In the rollercoaster that is celebrity life, there are very few stories as compelling as Michael Barrymore’s. From his meteoric rise in British light entertainment, through scandal and personal battles, to his sober, happier present self, Barrymore’s journey has been a series of peaks and troughs. Today, the 71-year-old is planning a return to television after rebuilding his life and finding joy in theatre.
Barrymore, best known for his captivating presence in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s television, credits his newfound happiness to a conscious decision made 14 years ago: he quit drinking. This lifestyle shift, Barrymore says, has not only rejuvenated his physical health but also revitalised his spirit. It’s a transformation that has allowed him to rediscover his passion for enSavilletertainment and, more importantly, has brought happiness back into his life.
Barrymore’s stint in Celebrity Big Brother in 2006 was a poignant chapter in his public narrative. Despite a hefty payday, his appearance was marked by bizarre moments that reflected the highs and lows of celebrity life. One of the most surreal episodes featured the late Jimmy Savile, whose infamous legacy as a sexual predator was exposed after his death. Savile’s awkward interactions and bizarre praises for Barrymore now carry a chilling resonance.
Speaking of Barrymore, Saville explained to other housemates: “Let me tell you – unbelievable. He broke the mould. He would go on and people instinctively like him. If you go on stage and you want to make somebody laugh you’ll do something- joke, make something go wrong. He didn’t do anything like that.”
Savile also believed that Barrymore was “the laziest performer in the world”, but meant it as a compliment. “He’d jump up and down. Then all of a sudden he’d get the hump with someone in the audience. Say ‘You’re not laughing – get out’. And it was for real, he’d sling them out. It was unreal. But he did it in such a way it was totally captivating. But there you go.”
Despite the trials, tribulations, and peculiar encounters, Barrymore’s road to redemption has been a demonstration of resilience. Now, the former TV star is stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight once again. With sobriety under his belt and a newfound passion for theatre, Barrymore is not just surviving; he’s thriving.
Currently, he is directing the new West End show Laurel and Chaplin, which has been garnering positive reactions. His behind-the-scenes work has also helped him attract a new generation of fans on social media platforms like TikTok. This progress is a testament to Barrymore’s spirit of endurance and his determination to make a successful comeback. As he continues on this journey of redemption, the public will undoubtedly be watching closely, anticipating what the next chapter of his life will hold.