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Son surprises dad on 70th birthday with tune on piano after learning to play in secret for a decade

A son surprised his father on his 70th birthday with a rendition of his favourite song on the piano live on BBC Breakfast – after learning the instrument in secret for 10 years.

TV producer and chief executive of WhizzKid Entertainment Malcolm Gerrie, from Newcastle upon Tyne, had no idea why he’d been invited onto the show this morning.  

Hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty then introduced his son Olly Ginelli, who revealed he had been working on something ahead of his special day.

Explaining that his father had ‘a brief lapse in faith in him’ 13 years ago, he explained: ‘Dad I don’t know if you remember, I was 17 and I told you I was planning on learning jazz piano when I was older, and you were with George Fuller and you just laughed. 

TV producer and chief executive of WhizzKid Entertainment Malcolm Gerrie, from Newcastle upon Tyne, had no idea why he’d been invited onto the show this morning

‘You both just laughed at me. You probably forgot it the next minute, but as a young 17-year-old it set me on to what is on live TV now!’

Olly, a film maker, said the conversation ‘sat with him’, so when he was 20 he decided to master it in secret and surprise him for his birthday to prove him wrong.

He told how he spent the next decade learning to play the piano on and off, with the view to one day surprising his father with his skills.

Olly kept a video diary of his efforts, which showed him practising in various different bedrooms over the years and while studying at Leeds University.

Hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty then introduced his son Olly Ginelli, who revealed he had been working on something ahead of his special day

Hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty then introduced his son Olly Ginelli, who revealed he had been working on something ahead of his special day

‘It was a year and then it was three years, and then it was five years,’ he said. ‘Come to 2020, I just thought, I have to do this. If I learn one song, my dad is 70 this year, I’ve got three months.’ 

When lockdown was imposed in March, Olly said it took away all distractions and meant he could finally focus on getting his ‘project’ finished. 

Asked how he thought his father would react, Olly said: ‘ The fact that it’s going to be live on the BBC, I can’t imagine what his face is going to do. 

‘I hope he reacts well, I hope he’s impressed. My dad has no clue that I’ve spent 10 years on and off practising the piano because he laughed at me.’

Olly told how he spent the next decade learning to play the piano on and off, with the view to one day surprising his father with his skills

Olly told how he spent the next decade learning to play the piano on and off, with the view to one day surprising his father with his skills

Stunned, Malcolm exclaimed: ‘ What a bad dad! I used to be a school teacher and I’ve worked in music all my life and television, and to laugh at somebody’s ambition, I’m going to go and jump in the River Tyne I think!’

He added: ‘Wow, I’m so blown away and I’m so proud of you son, this is the best 70th birthday present anyone could give anyone.’

Olly then took it away with a jazzy rendition of Sam Cooke’s Summertime – one of Malcolm’s ‘favourite songs of all time’.

His dad was clearly blown away, admitting: ‘It was just the best present, I was really impressed. 

Determined to master jazz piano, Olly started learning to play way back in 2010 - in secret

Determined to master jazz piano, Olly started learning to play way back in 2010 – in secret

Olly kept a video diary of his efforts, which showed him practising in various different bedrooms over the years and while studying at Leeds University

Olly kept a video diary of his efforts, which showed him practising in various different bedrooms over the years and while studying at Leeds University

Olly kept a video diary of his efforts, which showed him practising in various different bedrooms over the years and while studying at Leeds University

When lockdown was imposed in March, Olly said it took away all distractions and meant he could finally focus on getting his 'project' finished - and he performed this morning (pictured)

When lockdown was imposed in March, Olly said it took away all distractions and meant he could finally focus on getting his ‘project’ finished – and he performed this morning (pictured)

‘All the little flourishes – I worked with Jools Holland all my life and I think Jools has got a bit of competition, son!’

Olly then jokingly set his dad the challenge of spending the next 10 years learning to play the flute.  

Emotional viewers took to social media to praise the sweet moment – and Olly’s piano skills.

One tweeted: ‘Aaaah, that’s beautiful. Ollie, well done! Very nice… Happy 70th Malcolm.’

Another wrote: ‘@BBCBreakfast Olly amazing, happy birthday Malcolm, such a great story.’ 

His dad Malcolm was clearly blown away, admitting: 'It was just the best present, I was really impressed'

His dad Malcolm was clearly blown away, admitting: 'It was just the best present, I was really impressed'

His dad Malcolm was clearly blown away, admitting: ‘It was just the best present, I was really impressed’

Viewers took to social media to praise the sweet moment - and Olly's impressive piano skills

Viewers took to social media to praise the sweet moment – and Olly’s impressive piano skills

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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