HE’S had two near calls with death, a bruising divorce from his first wife and is now engaged to a girl almost half his age. The rags to riches career of this talented singer could never be described as ‘ho-hum’.

From sorting nuts and bolts in a Manchester factory to singing for the Queen and the Pope is fairytale stuff indeed. But with top ticket prices at the BIC nudging £100, you have to ask yourself if the experience is worth it, or is there more than a sprinkling of pixie-dust and hype inflating the image – and the prices?

If you were at the show last Saturday, you already know the answer. This man is good. No, that’s wrong: this man is outstanding.

His repertoire spans classical music, musicals and traditional favourites. To give you some idea how broad his repertoire is, we were treated to the Song of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s Nabucco, numbers from Les Miserables, Abide with Me and Jerusalem.

And of course no evening with Russell Watson would be complete without Nessun Dorma.

Yes it’s hackneyed, but yes it’s also one of the world’s finest operatic arias.

Miffed at his daring to aspire to opera, the ‘serious’ critics have described his voice as ‘poperetta’. With a full house of adoring fans, I can’t see that losing Watson any sleep.