The 5-minute Interview: Alistair McGowan, Impressionist, comedian and actor

'I'm mistaken for Angus Deayton. He says it never happens to him'


Alistair McGowan, 43, is best known for his comedy sketch show 'The Big Impression', and is also an ambassador for the World Wide Fund for Nature. He is currently starring in 'Cabaret' at London's Lyric Theatre

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

In bed. The beautiful thing about being in a theatre show is that you can legitimately have a long lie-in.

A phrase I use far too often...

"I might have said this to you before, but..." I have an irrational fear of repeating myself.

I wish people would take more notice of...

The weather. I hate seeing someone sitting at home in T-shirt and shorts when it's six degrees outside. Wear jumpers in winter – it cuts your heating bills.

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

When the BBC cancelled Mayo, the detective series I did in 2006. We thought we had a good format that worked well, and we were booked in for five years, but they just scrapped it.

A common misperception of me is...

That I'm Angus Deayton. It happens on average twice a week. The other night, a woman who'd seen the show came backstage to get my autograph. She had a programme with my photograph in it with my name clearly printed underneath it. When I signed it for her, she said: "Thanks Angus." He says it never happens to him.

I am not a politician but...

I can't understand how politicians continue to allow the destruction of the rainforest. World leaders should be ashamed for putting the economy before the survival of the world.

I'm good at...

Being organised, Scrabble, eating fruit and veg, rushing, speaking, trains and forehands.

I'm very bad at...

Being early, being impulsive, drawing, pubs, the internet, cars, noise, being concise and backhands.

The ideal night out is...

A fish pie at Sheekeys, a show at the theatre, a few frames of snooker, Scrabble and a snog.

In moments of weakness I...

Clean.

You know me as a performer but in truer life I'd have been...

A bee. It's a lovely lifestyle. I like honey, flowers, the fur coat and all the colours. And the hours are good too. But I'm not sure how I'd cope with the hive – I'm a bit of a loner. Of course they're an endangered species. But then so are we.

The best age to be is...

I'm enjoying my forties.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

How did I get into this nutshell again and how did I get out the last time?

Cathal Sheerin

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