Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Breaking News – Cameron’s vacuousness an impersonator’s nightmare

Posted on 19 September 2009 | 11:09am

Had a very nice time interviewing Alistair McGowan for Radio 4’s Chain Reaction last night.

Eddie Izzard’s interview with me goes out on Wednesday, so I assume the Ali(a)stairs’ chat goes out the week after. 
We recorded about 45 minutes, which will get edited down to half an hour. It was fascinating to watch someone weave from one voice and character to another, in between explaining his own background, with which he seemed pretty relaxed.  

Even amid talk about politics, environmental campaigning, his family and his break-up from Ronni Ancona, he ‘did’ (and this is by no means  the full list) Major (nerd voice) Blair (loses lots of vowels) Brown (stifles yawn at end of every sentence) Heseltine, Sven, Fabio Capello (says you have to imagine yourself straining on the loo) Alan Hansen, Trevor Brooking, Billy Connolly, Brian Perkins, Richard Madeley (the ‘victim’ he says he is most like) and Prince Charles (says he regrets taking the mickey out of his green campaigning). I particularly liked how, when explaining the technique of impersonation, he went from Stuart Pearce to David Beckham in the same sentence, saying they basically had the same voice but Pearce was confident and Becks was shy. Not so shy, I pointed out, that he didn’t mind being seen in underwear on buses. 

But the good news, politically, is that he had tried and tried and tried to do David Cameron but he couldn’t.

‘Is it because he stands for nothing?’ I asked, and was pleased that the live audience got the point immediately. 

He didn’t know what it meant, he said, but he had tried long and hard, but failed, so Dave will not be part of his new routine. 

‘All that comes out is an upper-class whisper,’ he said. An upper-class whisper. It could stick. 

For the sake of completeness, I should report that he is also struggling with Barack Obama. There the comparison with DC ends.

  • barbar of Oz

    Actually Alistair McGowan’s inability to send up David Cameron is very bad news? It indicates that he senses his audience regards the next prime minister as untouchable at this stage of the political cycle. Did McGowan send up TB between 1994 and 1997 or until TB had acquired a bit of tarnish? Comedians go for easy targets, not hard ones.

    The fact that Cameron ranks with Obama in this respect makes it doubly worse. Alas, we have Gordon Brown, his acolytes and the Labour Party to thank for conferring Blair-like gravitas on the Tory leader.

  • Simon Gittins

    Yawn, another lame swipe at Cameron, all becoming a bit predictable. Very amusing I’m sure, but not much of a strategy for winning the next election is it ?
    I can sympathise though as it must be nigh on impossible to find anything else.

  • Chas

    What exactly did Blair stand for? Prosecuting an illegal war in order to suck up to President Bush? And what does Brown stand for? destroying our economy and racking up a debt which will prevent future economic growth and which the country will still be paying off long after you are dead?

  • Arthur Mottershead

    I wish you had followed up by asking A McGowan how many members of the shadow cabinet he can impersonate. He does a good Hague, but how many others? When I think back to all the impersonations that were being done of the shadow cabinet pre ’97, there were many of Prescott, Robin Cook, David Blunkett, Gordon Brown, Frank Dobson etc etc. That’s because Labour had personalities who had something to say, not like the Tory front bench of today.

    We also had Spitting Image back then and it’s a shame we don’t now. The satire of Cameron on the recent animation series Headcases was very sharp, but not enough of it.

  • ollie

    This is the kind of weak attack on Cameron we have all come to expect from professional liars like Campbell and his appalling clique.

    It really is pathetic.

    “An upper-class whisper. It could stick.”

    Thanks Campbell, for once again lowering political discourse in this country.

  • Matt

    “Ollie” you could only be young tory with a twattish name like that – “David, David….I’ve posted a rude comment on AC’s blog….can I do some more photocopying?”