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

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam