Quickfire with Alistair McGowan
Actor and impressionist Alistair McGowan on tinkling the ivories and the gift that moved him to tears
Actor and impressionist Alistair McGowan
Where is home? Where your cat is. Ours – Bunny – shares our Edwardian semi in Southwest London.
Guilty pleasure? Watching old films on Talking Pictures TV with my wife Charlotte.
Career plan B? Playing the piano. I recently did a tour combining comedy with playing classical pieces.
Who would play you in a movie of your life? Adrien Brody.
Biggest bugbear? Upspeak, where people end every sentence with a rising inflection as though it is a question.
As a child you wanted to be… The Leeds United footballer Peter Lorimer.
Earliest memory? Watching BBC quiz show Ask the Family with my family.
Secret to a happy relationship? Let your partner be who they are – don’t try to change or stifle them.
Your worst quality? I’m very unadventurous.
Most romantic thing you’ve ever done? Secretly learn a version of ‘Silent Night’ by contemporary composer Nigel Hess and play it for my wife on Christmas morning.
Advice to teenage self? Get back to playing the piano now, instead of leaving it until you are 49.
Last meal on earth? The hugest bowl of British strawberries.
If I say I’m going to do something, I do it – to the best of my ability
Dream dinner-party guests? Composers Erik Satie and John Field, playwright George Bernard Shaw, cook and author Nigel Slater, TV presenter Kate Humble and actress Jessica Lange.
Starstruck moment? Last year when I was sitting next to Kevin Keegan at a football dinner in Edinburgh. He was charming, interesting and very funny.
Big break? Doing Spitting Image from 1992 until it ended in 1996.
Career highlight? Releasing an album of short classical pieces last year, The Piano Album, which made it to number one in the classical charts.
Favourite tipple? Lapsang souchong tea.
Top of your bucket list? Playing a piano concerto with an orchestra… which is a very remote possibility.
Secret skill? I’m a bit of a cat whisperer.
Philosophy? Treat others as you would be treated yourself.
Biggest lesson you have learnt about money? My mother always taught me it was rude to talk about it.
Where would you time-travel to? The 1950s to ride on the railways before those little rural branch lines were axed.
First record you bought? ‘The Trail of the Lonesome Pine’ by Laurel and Hardy.
Most extravagant purchase? A bronze head that I bought while on holiday in the States.
Best present you ever received? My late father’s wedding ring, which my mum sent to me on my 50th birthday. I was moved to tears.
Biggest fear? Climate change.
Celebrity crush? Newsreader Alice Bhandhukravi, who presents the London News on BBC One.
Happiness is… In everything, if we take time to notice.
- An Evening Shared with Jasper Carrott & Alistair McGowan begins next Sunday in Dorking, Surrey. Dates and venues at jaspercarrott.com