For the teenage Alan Carr, Blackpool was a ‘perfect’ weekend destination during his father Graham’s short-lived stint as Blackpool Football Club manager.
And he somewhat sadly admits the tenure could have been longer.
It was heaven to live in BlackpoolAlan Carr
His dad was given the boot after a 4-0 defeat to Tranmere, after a brief run in which he never managed to win over fans, who reportedly spat at him from the stands.
Despite the not-so-warm welcome for his father, Alan’s fondness for the place remains.
Carr returns on Thursday to perform at the Grand Theatre for his first ever performance in the resort.
“It was heaven to live there,” Alan says. “We were looking for a house to buy, while the club put us up in this rented accommodation above a laundrette, and my dad got sacked on Christmas Eve.
“I was like Tiny Tim, walking up and down the Golden Mile,” he adds, with the readiness to laugh at himself that fans of TV show Alan Carr Chatty Man will recognise.
That’s not the only familiar thing; the voice, it’s real.
Although Alan’s time calling Blackpool home was cut short, it was a regular destination when he worked in Manchester and he still calls into the town – where he also has a waxwork on show in Madame Tussauds.
On a recent trip to Preston, he found his tour manager had never been to Blackpool so planned a day out.
“I didn’t tell Tussaud’s I was going or anything,” he said. “And there was a family standing there, looking at my waxwork saying ‘it looks nothing like him’ and then did a double take when they spotted me.
“I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head for laughing.
“But I do end up being drawn to the place.”
One of Alan’s ‘most surreal moments ever’ also happened here; helping to talk a man out of a suicide attempt on North Pier, when he was having a drink with Lionel Blair.
Yet, through all these Blackpool experiences – he even switched on the Lights in 2009 and is featured on the Comedy Carpet too – he’s never actually played a tour show here.
This surprising fact will be put right on Thursday, when he stops off at the Grand Theatre as part of the Yap Yap Yap tour.
And he enjoying a return to theatre-type venues after playing arenas.
“I’ve performed everywhere, but never Blackpool so it’s going to be a real treat for me,” Alan said.
“The audiences in the North are the best, especially if the Blackpool audience is half as much fun as when I come and walk around.
“And the acoustics in the Grand will be amazing if it’s a Frank Matcham theatre.
“I found arena tours a bit unsatisfying.
“I realised I got more enjoyment, and the audience too, if it’s a bit looser and a bit ad lib-by which means each one’s a unique show.
“I’m not going to try out something new in front of 12,000 people in an arena. But a theatre is manageable, you can see people’s eyes and hear the laughter. In an arena, even the front row is a long way back.”