PUBLISHED: 10:49 18 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:41 20 February 2013
Gyles Brandreth brings his show to the Norwich Playhouse
One to one with Gyles
Hes been an MP, a royal biographer, is the founder of the Teddy Bear Museum and sported famously garish jumpers during his breakfast TV days. Now Gyles Brandreth tells Angi Kennedy he has a show-full of celebrity insights to share with his Norfolk fans.
Language has long been the passion of Gyles Brandreth. He wields it with vigour, charm and enthusiasm. It is that rather cultured tone, sharp wit and delightful sense of the ridiculous that he brings to everything from Radio Fours Just A Minute quiz to his thrice-weekly slot on BBC1s The One Show.
And it was his love of language that brought him to Norfolk many years ago.
I used to come to the county a lot in the old days, he remembers. I used to do Chatterbox for Anglia TV basically a speaking competition for children, encouraging them to become more articulate.
Since I am such a great advocate of the English language, I was asked along. I also did quite a lot of late night readings I seem to remember; Im going back more than 30 years.
I know Norwich well, and I was in Norfolk recently investigating Horatio Nelsons county for The One Show.
And soon he will be back in the city again to bring his one-man production Gyles Brandreth: The One To One Show to Norwich Playhouse as part of a 46-date tour following his very successful staging at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
It is me doing stand-up. Ive been asked to take the show to Australia next year but should I go? he pauses. Well, my future rests on how well it goes down in Norwich on December 7.
An ex-MP turned comedian? Gyles is so much more and far funnier than that might suggest. His life has taken him down so many different routes (acting, writing, singing, dancing, presenting...) and his cheeky charm has opened so many doors for him, that his stories are as celebrity-riddled and outrageous as you could desire.
It is really based around the people I have had the privilege of meeting over the years, from the great actors like John Gielgud and Michael Redgrave through to Michael Jackson, he explains. Ill also talk about my life on The One Show, with people like Christine Bleakley and her charming Welsh successor.
Basically it is a collection of funny stories and outrageous name dropping from my life in the entertainment industry and also in politics.
Gyles, of course, was the Conservative MP for Chester and a government whip during John Majors days as prime minister.
Oh yes, I lift the lid on life at Westminster, he chuckles. I reveal what the politicians really think of the public!
Father of three and married to publisher Michele Brown, Gyles has been busy with the tour and his One Show commitments in recent months, but he is also now working on the fifth of his Oscar Wilde murder mysteries which are based on the real-life friendship of Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle, two of his lifelong personal heroes.
The first book is being adapted for TV, due out in 2012, he reveals. Whenever I have had enough of the 21st century I love to climb into my time machine and write about Oscar Wilde.
I adore him because he truly was a master of language. The murder mysteries are based on real events and real people, but the stories are my own invention.
As are many of the witty comments that litter his conversation. I turned down the chance to go on Strictly Come Dancing this winter, you know, he confides.
They begged and begged but I said No I am going to the Norwich Playhouse and I refuse to let my Norfolk audience down. I told them to see if Ann Widdecombe was free instead...
I do think I would have enjoyed it but somehow I imagine I wouldnt be quite as stylish as John Sergeant and yet not quite so attractive as Ann.
Gyles Brandreth: The One To One Show presented by Bound and Gagged Comedy is at Norwich Playhouse on Tuesday, December 7. Tickets, priced 16, are selling fast; contact the box office on 01603 598598.