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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent