Michael Barrymore

Michael Barrymore
Michael Barrymore
Born Michael Parker
4 May 1952 (1952-05-04) (age 59)
Bermondsey, London, England
Nationality British
Occupation Comedian, actor,
television personality,
game show host
Years active 1976–present (recurring)
Television The Michael Barrymore Show
Strike It Lucky
My Kind of People
My Kind of Music
Kids Say the Funniest Things
Animals Do the Funniest Things
Bob Martin
Celebrity Big Brother
Spouse Cheryl Barrymore (m. 1976–1997) «start: (1976-06-10)–end+1: (1998)»"Marriage: Cheryl Barrymore to Michael Barrymore" Location: (linkback://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Barrymore) (divorced)
Partner Shaun Davis (1997–2007)[citation needed]

Michael Kieron Parker (born 4 May 1952),[1] better known by his stage name Michael Barrymore, is a British comedian who appeared as a presenter of game shows and light entertainment programmes on British television in the 1980s and 1990s. These included Strike It Lucky, My Kind of People, My Kind of Music and Kids Say the Funniest Things. He headlined the 1993 Royal Variety Performance and was voted the UK's favourite TV star several times, becoming one of the highest-paid stars on TV.

Barrymore's career went downhill after the March 2001 death of Stuart Lubbock in his swimming pool. Since then he has appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and other shows including The Friday Night Project, The Bigger Picture with Graham Norton, This Morning, The Sharon Osbourne Show, Celebrity Coach Trip and The Saturday Night Show.



Early life

Barrymore was born Michael Kieron Parker in Bermondsey in 1952. He lived on the Dickens estate, Bermondsey, for the first 18 years of his life.[2] His parents, George and Margaret, had moved there in 1950 with Barrymore's brother John (born c. 1944) and sister Ann (born c. 1946).[2] When Barrymore was 11, his father, a violent heavy drinker, left; they never saw each other again.[2]

Early career

Barrymore spent his early career working as a Redcoat at Butlins holiday camps, and then in the West End theatre shows of London, where he met dancer and life long friend Cheryl St Claire in 1974. They married in 1976,[3] With Cheryl as manager and the mastermind behind Barrymore's meteoric rise, he first won a 1979 edition of New Faces, and then became a regular panelist on Blankety Blank and the warm-up man for Larry Grayson on the Generation Game.[4]

Rise to fame

From there Barrymore rose to fame presenting his own show, The Michael Barrymore Show, and also appeared in a number of Royal Variety Performance shows. He became the host of ITV entertainment shows Strike It Lucky (which later became Strike It Rich) from 1986, then it was his own light entertainment show entitled Barrymore followed by a talent show My Kind of People[5] and gameshow My Kind of Music together with Kids Say the Funniest Things and Animals Do the Funniest Things. Barrymore was voted the UK's favourite TV star several times, and became one of the highest-paid stars on TV.[6]

Coming out

At the height of his popularity, Barrymore suffered increasing alcohol problems. Barrymore claims he wanted to seek help, but that Cheryl continually told him: "No, you're not (alcoholic). Don't be stupid."[7]

In mid-1995, at the height of his fame, Barrymore went to the The White Swan gay pub in London's East End, where he gave an impromptu stage performance to the largely local crowd singing the words: "Start spreading the news - I'm extra gay today". Within 48 hours, every tabloid newspaper had printed its own version of the evening's events, including an untrue claim that the star had thrown away his wedding ring.[4]

After appearing as the headline act on the 1993 Royal Variety Performance, where he sang a version of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow with the Queen's Guard gun drill, in November 1995, Barrymore attended the National Television Awards, where, clearly drunk, he made a rambling, incoherent speech. At an after-show party on a live late night radio show, he publicly declared he was gay and "no longer wanted to live a lie", following which he split with Cheryl. She later claimed that Barrymore took the step and did not tell her because of his talks with Diana, Princess of Wales.[8] Barrymore, as of 2010, has said that he is no longer gay after setting up a relationship with a woman.[9] However, he has acknowledged that he may be bisexual.[10][11]


After several aborted reunions, Cheryl and Michael divorced in 1997 and Cheryl went on to publish the autobiography[12] Catch a Falling Star which contained details of their acrimonious split. The couple subsequently had no contact, and Cheryl at her request ceased to be Barrymore's agent or manager.

