Of course the ukulele's a real instrument! Our beloved Prime Minister plays it -- it must be!! More to the point, anyone who's heard George Formby Jnr in one of his astonishing breaks must know that it's real.
Steve Parkes and I once dreamed up the idea of creating an enormous orchestra of the 'little' instruments --- ukeleles, banjoleles, ukelele-banjos, mandolins, kazoos, mouth harps, thumb pianos etc --- and recording the '1812 Overture' with them. I think what ended the idea was a failure to decide whether to use pop-guns or cap pistols for the cannon in the finale. Still --- if anyone wants the idea, I'd love to hear the result!