Roll up, roll up for circus royalty in Sheffield

Ring-mistress: Yasmine Smart, has 22 million TV viewers saw her on TV.
Ring-mistress: Yasmine Smart, has 22 million TV viewers saw her on TV.
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ROLL up, roll up. Circus royalty is in town with the king and queen of the big top in Sheffield - legendary ringmaster Norman Barrett and equestrian princess Yasmine Smart.

Norman, aged 76, billed as the ‘world’s greatest’ ringmaster and famed for his performing budgerigars, is celebrating 64 years in the big top including quarter of a century in charge at Blackpool Tower Circus.

Horsing around: Yasmine Smart, as a little girl, who has become circus royalty.

Horsing around: Yasmine Smart, as a little girl, who has become circus royalty.

There his name was synonymous with the likes of world-famous clown Charlie Cairoli, with whom he later starred in the TV series Right Charlie.

Yasmine, aged 58, with her performing horses, is the grand-daughter of ‘Mr Circus’ himself, Billy Smart.

She was the ‘ring-mistress’ of her family’s TV circus specials which attracted 22 million viewers and became a major star in Europe and in America.

Now she is back making her first appearance in Yorkshire for 40 years with Zippos Circus at Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, until Tuesday.

Mr Circus: Legendary Billy Smart with Yasmine, as a little girl, with his other grandchildren.

Mr Circus: Legendary Billy Smart with Yasmine, as a little girl, with his other grandchildren.

Other highlights include France’s famed clowns Duo Delbosq, acrobats and Lucius Zafalon’s death-defying Brazilian motorcycle stunt team, performing in a Globe of Death.

Ringmaster Norman, who was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year honours list, said: “I couldn’t retire and spend my time painting and decorating. I never get bored with it. I still watch every show.  

“The circus  has been my life and I love it. There’s a great family spirit and it’s all teamwork.

Yasmine, whose grandfather’s circus included a 6,000-seater big top, started performing aged 10. She said: “There’s nothing like this job or coming to see a circus live. You can see the magic in people’s eyes and that’s why I’m still enjoying it after all these years”

Equestrian princess Yasmine Smart taking part in Zippos Circus at Endcliffe Park.

Equestrian princess Yasmine Smart taking part in Zippos Circus at Endcliffe Park.

Making a name for himself as a modern great of the circus ring is Lucius, 40, who joins two other stunt bike riders to whiz around inside a round metal cage at up to 70mph. 

He said: “We have to have respect for the prop, the bikes and the speed. There’s no room for mistakes inside. This is a very special team. We have worked six years together and only had two accidents. We are like a family.

Paul Winstone, Zippos executive assistant, aged 40, said: “We really have got circus royalty here with Norman and Yasmine. It’s two hours of fun-packed family entertainment.”

n For details and tickets call 0871 210 2100 - calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras - or visit www.zipposcircus.co.uk

Death Defying: Lucius Zafalon, far right, and his Globe Of Death stunt bike team will entertain crowds at Zippos Circus, Endcliffe Park, Sheffield.

Death Defying: Lucius Zafalon, far right, and his Globe Of Death stunt bike team will entertain crowds at Zippos Circus, Endcliffe Park, Sheffield.

Family fun: Paul Winstone, of Zippos Circus, in Endcliffe Park.

Family fun: Paul Winstone, of Zippos Circus, in Endcliffe Park.

Zippo's Circus which is on this week in Endcliffe Park

Zippo's Circus which is on this week in Endcliffe Park

Circus Royalty: Big top king and queen Norman Barrett and Yasmine Smart. Photo: Graham Walker.

Circus Royalty: Big top king and queen Norman Barrett and Yasmine Smart. Photo: Graham Walker.

Circus Royalty: Big top king and queen Norman Barrett and Yasmine Smart. Photo: Graham Walker.

Circus Royalty: Big top king and queen Norman Barrett and Yasmine Smart. Photo: Graham Walker.