Wallingford bellringing duo are back in the TV limelight

Herald Series: Alan and Gay Cooper     Picture: OX66360 David Fleming Alan and Gay Cooper Picture: OX66360 David Fleming

BELLRINGING TV stars Alan and Gay Cooper are back in the limelight after surprising presenter and hip hop star Will.i.am on BBC’s The Voice.

The 2011 Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists were asked on to the show to perform a version of I Gotta Feeling by the star’s former group.

The couple, of Borough Avenue, Wallingford, appeared on BBC2’s The Voice: Louder spin-off show on Friday.

Mrs Cooper said: “It got to the stage where everybody was recognising us on the streets.

“We got a phone call from one of the producers a few weeks ago so I guess someone remembered us. Will.i.am was really quite fun, he had such a mixture of facial expressions. He hi-fived us on the show as well.”

The Black Eyed Peas star – who got an on-air crash course in bellringing – said: “You really rocked the bells on that one.”

But the pair almost didn’t make it onto the programme after their car broke down on the day.

They rang around for a hire car before driving to Elstree Film Studios in Hertfordshire.

Mr Cooper, a scientist at HR Wallingford, said: “It was fun – to see what sort of reaction we got was interesting. Fortunately Will.i.am seemed to enjoy it.

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  • The pair meet Will.i.am

“It has been a little while since we were on TV but it seemed familiar once we got there.”

The couple first met when Mrs Cooper started recorder classes in Watlington in the mid-1980s.

They love handbells so much that they provided their own musical accompaniment at their wedding in 2007. They shot to fame in April 2011 when 10 million viewers saw their rendition of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On at the Britain’s Got Talent audition.

The bellringing version of the 1997 Titanic movie theme song won the hearts of the audience and judges Michael MacIntyre, Amanda Holden and David Hasselhoff. The audition has since attracted 1,755,090 views on video website YouTube.

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