Shamed entertainer Michael Barrymore is set to make his showbusiness comeback with a Blackpool summer season.
The former superstar who suffered a spectacular fall from grace – and nervous collapse – after a body was found at his luxury home in suspicious circumstances, is headlining Michael Barrymore’s Big Night Out at Blackpool North Pier Theatre every Saturday from July 16.
The show is part of a new look summer line-up at the pier’s theatre presented by Blackpool based producer and impresario Duggie Chapman.
“I think the nation is ready to accept Michael back into their hearts,” said Duggie. “It’s not as though charges were ever brought against him – the silliest thing he did was run away and hide.”
Having known the entertainer for 30 years, Duggie invited him to Blackpool a few weeks ago after hearing he was keen to make a comeback.
“We discussed the idea of a season run and he got more and more excited about it,” said Duggie. “He looked and sounded good – he hasn’t been drinking for three years and is going to the gym every day.”
Barrymore first played Blackpool as a support act in 1982 and returned as a bill topper in 1994. He then had a Bank Holiday week with Barrymore’s Back in 1996 and last appeared here in 1998, again at the Opera House.
“He is really looking forward to returning to what he regards as his favourite resort,” said Duggie.
Michael Barrymore’s Big Night Out will also feature a troupe of local youngsters plus vocalist Lynne Fox, magic act Saffire and instrumentalist Andy Eastwood.
The former ratings topper has also recently made a pilot version of a possible future Channel 4 game show.
The North Pier summer season also sees popular duo The Grumbleeeds headlining The Laughter Show every Monday from July 18 together with the pier debut of The Houghton Weavers.
Veteran comedy couple Cannon and Ball headline The Kings of Comedy show every Thursday from July 21. They are joined by funnymen Duncan Norvelle and Stu Francis.
Other shows lined up are Jake and Elwood: The Best Blues Brothers Show In The World -Ever, every Tuesday from July 9 and Rock and Roll Paradise every Wednesday from July 20.
There will also be a summer pantomime when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is presented every Wednesday afternoon at 2pm from July 27 for the school holidays.
“I presented the summer shows on this pier six years ago so when I heard it was available this year it seemed like a good idea to do the same again,” said Duggie. “I think the line-up offers something for everyone – with familiar Blackpool names, colourful production shows and the welcome return of Michael Barrymore.”
n Tickets for all North Pier shows go on sale today from the usual sources.