CHILDREN’S television legend Bernie Clifton is following in the late Queen Elizabeth II’s footsteps as he organises himself a second public birthday - where he’s inviting all to join him at the Lamproom Theatre.

The former star of BBC’s Crackerjack has been on a wild journey throughout the years but as he turns 88 he’s looking back on the many events that brought him to this point with his autobiography, Crackerjack to Vegas.

Originally from St Helens in Lancashire, the musician and comedian admits that his celebrity turn was simply a ‘fluke’, with him doing his best to make the most of every situation that came his way - and narrowly avoiding danger.

He told the Chronicle: “When I think back, it’s 84 years since lying in bed in Charles Street in St Helens when a bomb just missed our head.

“More than 80 years ago, but I can still remember that dark night in 1940.

“The great thing about the book is it made me sit down - I don’t know how many billion cells you’ve got in the back of your head with your memory, but suddenly someone would say something like Charles Street and out it comes.

“Then with my moving on from St Helens with my initial career, I found out I had a singing voice so I went to the band leader at the Co-operative Dance Hall, quite drunk.

“He looked at me and said: ‘come back on Friday when you’re sober, seven o’clock’.

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“I got a job as a plumber, I was a failed plumber, and then flukily I ended up at RAF Lindholme helping to train pilots and navigators to defend the realm against the Russians.

“If you look at it, it’s unbelievable, it’s such a weird journey.

“But I made the best of it then because I stayed on this side of the Pennines and worked the clubs and got a name for myself and was ultimately signed by a London agent.”

The comedian’s act has changed over the years, with his fan-favourite companion Oswald the Ostrich now put out to pasture.

“When the vet turned up with a hypodermic syringe following the ostrich around, I thought it was time,” he added.

“I was in Leeds a few years back and saw a video of it and realised that there’s no way I could get within a mile of the physicality of what I was doing 20 years ago.

“I thought it was best to retire it - it’s just nature, it’s just a natural process.”

Despite his birthday actually being in April, Bernie has taken a page out of the Queen’s book - a woman he fondly remembers crying tears of laughter at his show in the Royal Variety Performance - and will be hosting an official birthday celebration on July 31 at the Lamproom Theatre.

“I’ve had my physical 88th birthday but I always thought it was great that the Queen could have two birthdays.

“She could have a birthday in April like I did, but she could also have an official birthday with the Trooping of the Colour.

“Well I thought I’d troop my colour, but I wouldn’t have it in Whitehall, I’d have it in Barnsley at the Lamproom.

“Come along and be entertained with the memories - and the good news is, there will be cake.”