Q&A: Wynne Evans

Opera singer and radio presenter

You’re known across the UK for the GoCompare ads, which have been called the most irritating commercials in TV history. How do you feel about that?

It’s so weird I still can’t believe I’m still here thirteen years on and still making ads. It’s something I’ll always be proud of. Price comparison sites are massive in TV advertising and it’s fab to have made such an impact for such a wonderful company. 

Does Gio Compario (your opera-singing character in the ads) feel like an alter ego, or an annoying twin? 

I never use the word annoying when it comes to Gio. He has been a wonderful person to have in my life and I will always be grateful and never tire of him. In 50 years, this generation will still remember the GoCompare man and that’s a wonderful thing.

Gio was famously killed off in GoCompare’s “Save the Nation” ads by a diverse cast including Ray Mears, the late Professor Stephen Hawking, Stuart Pearce and Sue Barker. Which of their methods tickled your funny bone the most?

Steven Hawking was a great fan of the ads and he loved opera – being sent into his black hole was definitely one to remember.

Whose idea was it for Jimmy Carr to grab hold of your testicles in the Channel Four Comedy Gala?

In thirteen years I’ve never been asked about my testicles… all I can say is it certainly wasn’t mine!

You’ve spoken out about your own battle with depression. What is the most important thing for people to know about this condition?

That it’s a very personal thing. People ask me what sets it off and of course some of it is circumstantial, but some days I just wake up with a cloud over me that I can’t shake off. I have coping mechanisms now to make me more balanced. I have my tablets, I sing, I exercise, walk the dog. But sometimes I just sleep it off.

How has the pandemic impacted on our collective mental health?

It’s been up and down. The first lockdown was okay, but the subsequent lockdowns were tough on everyone. From my perspective, I struggled a bit 

more in the second one.To stay occupied, I started making ads at home. My son wants to be a cameraman, so we were able to make over a dozen ads just the two of us.

What has been your own experience through covid and the various restrictions? 

I feel like I’ve adapted. I’m very fortunate that I have a daily show on BBC Radio Wales which has kept me going every day, and the listeners are just fabulous.

Is there a particular issue that keeps you awake at night?

I think my worries are the same as everyone else’s – I worry about being a good dad, whether my jobs are safe and will I be able to support myself.

If you could do either again, would it be singing Bread of Heaven at the rugby or singing Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur at the football?

For me it’s the Spurs stuff. I’ve been a
Spurs fan since I was little, so singing at White Hart Lane was amazing and a lifelong dream. But my dad was still alive when I sang at the rugby and he got a massive thrill from that, which was a great moment.

Is there one person in particular who helped you in your career?

My parents. Sky recently made a film about them called Save the Cinema and my life was growing up with them while they saved a derelict theatre from demolition. It was an incredible journey.

Do you have any operatic heroes?

Dennis O’Neill, was my teacher and he always amazed me. He was a fabulous technician like Pavarotti and it’s the technicians that always wow me.

Do you have any unfulfilled professional ambitions?

I think I’d like to achieve more on TV. I love doing the GoCompare ads and in recent years, I’ve even appeared as myself, Wynne Evans, so I’d love to do more of that.  I’d also like to take my radio show national, maybe to Radio Two as well as Radio Wales. So there’s plenty to work on.

If you weren’t a singer, what would you be?

Without doubt an ice cream man, I always wanted to be one.

You were made a member of the Gorsedd Cymru in 2012. What’s the best part about being a druid? 

It’s one of the highest accolades you can have here in Wales, so it was a very proud day for me. I took the name of my father’s childhood farm as my bardic name. I am Wynne Craig Fach.

If you could make one person World President, who would it be?

I think Gio could do a lot of good up there on the world stage… just a thought!

Which political leader do you least admire?

As I work for the BBC, I don’t express my political views publicly – although I’m not a very political person anyway to be honest. 

What’s your favourite place in the world?

I absolutely love Llansteffan in Carmarthenshire, West Wales, it’s just picture perfect.

You’ve just turned 50, how did you celebrate?

I went away with six friends to the back of beyond in West Wales and told stories and ate and drank far too much.

Q&A

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