Russell ‘The Voice’ Watson took great delight in portraying the mad priest in Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, but he took exception to the critics comments that his singing and acting were excellent but his limp was unconvincing.

He said: “It was at the time of my first brain tumour so I was rocking these really bad headaches and I tripped and hurt my ankle. It was really swollen and so painful I dragged my leg along behind me. The Telegraph review said that I sang and acted the part well, but with an unconvincing limp!’’

Despite this Russell said it was a fantastic experience performing in a massive stage production in an arena of 10,000-15,000 crowds a night.

“We had this great big screen with Richard Burton on it. It was fun and Jeff was so calm about everything.”

The tenor has recorded and performed classical, opera and pop and has famous fans from all over the world from Pope John Paul II to the Emperor of Japan, our English royals and even Donald Trump.

“Pope John Paul II booked a concert for a private conference and I had to sing the Come All Ye Faithful aria with a 90-piece orchestra. It was in front of 40 cardinals and 3,500 dignatories with the Pope in his box.

“I was the first British artist invited to the US to perform at the July 4th concert held on the west lawn on Capitol Hill, at the cenotaph. It was in front of 45,000 people and another 150,000 were outside looking at it on a 40m TV screen.

“Many years ago we were doing a TV special and the location was Trump’s Taj Mahal. Tump said he was a big fan and wanted to introduce me on stage.’’

While being totally at ease in huge venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Russell also enjoys the intimacy of the smaller venues such as Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre.

“The first time we went to Swindon was such a good night, everyone was bouncing. I said to the producer: ‘Why haven’t we been here before?’ They are so buoyant. When you play the Royal Albert it is all reserve and politeness because people are not sure how to respond, but at the Wyvern they shout away.’’ he said.

Russell is bringing his latest show, Canzoni d’Amore, to Swindon this autumn. “It is a piano voice recital which brings a different feel to the show.’’

Russell’s story is a Cinderella fairytale as he started off leaving school at 16 with no qualifications and worked in a factory making nuts and bolts. He sang in the evenings, in workingmen’s clubs in Wigan. He won a Search For A Star competition run by Manchester Piccadilly Radio and was asked to sing God Save The Queen and Barcelona at the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, and during the last match of the premiership between Manchester United and Spurs. During the performance he tore off his jacket to reveal a Man Utd shirt.

His first album The Voice went to number one in the UK classical charts and the US charts and his road was firmly laid before him leading to a successful musical career. But fate stepped in and dealt him a savage blow when in 2006 he had to have surgery to remove a benign pituitary tumour. The following year he had to have emergency surgery once again as the tumour had grown back, but the singer fought back to health and is now active in fundraising for research into paediactric brain tumours.

He is also an ambassador for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Fellowship Charity and Prince Charles’ Prince’s Trust.

Russell will be appearing at the Wyvern Theatre on Wednesday, October 10 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £47 from 01793 524481 or visit - Flicky Harrison