The 5-Minute Interview: Michael Barrymore, Entertainer

'I'm slowly developing into Scrooge - except that I'm generous'
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Michael Barrymore, 54, stars in 'Scrooge - The Musical', an adaptation of Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'. The show will tour theatres throughout the UK until February 2007, starting tonight at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton.

Playing Scrooge requires ...

Someone who can do the numbers. I guess I must be old enough to play Scrooge now. The director asked me if I wanted to do it as an actor or as an entertainer, which I didn't want to do. It turned out to be the right decision because I feel very comfortable acting the part. In fact I've just had my hair cropped short and I'm slowly developing into Scrooge - except that I'm generous.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be ...

Going through my lines before doing the tech-run for the opening scene where I walk into my office and [Bob] Cratchett is asleep on the floor.

A phrase I use far too often is ...

"Sweet as" or "she'll be right". It's an expression I picked up from living in New Zealand.

The most surprising thing that ever happened to me was...

Getting to where I have got to in showbiz because when I was a kid it was just a dream. I didn't think it was achievable.

I thought stars came from somewhere else not where I came from - working class down in the docks, full of rats, no money, no dad, mum struggling to bring three kids up.

A common misperception of me is....

That I'm unpredictable and off the wall, which is what I am in my work but not in my everyday life. I'm actually quite shy and quiet.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sara Newman