Barrymore later suggested in his 2006 autobiography Awight Now: Setting the Record Straight that Cheryl was a control freak who controlled his every movement including his clothes,[13] and she had created the character that was "Michael Barrymore", which consequently drove him to alcohol, drugs and gay affairs.[14]

In an interview in 2002, Barrymore admitted that he is an alcoholic.[15]

On 1 April 2005, Cheryl died of lung cancer at the age of 55 at St John and St Elizabeth Hospital in St John's Wood. Shortly before her death she asked that details of her condition be kept secret from her former husband, and left instructions that he should not be invited to attend her funeral.[16]

Death of Stuart Lubbock

Following a party in the early hours of 31 March 2001, a 31-year-old man, Stuart Lubbock, died after three witnesses - including Barrymore himself - claimed to have found him motionless in Barrymore's swimming pool. All charges were dropped when it later came to court, though witnesses could not agree on whether he was found floating on top of the pool or at the bottom of it.[17] The cause of death was found to be drowning. Lubbock, described as a "bubbly partygoer", had traces of drugs and alcohol in his system. Pathologists discovered severe anal injuries which some said were consistent with a sexual assault.[18]

Many tabloid newspapers accused Barrymore of holding drug-fuelled gay orgies in his home and asserted that he must have had some responsibility for the death. It was claimed that Barrymore had been seen at the party forcing cocaine onto Lubbock's gums,[19] an allegation Barrymore denied.

Barrymore subsequently received a police caution for possession and use of cannabis, but no other charges were laid against him or anyone else in connection with the death, although two other party-goers, unemployed Justin Merritt and drag queen Jonathan Kenney were arrested on suspicion of murder on 6 June 2001.[citation needed] The inquest that took place in September 2002 reached an open verdict.[citation needed]

In light of the verdict, and the fact that she was approached by a friend of the Lubbock family, Cheryl provided the Lubbock family solicitor with both a sworn affidavit and subsequent court testimony that her ex-husband had lied under oath, and could in fact swim. She also alleged the entertainer had rubbed cocaine on to the gums of other people as well as himself.[20]

In November 2002 Barrymore's lawyers successfully demanded that Essex Police re-investigate matters surrounding Lubbock's death. Their focus was on Barrymore's allegations that the injuries inflicted upon Lubbock's body could have occurred while lying unguarded in the mortuary. A pathologist's report found that Lubbock's wounds were only four hours old at the time of the examination at 4pm, while Lubbock had been pronounced dead at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow at 8.20am that morning.[21] On his claims, Barrymore told Five Live: "We want to prove the fact that the anal injuries could not have happened at the house." He added: "If these injuries had happened then, why have the police not charged anyone with anything?"[22]

On Barrymore's high-profile return to the UK in January 2006 to take part in Celebrity Big Brother, former solicitor, politician and local activist Anthony Bennett initiated a private prosecution, comprising six charges regarding Barrymore's alleged misuse of drink and drugs on the night of Stuart Lubbock's death. The action commenced in Epping Magistrates Court in January 2006 and, on 10 February 2006, a District Judge at Southend Magistrates' Court blocked the private prosecution against Barrymore on the grounds of insufficient evidence being available for the case to continue. As has been noted above, Anthony Bennett was no longer a solicitor and was acting independently of Terry Lubbock, Stuart's father.[23]

In an interview with Piers Morgan in the December 2006 edition of GQ magazine, Barrymore claimed there were other witnesses to the events who were hiding information.

On 2 December 2006, police announced they were re-opening the investigation into Lubbock's death. The re-investigation followed a lengthy dossier submitted by Anthony Bennett, who was now Terry Lubbock's solicitor, cataloguing a series of alleged failures by Essex Police in the original investigation and claiming that there had been an elaborate cover-up of the true circumstances of Lubbock's death.[24][25]

On 22 December 2006, following a successful complaint to the Press Complaints Commission by Bennett, The Sun published a letter from Terry Lubbock replying to the newspaper's five-page feature on Barrymore earlier in the year which featured Terry's meeting with Barrymore.

