Michael Barrymore charged with cocaine possession

Entertainer bailed to appear in court next month after car crash

The comic entertainer Michael Barrymore has been charged with cocaine possession and being drunk and disorderly following a car crash.

The former host of ITV shows Strike It Lucky and My Kind of People was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday and has been bailed to appear in court next month.

Scotland Yard confirmed last night that the 59-year-old had been arrested with a second man after a car they were both travelling in hit a roadside kerb in Acton, west London. The police declined to say whether the second man, who was also bailed, has been charged with any suspected offences.

Police are investigating who was driving the Citroën DS3 when the incident occurred.

The arrest is the latest in a series of setbacks for Barrymore, who has struggled to revive his career since the death of Stuart Lubbock at a party at Barrymore's home 10 years ago. Lubbock, 31, was discovered face down in a swimming pool and later declared dead at hospital. Post mortem findings suggested that he had suffered internal injuries consistent with a sexual assault and that he had ingested cocaine and ecstasy on the night he died. An inquest later recorded an open verdict. The Independent Police Complaints Commission subsequently upheld six complaints relating to the case, including the claim that officers had not properly secured evidence at the scene.

Once one of the highest paid performers in the country and regarded as the king of light entertainment shows, Barrymore saw lucrative contracts cancelled. He had been drawing 13 million viewers to his shows at one stage.

Since Lubbock's death, Barrymore has flitted in and out of the spotlight, moving for a time to New Zealand and then returning to the public eye during a stint in the Celebrity Big Brother house in 2006, for which he was reportedly paid £150,000, ending as the runner-up contestant in the series.

He had been due to return to a summer season on the Blackpool North Pier with a show called Barrymore's Big Night earlier this year, but disappointed fans by abandoning the run. Injuries sustained by Barrymore when thrown off a horse in Corsica while filming Celebrity Coach Trip earlier this year was the reason given for the cancellation.

His spokesman said that a MRI scan had shown Barrymore had suffered a minor brain bleed as a result of the incident and that medication to treat the injury caused him to be "very unsteady and disorientated". Mr Barrymore is due to appear before Ealing magistrates on 7 December.

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