Friday, 02 October 2015

First Impressions: Alexander Armstrong

…is an English comedian, actor and television presenter. Formerly one half of the comedy duo Armstrong & Miller with Ben Miller, Armstrong is also a classically trained baritone, and he releases his debut album this November.

What are you working on at the moment?
My album, an ITV series, and an accompanying book, about the Arctic, Danger Mouse, and a Pointless book for the TV game show.

When are you at your happiest?
When the sun is shining and none of us have anything to do. When there is perhaps a dog that needs walking before putting something delicious into the oven for supper.

What is your greatest fear?
Heights. I once had to film something up a tree. They said, ‘Don’t worry you’ve got a harness.’ It was about 120ft up. It wasn’t a harness I could feel, I would only have known how effective it was if I fell. At 120ft, it would feel like 120ft, harness or not.

What is your earliest memory?
I have sensation memories from in the womb. I know that sounds like nonsense but I’m certain of it.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
I’m quite awkward in company I don’t know.

Who has been your greatest influence?
My housemaster from school, my director of music when I was at Cambridge, a lovely man from our village at home. I have a cadre of 15 to 20 heroes.

What is your most treasured possession?
I think if I lost any possessions I would probably get by. My most treasured possession – cue bottom-lip wobble – my family!

What trait to you most deplore in others?

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I have ears like Jodrell Bank Observatory. And my hearing is going; I spent my teenage years playing the drums, shooting and listening to loud music.

What is your favourite book?
The Great Gatsby.

What is your favourite film?

QandA-590-2Clockwise from left: Charade stars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, a steak and kidney pudding, Racing Demon and Scott-Fitzgerald’s classic

And your favourite piece of music?
Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

What is your favourite meal?
You can’t beat a good pie – steak and kidney pudding.

Who would you most like come to dinner?
People I dearly love. I’d far rather see them than some crusty old figure from history.

What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?
Some people just have a loathing of you when they’ve never met you. You can be bitterly hurt by bilious comments. Maybe they hate me with great justification, but occasionally you get some terrible things written about you by people you’ve never met. I find that quite hard to deal with.

What is your secret vice?

Do you write thank-you notes?
Absolutely! Sometimes late, but I think in my defence, it shows I’m conscientious.

Which phrase do you most overuse?
‘Wow’ or ‘say that again’. There’s going to come a time when I just have to face it and wander around with a massive ear bugle.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
If a lorry turned up with a tonne of gold, that would probably sort most things out.

Tell us one thing people might not know about you.
I am one of the world’s best Racing Demon players. It’s not an Olympic event, but when it is…

What would you like your epitaph to read?
I think our family motto ‘domini est terra’. I’m slightly allergic to witty epitaphs.

Alexander Armstrong: A Year Of Songs is released on 6 November on East West Records. His UK tour starts on 17 January:

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