IT IS fair to say that Henry Hall and Malcolm White, who both once worked in the motor trade, have a few miles on the clock.
With a combined age of 159 years, the flat cap-wearing pair from Doncaster are stretching the term veteran.
But they are the singing pensioners who have taken Britain’s Got Talent by storm.
You made me feel very nostalgic
The two friends breezed through their semi-final on Thursday with their jazzy version of One Direction’s History and tonight will line-up in the grand final.
They are being tipped to go all the way. It has been an incredible journey from the village halls of Yorkshire for Henry, 84, and Malc, 75. Better known as The Pensionalities, they are clearly enjoying every precious minute of it.
In fact the two crooners have been belting out songs together for almost five years now after meeting through a club for retired businessmen and discovering they had a shared passion for song and dance.
The Pensionalities are ready for the Britain's Got Talent final
They teamed up to begin performing at retirement homes, care homes, birthday parties and weddings – any excuse to dust down their vocal chords and sing their favourite tunes by their favourite crooners, especially Frank Sinatra.
To their delight, and not a little surprise, word began to spread and friends suggested they try out for Britain’s Got Talent. Initially the two pals called themselves The Pensionnaires but made the change after discovering a group in Canada was already using the name.
At the BGT audition the duo opted for a rendition of You Make Me Feel So Young, which is a Sinatra number. Scarves and long coats completed their look.
All that was missing was a whippet. They even had Simon Cowell clicking his fingers along to their song and their progress was a mere formality.
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The judge, who is obviously a big fan, has also praised The Pensionalities for creating a feel-good factor and described their performances as “uplifting”.
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A manda Holden added: “I think you’ve both got great voices. You made me feel very nostalgic.”
Alesha Dixon said they proved that “you are never too old to do what you want to do”. It seems that the whole nation has taken Henry and Malc, who received the highest public vote in their semi-final, to its heart.
“Adorable” is one word that keeps recurring while one fan wrote: “You guys are making old age cool.”
Although they didn’t meet each other until after retirement the grandfathers have plenty in common. Both are sons of miners and grew up in neighbouring villages in Yorkshire.
Henry’s father also had a farm and one of his early memories is watching the night sky lit up by German bombers during the Second World War.
“I remember going to school with a gas mask around my neck,” he adds. He left school to work for a cycle and motor cycle firm, earning 29s 6d a week (about £1.50).
Later he ran Cusworth’s, his own car and motorcycle company, for 44 years before it fell victim to the 2009 recession.
Henry Hall and Malcolm White used to worked in the motor trade
Henry married Miriam in 1954 and has three children, including son Chris who revived the family business.
Although he has hung up his leathers Henry often works on motorbikes. Malc left school at 15, worked for a glass company and married his childhood sweetheart Shirley.
However his first love was music and it has been revealed that BGT is not his first tilt at the big time.
In 1966 he became a professional singer, touring working men’s clubs all over the North, but Malc admits: “I was performing in Castleford on one occasion and they wanted a stripper, not a crooner.”
He thought his show business dream was over when he decided to stop singing because he was tired of living out of a suitcase.
“I came home and ran a garage and then retailed furniture and carpets,” he says. “I didn’t sing again in front of an audience for 35 years.”
Younger acts on the show are also loving the pair while it has been pointed out that the pair are so in harmony that they even speak in unison.
“We seem to bounce off each other,” says Henry, who lives in a care home but is defying the ageing process. “It’s extraordinary. It’s almost as if we are brothers.”
Henry and Malc insist it is a partnership of equals and fortunately, when it comes to choice of songs, they share very similar tastes.
“Dance is also a big part of our lives,” says Henry. “We both met our wives at dance halls and even when the kids came along we took them to dances.”
The pair, who donned dinner jackets for the semi-final, are relishing their time in the limelight.
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During a TV appearance Henry left host Lorraine Kelly blushing after taking her hand and remarking: “What we love to do actually is sing love songs to beautiful women.”
Malc still can’t get over being stopped in his local supermarket by autograph and selfie hunters while they are both discovering the power of social media. Malc admits that he sometimes has to pinch himself that they are now only one step away from appearing at the Royal Variety Show, an honour that goes to the winner of BGT.
A senior member of the Royal Family always attends the event so they could find themselves entertaining the Queen in November.
The cheque for £250,000 that also goes to the top act would be the cherry on the icing on the cake but if they do happen to miss out The Pensionalities won’t shed too many tears.
Henry and Malc say they will continue singing regardless of tonight's results
“We have good lives at home, which we are happy to return to,” they say.
“We have wonderful families, wonderful friends and a wonderful social life. We never expected to get this far.”
Tonight’s show was originally scheduled for tomorrow but was moved so it does not clash with the Ariana Grande concert in memory of those who died in the Manchester terror attack.
Whatever happens tonight Henry and Malc say they will continue singing, even if it is only in front of one man and his dog. But something tells us that after their BGT adventure these pensioners, who are on a mission to show that age is just a number, will always pull a crowd.
l The final of Britain’s Got Talent is on ITV tonight at 7.30pm.