On 1 March 2007, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, following a complaint lodged the previous December by Terry Lubbock, announced an investigation into aspects of the police inquiry into Lubbock's death after receiving complaints from the Lubbock family. It was reported that complaints surrounded information Essex Police gave to a coroner and pathologist after Lubbock's death. In May the I.P.C.C. agreed with Terry Lubbock a schedule of no fewer than 36 separate complaints relating to the original investigation into Lubbock's death.[26][27]

On 14 June 2007, Essex Police arrested Barrymore and two other men on suspicion of murder and serious sexual assault in the Lubbock case. The two other men arrested were Jonathan Kenney, Barrymore's lover and partner at the time of the death, and Justin Merritt, an unemployed former dustman at the time. The three men were held for questioning at South Woodham Ferrers police station, Essex. [28] [29][30] This followed reports in The Harlow Herald that police had seized tapes from the home of Barrymore's literary agent Tony Cowell allegedly containing conversations between Cowell and Barrymore.[31] On 15 June 2007, police were given permission to question Barrymore and one other man for a further 12 hours. Barrymore's solicitor Henri Brandman also confirmed his client was one of the men arrested.[32]

Later that day Barrymore was released on police bail pending further enquiries.[33] His solicitor stated that Barrymore "categorically denied" the allegations made and had not been charged with any offence.[34]

On 31 July 2007, it was announced that Barrymore had been re-bailed to appear at an Essex Police station on 10 September.[35] He answered bail on 10 September at a police station in Harlow, Essex. Police were then granted a further 12 hours to question him.[36] On that date, Barrymore was told that he would not face charges for the events that occurred.[37]

Career revival

Following the revelations of Lubbock's death, ITV terminated his contract and his UK TV career subsequently collapsed. A new series of Kids Say the Funniest Things recorded prior to the scandal was pulled from the ITV schedule and never broadcast. The Guardian reported that the BBC cancelled publication of Barrymore's life story.[38]

In September 2003, Barrymore staged a one-man show at London's Wyndham's Theatre, which closed after a few days. He subsequently emigrated to New Zealand to live with his partner, Shaun Davis. He has since had live stage shows in New Zealand and Australia. In 2005, he appeared in the stage musical, Chicago, in Napier, New Zealand.

Celebrity Big Brother

In December 2005, it was announced that Barrymore was being paid £150,000 by Channel 4 to take part in the British version of Celebrity Big Brother commencing 5 January 2006.

His time in the house will particularly be remembered for his visibly strong dislike of model Jodie Marsh,[39] and his difficult relationship with housemate George Galloway, which culminated in a 20 minute slanging match between the two men. On 27 January 2006 he finished runner-up to Chantelle Houghton.

After Big Brother

Remaining in the UK, Barrymore was booked to be the guest host on Channel 4's The Friday Night Project for the edition broadcast on 3 February 2006.

It was announced that for Christmas 2006, Barrymore would play the title role in Bill Kenwright's new production of Scrooge – The Musical"[40] Barrymore performed the lead role at the Empire Theatre, Sunderland, but the production's scheduled transfer to the West End was cancelled.

In January 2008, Barrymore took the role of comedian and writer Spike Milligan in the stage play 'Surviving Spike'.

In February 2010 he appeared on Irish television on The Saturday Night Show, where he unexpectedly performed numerous bizarre and controversial antics, including pretending to be Jedward's father.[41][42]

In May 2010, Barrymore startled his co-contestants on a reality TV show by revealing that he had fallen in love with a woman. Barrymore was filming an episode of Channel 4 show Come Dine With Me with former Generation Game host Anthea Redfern and presenters Pat Sharp and Jenny Powell when he said he was going to have a party to celebrate that he was "coming back in".[43]

In March 2011, it was announced that Barrymore would be returning to the stage for a season at Blackpool's North Pier Theatre, for the summer of that year.[citation needed]

