Britain’s Got Talent contestants Ian and Anne Marshall have just bagged David Walliams’ Golden Buzzer. This sends the married couple straight through to the live semi-finals, no fuss, no drama.
The duo are singers and performed (rather surprisingly) Beyonce’s upbeat track Crazy In Love. Although, there could have been an even bigger surprise as Ian, 64, and Anne, 61, have a confusing stage name.
“We’re Marshall Arts,” Anne grinned to RadioTimes.com on the day of their audition, before confirming: “with an ‘sh’ not a ‘t’. It’s our surname.” Thank goodness for that, eh? You never know what someone’s going to do with a sword on this show.
The energetic pair have been married for forty four years and not only have they been working away on their act, they’ve gotten pretty darn good at telling a story or two. As such, get to know a bit more about this Golden Buzzer act as they prepare to take to the live stage…
They got married in the blink of an eye
“I met Anne on Wednesday and I married her on the Saturday and we’ve been together for 44 years,” Ian proudly revealed. Their secret? “The reason we’ve stayed together is because we love each other. This thing we have goes beyond a house, or a business or money. We just love each other and that’s it.”
Anne got Ian to teach her to sing with the help of a karaoke machine
Ian is no stranger to the circuit, having sung as part of a band and as a soloist for many years. But then Anne asked her hubby for a few pointers and before long they were a double act.
“I wasn’t a singer, I was bringing up the boys,” Anne said, the couple parents to four sons.
“Then three years ago she said ‘teach me to sing’,” explained Ian. “I said ‘I can’t!’ All I said was you’re singing the wrong stuff. The ducks would have flown away.”
“So we went out and bought a karaoke machine,” Anne continued (the pair really are a well-oiled machine when it comes to telling a story together). “I found people like Lily Allen suited me.
“I said ‘That’s you, that’s you!’ It went from that to Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Paloma Faith all that sort of thing,” Ian added.
“I went to do a show and said ‘What about doing a cabaret for me?'” he continued. “Only 15 minutes. She was fantastic. Then I was like, ‘I like this song, I like this song…’ and we started singing together a year ago.”
Ian once served fish and chips to Prince Charles
Britain’s Got Talent’s top prize includes a spot on the Royal Variety Performance, however Ian’s already chalked up a brush with royalty, serving some grub to none other than Prince Charles.
It came while working as a chef in the army, when a cigarette break turned out to be quite important.
“I was working in Hong Kong and doing a banquet for the governor of Hong Kong. It was monsoon season, it was really sweaty, so I was sitting out the back on a break, and the next thing, the door opened and it was Prince Charles. He said ‘Any chance of fish and chips?’ I was there like, ‘Yes…’ trying to fix myself up. I gave it to him on silver plate, but he wanted it on paper! I got him some newspaper.
“They’re people like everybody else. They’re nice people,” he said, although laughed off suggestion the royal would remember him.
Anne is the “cheeky one”
After Anne’s wiggly dance moves, it’s perhaps no surprise to learn she’s the “cheeky one”. We spoke ahead of their audition so had no idea how Simon Cowell was going to react. But Anne was ready for him if he didn’t have anything good to say.
“Simon will probably say ‘Bit too old for this aren’t you?’. He can say what he wants. I have a saying, no one can hurt you without your permission, that’s stuck in my head.” As for whether she’d have said that to him, Anne laughed: “You never know what I’ll come out with!”
“She’s the cheeky one,” Ian grinned. “She’s about as subtle as a brick behind the head – I’m talking about a house brick here. She’s Simon Cowell in drag!”
Luckily for them – and Simon – he actually admitted he “got” the act and backed David Walliams’ Golden Buzzer push, which is quite the change.
The producers loved them
Anne and Ian auditioned for the show’s producers in Liverpool separately. But when they teamed up the producer wanted them together.
“We put the act together and she preferred that,” Ian explained. “Anne sings on her own great, I sing on my own great, but the producer said I could listen to you [both together] all day. Given how many people she’d heard, that’s something!”
Britain’s Got Talent continues next Saturday on ITV