Jon has a catalogue of over 350 impersonations. His first big job came on Spitting Image in 1994 where he provided voice-overs for 40 different celebrities including Frank Bruno, David Frost, Kenneth Clark, Michael Portillo, Bill Clinton, Mr Motivator and Liam Gallagher.
John really pushed the boat out in 1998 by conning the No.10 Downing street switchboard thanks to his uncanny William Hague impression. After getting past the operators he spoke to the then PM Tony Blair live on London's Capital FM. In this incredible hoax Culshaw, pretending to be Conservative leader William Hague, chatted away to Mr Blair and told him he'd acquired a Cher fitness video for him at a car boot sale! Wow, imagine a spandex clad Blair. Actually, maybe that's not such a good idea, there's not enough counselling in the world. Sources claimed that Tony Blair had known what was going on and had simply played along until a member of his staff cut the call, but we imagine many a lawyer has had a hand in that statement.
In 1995 Culshaw featured in Richard Curtis' comic relief movie Oliver II: Let's Twist Again. Following on from that came numerous slots on C4's Big Breakfast and guest appearances on They Think It's All Over, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Call My Bluff – quite a feat for someone pretending to be other people. Culshaw also made it big on radio with And This is Them on Radio 2 and his sideline with Chris Moyles on Radio 1 as the crew's very own impressionist. He also cheered up Capital FM's Steve Penk Show with his infamous wind-up phone calls, finally hitting the jackpot with Dead Ringers for Radio 4, which then moved onto the TV screen.
Later Culshaw joined the BBC's The Impressions show where being able to sound like other celebrities didn't quite cut it. Instead, Culshaw would spend hours in the make-up chair in order to be turned into anyone from Gok Wan to Lord Sugar – who'd have thought those two names would ever be in the same sentence! No celebrity appeared to be safe from Culshaw's witty take-offs and the gags often had a playful dig at the celebs, like Katie Price marrying a different celebrity every week - even Michael Winner!
By 2001 Culshaw had stepped it up a gear, inviting celebrity guests onto his show, Alter Ego, to interview them, whilst at the same time impersonating them. We imagine this could've been a bit of a risky trick if he'd got it wrong, but Culshaw claims that most of his targets don't bear any hard feelings against his tongue in cheek impressions. When Culshaw threw caution to the wind and impersonated Prince Charles at St James's Palace to celebrate The Archers' 50th anniversary he actually earned a polite chuckle from the Prince of Wales himself. Culshaw was probably hoping to bag himself a Sir to put in front of his name, but one must learn to walk before they can run.
With three hundred and fifty impressions under his belt we wonder if Jon Culshaw will ever truly feel like he has made it until someone impersonates him. Although, we doubt many people have actually heard Culshaw's real voice, as we imagine wherever he goes he is asked to impersonate someone or other. Not that he probably minds too much, speaking like Frank Bruno or Bill Clinton must make a visit to a drive through McDonald's far more interesting!