup of coffee and he had that taste of coffee, so you can imagine just what I had to deal with (laughter). What can I say, we actually broke a world record, albeit briefly.

On that note Cheryl let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, it’s been absolutely delightful. You take care and good luck with the tour.

No, thank you Kevin, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Bye for now and do try to get to see us at some stage of the tour.