News, Culture & Society

Inside the head of… Al Murray

Al Murray, 49, is best known for his comic creation the Pub Landlord. A Genesis-loving rock drummer and cricket fan, he stood against Nigel Farage in the 2015 General Election… but received only 318 votes in the constituency of South Thanet.

What is your earliest Christmas memory?

Waiting up for Santa, going downstairs and seeing my dad scoffing the treats we’d left out. Which didn’t bother me – if you didn’t nail it down, he’d have it.

What will you do this Christmas Day?

If all goes according to plan, I’ll be falling asleep in front of the TV just before the Queen’s Speech and waking up in the middle of Doctor Who and not understanding the plot. It’s a woman this year, isn’t it? A chilling nightmare sci-fi vision of the future – a woman Doctor.

‘If all goes according to plan, I’ll be falling asleep in front of the TV just before the Queen’s Speech and waking up in the middle of Doctor Who’

Best-ever Christmas present?

It’s always best not to get overexcited about stuff. A MiniDisc player once seemed like the greatest gift ever, didn’t it? Maybe I’m showing my age, but there’s no point getting excited about anything, is there?

Worst-ever Christmas present?

That MiniDisc player. No one put their albums out on MiniDisc.

Best-ever Christmas song?

I am a huge fan of the original Band Aid record. It was a simpler time, when Duran Duran and Spandau could down tools and work together on one godawful record rather than two.

Who would be your dream dinner date?

Vladimir Putin. What makes the big man tick? Does he eat dinner with his shirt off? Is he really some sort of Bond villain in a lair? Has he really got that video of President Trump?

What’s your greatest fear?

I’ll admit it, earlier in the year, I was worried in a way I’ve not been since the first Gulf War when it looked like Ant and Dec might not come back on telly.

Who do you dislike the most?

If I wanted to get down with the kids I suppose I’d say Tony Blair, but all he was trying to do was get us more wins on our Champions of the World belt.

What is your most treasured possession?

The sweet gift of friendship. That’s what it’s all about.

What law would you change if you could?

There is no doubt in my mind that all current laws around deep-fat fryers and hygiene are way too stringent.

Describe the best night of your life

Karaoke: I’ll admit it, on a good night with a following wind I can out-sing Meatloaf.

What is the best advice you’ve ever had?

‘Neither a borrower nor a lender be.’ That was the best bit of advice I’ve ever had and I wish I’d bloody taken it.

What should all men know about women?

That they’re just like men really, except they’re totally not at all in any way.

Have you ever cheated death?

Several times, yes. And having ‘died’ in four consecutive pub fires for tax and insurance purposes, it’s not just death I’ve cheated.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

The whole country needs to go back to when it was last truly happy – 1955. After the war, and before we blew it at Suez. But obviously 1955 with PlayStation 3, HDTV, cappuccinos, chicken tikka, wet-wipes and inhalers.

What is the worst pain you’ve experienced?

Despite what people say, it’s not standing on a Lego brick. Nor is it a broken heart or the loss of a loved one. No, it’s the scrape of new alloys on a kerb.

What song do you want at your funeral?

Who Wants To Live Forever by Queen. There’s no point having something played at your funeral that isn’t going to upset people.

What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?

The history of the dry roasted peanut, 1928-2009.

‘Al Murray’s Make Christmas Great Again’ is at 9pm, Dec 22 on ITV. He will also appear in ‘Jack And The Beanstalk’ at the New Wimbledon Theatre until Jan 14 


Last film you saw?

The Wild Geese, which I watch once a week for personal reasons

Last book you read?

The manual for my Jag. Though only the front half of the car is a Jag, the back half is a Daimler. They don’t make them like that anymore.

Last TV show you loved?

I am much taken with the new Star Trek because it’s a great excuse to watch the old Star Trek and grumble about how telly isn’t like it was…