By Bejay Browne
PAPHOS audiences have been wiping away tears of laughter as English Cypriot double act Stavros Flatley visited the island for two shows, hot on the heels of a British Airways promotion to launch a new route from Gatwick to Larnaca.
The flights were celebrated at Gatwick Airport by the pair who shot to fame after appearing on a UK television show – Britain’s Got Talent – four years ago. Stavros Flatley, a tongue-in-cheek father and son act, still enjoy a massive following.
“We were dancing for joy when we heard that British Airways would be starting the flights. We come back to Cyprus for holidays and to visit friends and family every year so it’s great to have more flights to choose from,” said Demi Demetriou, the father part of the act.
In 2009, the rotund pair – shirtless and usually in wigs – performed a comedy dance turn which they describe as “two fat versions of Michael Flatley – with a Greek twist”.
They finished fourth in the finals of the TV show. Now, son Lakis is aged 17 and as tall as his father, but the act still works well.
Demi says he doesn’t really understand why the pair was embraced so warmly during the competition, adding that the best part of the duo’s rise to fame is the fantastic response from audiences and fans.
“I don’t know why people love us so much. If I knew what it is was, I would bottle it and sell it, people have been so great to us,” he said.
He added that the notoriety which comes with TV fame hasn’t changed him at all, except that he’s much more patient now.
Demitriou, who lives in Enfield in north London, said: “The Cypriot community was so supportive of us.”
According to the dancing dad, the idea to appear on Britain’s Got Talent was down to Lakis, and the pair couldn’t believe they got through to the semi finals.
“It was never planned, we thought we would go and do a gag for a laugh and go home, that was it. You never know what’s round the corner.”
Stavros Flatley also realised one of their dreams just months ago as they took part in the 100th Royal Variety performance in front of Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Demitriou said: “For us it didn’t matter not winning and we still got to perform at the Royal Variety performance last November, It was amazing meeting the queen, we’ve got a picture with her she’s lovely.”
Demitriou told the Sunday Mail: “We are working two or three times a week now. We do everything from weddings to parties, birthdays and corporate events.”
The two men are in Cyprus on a working holiday and appeared on the ‘Wavedancer’ day cruise on July 15 and 18. They say they hope to be back in the near future.
Demitriou has family in both Limassol and Larnaca and says he speaks good Greek, albeit village Greek, but he manages to get by. “But I can only read and write like a five-year-old,” he said.
He laughingly added the importance of ‘keeping his figure.’
“My excuse is that I can’t lose wait because of the act, but actually, I love food.”
Wife, Karen, and daughter, Ellie, are proud of their menfolks’ success.
“Karen had front row seats at the Royal Variety show this year, she loves what we do.”
Before his rise to fame, Demitriou was a restaurateur and an electrician, which he says he has given up as he’s terrible at it.
“I’ve been electrocuted twice and cut my leg.
I’m a really bad electrician, so I’ve stopped. If you see me turn up at your house just shut the door on me – I’m really that bad,” he laughs.
Stavros Flatley is now booked for events around three times a week and Lakis is attending college to become an electrician.
“It’s a much better idea than learning from me,” says his father.
The pair also undertakes a lot of charity work and are patrons of two. “We try and do as much as we can. The best thing is when people recognise us and you see the smile on their faces, it’s really lovely.”
He says he and his son don’t think they are famous as such. “We’re just well known – there’s a difference. I love it, but you can’t pick your nose in public.”