IF anyone is qualified to talk about Elvis Presley, then it has to be Jerry Schilling.

He first met the King of Rock and Roll when he was just 12 and became a lifelong friend of the singer.

For the first time, Jerry now 77, will be coming to the UK to take part in the ultimate Elvis concert at Manchester Arena which will feature the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra playing live accompanying Elvis himself who will appear in original concert footage. The show will also see Elvis’s original TCB band reforming to play live on stage.

Jerry will join Priscilla Presley to introduce the show and to share some memories of his friend and to show some rare home footage of the ultimate performer.

“I think that if he was still with us, Elvis would have got up there and performed and started to conduct the orchestra too. He’s certainly up there smiling down on us, that’s for sure,” said Jerry. “I’m really excited that the TCB Band will be there too.

“It is the closest thing to being on tour with Elvis.”

Jerry became part of Elvis’s entourage and saw him perform hundreds of shows throughout his career.

“Elvis fed off an audience,” said Jerry. “That was his happiest time when he walked out there on stage. I was often with him before he went on and he would always get very nervous.”

The concert later this month marks the 50th anniversary of Elvis beginning his marathon run of shows in Las Vegas which lasted until 1977.

“When we were in Vegas we had this ritual before he went on,” said Jerry. “The theme would be being played and the curtains would be closed and we’d be there tussling behind the scenes - it was like weightlifting for him. When the curtains opened he wanted to be bigger than life - and he was.”

As well as being a friend of Elvis, Jerry has had his own successful career in the music industry. He managed both the Bee Gees and Jerry Lee Lewis and has been heavily involved in documentaries about his friend, most notably the recent documentary The Searcher.

“Anything I do on Elvis my criteria especially the films I produce is, would I be comfortable sat beside him watching this?” said Jerry.

“In my head I imagine him saying ‘hey, that was nice’. Anything we do regarding Elvis has to be done right and that is why the show with the orchestra has proved to be so successful.”

The show has played to sold out crowds in the UK before but this will be the first time that Jerry has had the opportunity to come to these shores. although he was involved in a recent tour of Australia.

“When I first walked out on to that stage I was petrified,” he said.

“After all, I’m a behind the scenes guy – I’m a producer and a personal manager – but then I got that feeling of excitement of when I was on tour with Elvis. I got to experience that audience reaction again.

“Elvis fans are the greatest audiences and they made me feel so comfortable. By the end of that tour I didn’t want it to end, I was loving it.”

For all his hits and his fame, Jerry still believes that in one area Elvis remains much undervalued.

“He was the most unrecognised music producer in music history,” he said. “In the documentaries I have produced they show Elvis in the studio and you see a producer at work.

“He picked the songs, he picked the musicians – you can watch him telling the bass player ‘no, do it this way’ or telling the backing singers when to come in.

“It was all done in a nice way but he was very much in charge.

“Elvis was the type of artist who wanted the input of the musicians he worked with.

“He wanted their input - that’s why he brought them in.”

For the arena shows, fans can expect some new songs, new footage and new stories.

“This will be the first time that Priscilla and I have hosted a show together,” said Jerry. “We have been going through our home movies to sort out some stuff but we pretty much want to do it off the cuff, we don’t want it to be too scripted.

“Between all of us, me, Priscilla and the TCB Band we knew the man quite well both professionally and personally and we are going to share that knowledge and talent with Elvis up there on big screen with the audience.

“We will be bringing a new show to audiences in the UK with new footage and some new added songs and with the TCB band and orchestra and the huge screen with Elvis it’s going to be top notch quality film. It’s quite an experience and I’m proud to be part of it.

“For me and I think for Priscilla too, when we are doing that show he is there with us. It’s his voice, his presence, his audience and his band. It’s his being.

“I don’t know how many hundreds of shows I was with him on but it was always fun, it was always emotional.

“He just had a way of interpreting a song in a way that everybody out in that audience felt that he was just singing to them. I think that was one of the most amazing qualities that he had – he made it personal.”

Elvis in Concert: the Greatest Hits tour, Manchester Arena, Monday, November 25. Details from www.ticketmaster.co.uk