Hampstead Heath is undoubtedly a great spot for an afternoon out with the kids. One thing it doesn’t have is brilliant mobile phone coverage, as I found out chatting to Alan Davies about his new stand up show.
Alan’s latest tour, Little Victories, heads to Greenwich’s IndigO2 on October 2, New Theatre Wimbledon on October 9 and Richmond Theatre on October 10.
The title, Alan explained before we got cut off for the first time, comes from a trick he played on his dad.
He said: “I was trying to get one over on my dad when I was a kid which was almost impossible. It’s about getting him to eat blackcurrant jam against his will, it wasn’t easy.”
The wide ranging show focuses a lot on his father and his childhood and also the experience of having children of his own.
“Then quite a lengthy routine about the discomfort of sexual intercourse,” he adds.
“Hopefully people laugh from the beginning to the end. That’s my ambition anyway.”
The 48-year-old north Londoner was a widely acclaimed, multi award-winning stand-up in the 1990s but live comedy tailed off as TV projects such as the title role in the BAFTA-winning Jonathan Creek, Russell T Davies’ Bob and Rose and QI came up.
In 2005, he got married and he and wife Katie now have two young children.
Then, in 2012, he made a return to stand-up with the show Life is Pain, which was positively received.
He said: “It was about 10 years without doing a gig. I don’t really know why. I did other things, really, and then I met Katie and we had a baby and the years just went by. I’m making up for lost time now.”
Rather than create a whole show from scratch as he had to do for Life is Pain, with Little Victories Alan has been able to build the show more organically.
He said: “Once you’re in the habit of jotting stuff down and trying to accumulate stuff, it comes more easily. That’s why I came up with a new show so quickly.”
The life of stand-up suits Alan now he has children as he can choose to play three shows a week and spend the rest of the time with his family.
It means he is even happy to consider coming south of the river.
He said: “Obviously I try to avoid south London because I like hot and cold water and electricity and all the modern amenities we have in north London, but I am prepared to make the occasional visit.
“I can’t deny Greenwich is very nice, and also Richmond and Wimbledon too.”
While he is probably still best known for his turn as crime-solving magician’s assistant Jonathan Creek – which also returned after a long absence for a new outing this year – Alan is unsure whether we’ll see any more of him.
“I don’t know about Jonathan Creek, whether there’ll be any more or not.
“It’s not my call, really. It’s up to David (Renwick) who writes it all.
“I’ll have to wait, just like the viewers.”
Previously, Alan has stated in interviews that he was unhappy about what he thinks are unnecessarily arduous filming schedules on the show, but admitted he ‘probably would’ return to Creek if asked.
He said: “The filming schedules are hugely antisocial.
“I got some flak for moaning but it’s a 70 or 80 hour week. I know there are people in the health service that do that in a busy week but it’s tough for people with kids – not just for me but all the crew as well.
“It used to be that everyone got super well paid so they were able to take time off in the rest of the year but they don’t pay that well anymore.
“The whole thing is quite tough if you’ve got family.”
Alan Davies’ Little Victories is at IndigO2 on October 2 – go to axs.com or call 0844 856 0202 – New Theatre Wimbledon on October 9 – go to wimbledontheatre.com or call 0870 060 6646 – and Richmond Theatre on October 9 – atgtickets.com/Richmond or 0844 871 7627.