Billy Walker

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The Independent Online

I was the BBC television commentator for the Wembley festival show in 1989 in which Billy Walker [obituary by Spencer Leigh, 23 May] gave one of the best received performances of his career, writes David Allan.

The promoter, with an eye on the clock and possible overtime payments, had given instructions that Billy was to have 25 minutes on stage and no more. The problem was that the audience wouldn't let him go when the time was up, but the stage manager turned into a jobsworth and, totally oblivious to the reaction of the paying punters, physically prevented Billy from doing an encore.

It was an insensitive and ill-advised decision that left many of us quite shocked. So much so that the festival headliner Boxcar Willie informed the promoter that he wouldn't be going on unless amends were made. As a result Billy was invited back on stage as part of Boxie's set to sing his long overdue but much deserved encore "Old Rugged Cross".