It’s a little-known fact that comedian Alan Carr was born in Weymouth and, as he tells Joanna Davis, it’s going to be a fantastic feeling returning to Dorset on his latest tour
Alan Carr is on a roll in our conversation.
He throws the words ‘grockles’ and ‘fairy lights’ and into our chat and you really sense that this is a man who knows Weymouth well.
Often referred to as ‘from Northampton’, not many people are aware that Alan spent some of his formative years growing up in Weymouth, working at a seafront hotel, his dad managing the football team and echoing the thoughts of many locals with his passion for the town’s long-gone fairy lights. But more on that later.
Like many, he hasn’t had the easiest of times during the pandemic with his marriage to his husband Paul Drayton ending following Paul’s conviction for drink driving.
Alan has spoken frankly to the media about his divorce and tells me: “My personal life sort of deteriorated. I just didn’t know what to do with the drink driving thing.”
It’s thought the marriage failed to recover after Paul shared a photo of his black eye and claimed it happened after a row. He then removed the photo after an hour and confirmed the next day via a statement that ‘Alan would not and has never hit him’.
But the 45-year-old comedian is now looking ahead to a brighter future and is a man in demand, hosting Interior Design Masters on BBC1, host of podcast ‘Life’s a Beach’ and appearing as a guest judge on Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK and also has a new homes show lined up with no other than Amanda Holden, which will see the pair mucking in and renovating homes in Italy.
His current tour, Regional Trinket, a riff upon him these days being referred to as a ‘national treasure’, is Alan’s most personal to date, which sees him drawing upon stories from his life. Beginning in 2021, there was a lot to rewrite after his marriage ended.
“Covid was done and then with my personal life I had to write it on the hoof, as it were. It’s exciting but it’s also really nerve-racking. I didn’t want to cancel any shows. It’s a really personal tour and I feel like after Covid you go on stage and it’s absolutely electric and everyone is like ‘let’s have some fun.’
“When I hosted the Royal Variety performance, it was the third time I’d performed, but this was the first time I’d hosted it and it can be quite stuffy there and it takes a while to warm up, but my God, as soon as I stepped on the stage, it was like ‘wow’. Everyone was like ‘let’s just have a night off, away from Covid, let’s just have this wonderful evening and that’s what it’s been like on my tour.”
The longest stint of Alan’s Regional Trinket tour sees him performing in Bournemouth for four nights, from May 19 to May 22.
Ever modest, he says: “I don’t really know why I’m so popular there!”
Alan was born in Portwey Hospital on June 14, 1976.
He says: “I was born in Weymouth, I worked at the Prince Regent Hotel and my brother worked at the end of the pier selling ice-creams and candy floss.
“I’m fully aware that there are two prices, one for the grockles and one for the locals. I get it! I just love Dorset, going down there. When I’m not working I’ve got some good friends down there and we always have the best time and have such a laugh and I just think…..that beach!
“But those coloured lights down there were lovely and they’ve replaced them with those awful bloody lasers!”
I let Alan know that he’s not the only one who misses the fairy lights – it remains a bone of contention for many Echo readers, even though said lights were removed back in 2011.
Alan enthuses: “Can I start a campaign to bring back the fairy lights?!
“I was down in Weymouth last time doing A League of Their Own, we went out fishing with Marco Pierre White. We had the best time there. It’s so beautiful, I love it. That’s the last time I was down there – being seasick trying to catch a bloody fish!”
I inform Alan that he is fondly thought of in Weymouth and when his father Graham was manager of Weymouth FC, a reader let us know that a young Alan would travel on the team bus and was ‘very funny and quick-witted and always ready to have a laugh with you.’
“I remember one one of my earliest memories is being in the bath with the footballers!” Alan said.
“Everyone used to get in the bath – me, my dad. It was all different times and very innocent then. I suppose when you’re four or five it’s like swimming in the Pacific Ocean!
“Every time I think of Weymouth. I always think of sunshine. It holds a very special place in my heart.
“I love exploring and I’m a member of the National Trust so you probably will see me mincing along Lulworth Cove!”
At this stage Alan and I get into a long and detailed discussion about a Bollywood film shot with Durdle Door in the background, which internationally popularised the Dorset landmark as film fans flocked there for Instagram pictures.
“Listen, I’m there for four days. I might just watch the film one day and then go and recreate some of those iconic scenes at Durdle Door.”
People of Dorset, you have been warned!
Alan Carr’s Regional Trinket tour is at Bournemouth Pavilion on May 19, 20, 21 and 22. There are some tickets remaining for May 19 and May 22. Go to bhlivetickets.co.uk or call 01202 055555.