Comedians Harry Hill and David Baddiel join Simon Brodkin song for NHS
- Credit: Can't Wait
Simon Brodkin has hailed the “joy” of recording a song with comedians to raise money for the NHS – despite some initially “tentative” singing displays from the celebrities.
The comedian and former doctor from Hampstead Garden Suburb enlisted 30 of his contemporaries, including Harry Hill, Miranda Hart and Jo Brand to write Can’t Wait during lockdown.
Simon, known for his character Lee Nelson, described the track as a “fun, silly celebration of everything we were missing about normal life”.
Stars featuring on the track include David Baddiel, Lee Mack and Joel Dommett, many of whom hold personal connections to the NHS.
During the song the comics sing: “Can’t wait to go to the football, people shoving me. You’re right in my face and in my personal space – oh god I’ve missed this.”
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Simon, who was a junior doctor before turning to comedy, told the Ham&High: “Obviously every single person has had a tough year, but the NHS workers and what they have been through... Some of them have literally sacrificed their lives.
“Speaking as a former doctor who left the profession I know how tough it can be.
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“It’s never the best of times in the NHS, they're always under strain, so I cannot imagine what the people on the frontline have been going through since the start of this.
“I’ve kept in touch with a few and I've heard some of the hellish stories that have been going on.”
The 43-year-old said the song was partly inspired by Captain Tom, guilt, and getting out of home-schooling his kids, who he said learnt some new swear words during production.
Recorded as lockdown restrictions began to ease, the tune was recorded partly on Zoom, and partly at the celebrities’ homes.
“What's funny is that a lot of the comedians, myself included, were very tentative at first to get singing,” Simon said.
“But then twenty minutes into the session, they're just like: ‘I want another take, I want to do it again, this is amazing!'
“We're not the best singers, let's not lie, but once you've got the headphones on you have no idea how you're sounding, as you can just hear the backing track.”
Handing himself the accolade of the 23rd strongest singer, “or seventh worst” among the 30-strong group, Brodkin said all the celebrities, regardless of respective ability, threw themselves into the occasion.
“The school choir did feel like yesterday for me, so I’m not sure what happened in between, but I’ve definitely slipped down the rankings,” he said.
“Josh Widdicombe absolutely loved it. He said ‘this is so freeing, this is amazing.’
“Harry Hill told us just how much he loved to sing, Adam Kay got out the saxophone. Everyone brought out their skills.
“Special mention to the horn section played by incredible musicians as well. Everyone got proper into it.”
Simon described his stint as a junior doctor, when he spent time in A&E, medicine and surgery, as a “very varied” year.
“My problem was I could never take anything seriously, which is the minimum that patients want.
“I left when things were pretty cold so I wasn’t going to jump back in now [during the pandemic].
“I’ve saved hundreds of lives by staying at home and not going back to hospital to try and help,” Simon joked.
Inspired by the “mean, dangerous streets” of Hampstead Garden Suburb, the comedian, who still lives in Ham&High territory, didn’t rule out a possible rap remix of his NHS song.
And as the track’s release timed just prior to England’s semi-final with Denmark in Euro 2020, Simon, who once gatecrashed a Three Lions trip before the 2014 World Cup, made a bold prediction.
“I’m thinking 17-0 to England," he said. "I don't know whether that’s slightly over the top but I’m just sensing that.
“It feels like a 17-0 and with sixty thousand fans now back at Wembley... what could possibly deviate from that?”
Proceeds from Can’t Wait will go to NHS Charities Together, a federation of 250 organisations that supports staff, volunteers and patients within the health service.
To download the song visit https://standupnhs.com/