My Secret Life: Alexander Armstrong, 42, comedian

'I dare say my house is haunted'

My parents are… tremendous adventurers. At every stage of my career, every time I've stepped away from what may have been the sensible path, my parents have said, "Yes, go for it!".

The household I grew up in… was right in the middle of nowhere. The nearest village was a place called Pauperhaugh which was a village in the sense that it had a phone box and a bridge. By the time I got down south I had decades to catch up on. We only got colour television in 1978.

When I was a child I wanted to be… I come from a very long line of doctors, back to the middle of the 17th century, so I wanted to be one of those.

If I could change one thing about myself… I'd up my hand-eye coordination a couple of notches. I'd like merely to be an indifferent tennis player.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at… I'm a trained classical baritone.

You may not know it but I'm no good at… I am very shy with people I don't know. I'm positively awkward.

At night I dream of… climbing and being high up – and having to climb down. I don't know what that signifies. If anyone fancies having an amateur pop at interpreting it I'm open to all comers.

I wish I had never worn… a pair of things called Polyveldts, in the 1970s. They were terrible shoes.

What I see when I look in the mirror… Quite a tired face. We have three very young children.

It's not fashionable but I like… country music.

I drive… an Audi Q7.

My house is… The one in Oxfordshire is an old vicarage. It's lovely. I dare say it's probably haunted; 1612 it was built. But it's got such a lovely feel to it.

My favourite work of art… would be a William Nicholson watercolour. I would sit back and relax if I had one.

A book that changed me… The Dukan Diet. I read it last year and lost two stone. It physically changed me.

The last album I bought/downloaded… Smith and Burrows' Funny Looking Angels.

My greatest regret… is that I didn't know either of my grandfathers as a grown-up. One died before I was born and the other when I was 12 or 13. I would have loved to have talked to both of them now. One was a doctor and the other was one of the architects of the IMF.

My secret crush… Cheryl Cole.

My five-year plan… I always have one. Now it is probably to move out of London. That will be a big deal and I will work like a madman until then, and then take my foot off the gas a bit.

What's the point? Happiness.

My life in six words… It's all pretty good so far.

A life in brief

Alexander Armstrong was born in 1970 in Rothbury, Northumberland. He went to Trinity College, Cambridge on a choral scholarship and joined the Footlights theatre group. He moved to London to pursue a career in comedy, and met fellow Cambridge graduate Ben Miller with whom he formed a longstanding double act. He lives in London and Oxfordshire with his wife Hannah and their three sons. A new series of the panel show Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask starts on Dave on 26 February

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company provides global satellite communi...

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Ashdown Group: HR Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms