David Parkin on the star with Street cred

AFTER last week’s brief brush with fame on the cover of TopicUK magazine, I think I’ve probably returned to my rightful place this week.

Being the interviewer rather than the interviewee is something I’ve had a lot more practice at.

And the modelling assignments aren’t exactly stacking up yet.

So it was nice to see an article I wrote appear in the Yorkshire Post this week.

It all started after a chance encounter with old colleague Chris Bond, now the features editor of the YP, in a Majestic wine shop.

He was buying one bottle while my stacked trolled resembled a contestant who had gone rogue on Supermarket Sweep.

I mentioned a couple of ideas I’d had for what I thought would be interesting articles and he liked them and commissioned me to write them.

One was an interview with Coronation Street star Colson Smith who grew up in Castleford and is heavily involved in running the town’s cricket club.

Aged just 22, Colson has appeared in Corrie since he was 11-years-old but he has been involved in Castleford Cricket Club even longer.

He first pitched up at Savile Park as a cricket-obsessed nine-year-old with ambitions to be a professional cricketer, years before he started acting.

He readily admits he wasn’t much of a player but used to travel home and away with the team and volunteer for jobs around the club to the point he now has the title of director of cricket.

And that is no honorary title.

He and club captain David Wainwright, the former Yorkshire and Derbyshire player, are involved in signing players and last week Colson was on the phone every day making arrangements for overseas player Umair Khan to fly from Pakistan to Turkey and then on to the UK while complying with strict testing and quarantine protocols.

He speaks as passionately about the team’s success on the pitch as he does about installing draught beer in the pavilion for the first time.

And the Take That tribute band who performed a couple of years ago helped bring in vital revenue, even if the trailer they used as a stage left a few unsightly marks on the pitch.

A down-to-earth character, Colson sees himself as an actor not a celebrity but accepts there will be plenty of requests for selfies when you appear in one of Britain’s most popular television programmes.

I first met him several years ago when he and his father Nick were guests at a Huddersfield Town match.

Even then he had a maturity beyond his years and listened more than he talked – an unusual quality for many of those you meet who are in the public eye.

He and his dad are big Leeds fans so got plenty of ribbing from Town fans present including Andy Needham of Approved Foods.

When he was looking to bring new ideas to help boost income at Castleford Cricket Club, Colson tapped into the deep sporting and commercial knowledge of long-serving Huddersfield Town director Shaun Jarvis, asking his advice.

A wise move: last year Shaun became chief executive of Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Colson admits that while Coronation Street was only the second ever acting role he won, it is, without doubt, the best one he will ever have.

But he does harbour ambitions to work further afield.

When I met up with Colson at a Yorkshire cricket match at Headingley a few years ago when he was 18 he told me he had just spent the  summer in New York and Los Angeles on an intensive course at The Actors Studio where generations of performers, including Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe and Al Pacino, studied method acting.

“When I came back from there I basically knew that I wanted to live in LA.”

I asked him whether there was a cricket club in Beverly Hills and he told me that Castleford’s down-to-earth Hemsworth-born captain David Wainwright has already got there before him.

“One of the things about Dave is that he doesn’t really tell you the full story. So when I phoned him up a couple of years ago I asked him what he was doing.

“He said: ‘I’m working’. So I said, do you want to meet up? He replied: ‘I can’t, I’m in California coaching cricket’ “.

But it will take a big opportunity to drag Colson away from Castleford.

His heart is in Cas and bubbles with enthusiasm as he outlines his plans to host more events and to deck the front of the pavilion to help boost income.

I called in to have a chat to him after he was photographed by Jonathan Gawthorpe of the Yorkshire Post at Castleford Cricket Club last week.

Colson proudly gave me a tour of the historic pavilion which overlooks the pitch, known locally as “The Golden Acre” and bordered on its far side by a long row of ramrod straight poplar trees.

As the early April sun glistened and gave a silvery shimmer to the verdant hues of the foliage I was captivated by this panorama of spring.

It was truly a typical English sporting idyll – the cricket pitch not the three teenagers smoking and playing football with a Sprite bottle in the car park.


I’M sure, like me, you are looking forward to some kind of normality returning to life – going to an event, any event would be a novelty.

If you are planning or even thinking about holding an event can I outline a new approach for your clients, contacts or your own team.

We’ve all missed face-to face contact over the last year.

And there is no doubt that business benefits from human interaction.

While Zoom and other virtual platforms have tried to be replacements for this, it is hard to get the meaningful exchanges necessary to make them valuable to everyone.

We’ve all experienced online events that lack energy, engagement, spontaneity and humour.

And another frustration is they don’t enable you to easily chat to other attendees.

We can provide this – online, live, or a combination of the two – at a fraction of the cost of a regular event.

What we can offer:

  • An auditorium environment with a big screen to uniquely combine onstage participants and an online audience

  • An independent, professional compere (me!) who will seamlessly introduce an event, put speakers and attendees at ease and maximise value for the hosts and sponsors on any online platform – yours or ours

  • Use our online platform that offers a live stage, breakout rooms for networking, and an exhibition hall

  • The full works – we can develop the theme, find the speakers, organise invitations, gift boxes, compere the event, follow ups and anything else you need

We have already delivered this successfully on a number of occasions.

There was an online Q&A with Clipper Logistics chairman Steve Parkin and CEO Tony Mannix for an audience of 60 people.

An online panel discussion for Headstar on The Future of Work featuring five expert panellists and an audience of 100 people followed by multiple networking breakouts to continue the conversation.

And while live events will eventually return, they are likely to be a hybrid with an audience joining both in person and virtually.

This is the platform that enables you to deliver successful online events now and transition to the next normal when it arrives.

If you are interested do let me know, I’d be delighted to provide some ideas for you.

david@copagroup.co.uk or call 07968 835282


THE reason this blog often has a self-deprecating approach is probably because I’d rather take the mickey out of myself first rather than waiting for others to do it.

I’m critical of me so you don’t have to be.

Unfortunately that approach utterly failed last week when I included a photograph of copies of TopicUK magazine on the shelf in a supermarket featuring a large picture of me on the cover.

I thought I had included enough gags at my own expense in the accompanying piece in my blog.

But clearly not enough for you, delightful, readers.

Many referred to the fact that the magazine was positioned on the “top shelf”.

I’m not quite sure what that means, I’ve always seen a diverse range of publications on the top shelf of magazine racks, including those focused on country pursuits such as ferreting.

Then several people pointed out that there seemed to be a lot of copies left over.

Why couldn’t they just have taken a positive approach and thought that the photograph was taken just after the shelves had been stacked and just before a horde of adoring female fans rushed to seize their prized copies?

Well, I’ve always been a glass half full kind of guy.

And finally there was the note from a Yorkshire entrepreneur.

He is a man of great standing and success, a man who has compiled significant wealth through shrewd, bold and buccaneering business dealings.

A serious player in the serious world of business.

I felt honoured to receive a missive from such a figure.

He wondered if, when I referred to signing copies of the magazine in my local Asda car park on a small hillock, I had made a spelling mistake.

Well at least my mother thought I looked handsome and statesmanlike on the magazine cover.

Thank you Mummy!

Have a great weekend.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top