The impressionist Alistair McGowan is to embark on his first solo stand-up tour in 10 years, and has promised a host of new characters to replace those in need of retirement.
In taking his Edinburgh show The One and Many nationwide, he will impersonate the England football manager Fabio Capello and presenters Adrian Chiles and Gok Wan.
During an interview on the closing day of the The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, McGowan said he was raring to return to the road, having been locked up writing a book with his former acting partner, Ronni Ancona.
"The book was a nice way to take a break," he said in a question-and-answer with Ancona, chaired by The Independent's editor-in-chief, Simon Kelner. "But I am now looking forward to getting back into the impressions."
A source said: "The national tour is something that he has wanted to do for years. He will continue with the football theme, introducing the audience to Steven Gerrard and Tony Adams." The source added that McGowan's new material would include a lot of first-person stand-up. "The star of the show will be Alistair himself," she said.
McGowan and Ancona have co-authored the book A Matter of Life and Death, in which Ancona makes it her mission to get him to kick his addiction to football. The performer, who admitted that he felt alienated by the money and celebrity in the modern game, has succeeded in forcing Gary Lineker to stop watching impressions of him because it made him too aware of his on-screen mannerisms.
But he disclosed that he was badly received by the Big Breakfast presenter Johnny Vaughan. McGowan told the audience: "He [Vaughan] told me, 'Don't do that, don't do that', and I just said, 'Well, I only do what you do'."
Also at the Festival was The Independent's sketchwriter Simon Carr, whose book The Boys are Back in Town, about his struggle to bring up his two sons as a single parent, has been adapted for cinema by Allan Cubitt. The film stars Clive Owen as the writer. Carr joked that people often mistook him for the actor, but added, more seriously, that neither he nor his two sons had yet decided whether they would attend the film's premiere, such was the level of emotion attached to the project.
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