Barrymore is a contestant in a forthcoming series of Channel 4 reality television show Celebrity Coach Trip.[44]

Christine Guntrip

Christine Guntrip is a notable "superfan" of Barrymore's, regularly popping up on various internet forums to defend the man she states she loves "just like a marriage". Due to her passionate feelings towards Barrymore and strong defensive behaviour towards him, she has earned herself not only several bans from various sites, but also 'meme status'. She has said "he will always be my kind of man" and "I will always be there for him without a doubt." [45] Her views on those who dislike Barrymore personally and professionally, and believe his career has never nor will ever recover from the murder accusation, have been extremely forcefully expressed. On one forum, she wrote "i will thump you,so get it now do you?you will not talk to me or talk about my idol to me...Not to mention that i will kill you,if you fecking well approach me,now do understand this." [46]

She has also appeared on television shows such as This Morning talking about her idol.

Stand-up videos

Title Released Notes
The Unpredictable... Live 19 September 1994 Live at Blackpool's Opera House
Live And Uplifting - Back In Business! - Live At The Hammersmith Apollo 9 November 1998 Live at London's HMV Hammersmith Apollo


  1. ^ http://web.researcha.com/iccquery/detail/?did=897861&c=uk
  2. ^ a b c The House That Made Me, 16 December 2010
  3. ^ "Barrymore's troubled life". BBC News. 1 April 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/1253208.stm. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Summerskill, Ben (22 December 2001). "Aw wight now?". The Guardian (London). http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,587474,00.html. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/series/25522". British Film Institute. http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/series/25522. 
  6. ^ "Barrymore's ex to publish memoirs". BBC News. 22 September 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/2274571.stm. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Alcoholics Anonymous Reviews: Cheryl stopped drink help
  8. ^ TCM Breaking News – 2002/10/19: Diana friendship may have helped Barrymore's downfall, says wife Cheryl
  9. ^ http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/05/21/michael-barrymore-says-hes-no-longer-gay/
  10. ^ [1] "When it was suggested he was bisexual, he said: 'I suppose so.'"
  11. ^ Cable, Simon (May, 2010), Going straight: 15 years after coming out as gay, Barrymore says he's in love with a woman, Afterellen.com. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  12. ^ BFI | Film & TV Database | The CHERYL BARRYMORE STORY (2002)
  13. ^ "My kind of autobiography – Scotsman.com News". Edinburgh. http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=551&id=1424782006. [dead link]
  14. ^ http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/spectrum.cfm?id=58072007
  15. ^ Barrymore's GMTV interview
  16. ^ "Barrymore ex-wife dies of cancer". BBC News. 1 April 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/4402321.stm. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  17. ^ "Open verdict at pool death inquest". BBC News. 13 September 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2256141.stm. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  18. ^ Judd, Terri. "Open verdict on partygoer found dead at star's home". The Independent. 14 Sept 2002
  19. ^ TCM Breaking News – 2002/09/12: Barrymore 'rubbed cocaine on party victim's gums'
  20. ^ Scotland on Sunday
  21. ^ Wells, Matt (14 June 2007). "Why I'm not bitter". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2003/jul/28/mondaymediasection.broadcasting1. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  22. ^ Author unknown. "New Barrymore pool death inquiry". BBC News. 14 Jan 2003
  23. ^ "Judge blocks Barrymore death case". BBC News. February 10, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/essex/4700816.stm. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  24. ^ "New Barrymore pool death inquiry". BBC News. December 03, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6202926.stm. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  25. ^ Chris Taylor (December 03, 2006). "Police to reopen Michael Barrymore death investigation". EntertainmentWise. http://www.entertainmentwise.com/news/25514/Police-To-Reopen-Michael-Barrymore-Death-Investigation. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  26. ^ "Review into Lubbock death inquiry". BBC News. 1 March 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6408479.stm. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  27. ^ [2] Lubbock death inquiry by IPCC
  28. ^ Barrymore arrested over pool death
  29. ^ "Pool death police hold Barrymore". BBC News. 14 June 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/essex/6751965.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  30. ^ "'Michael Barrymore arrested on suspicion of pool murder after police seize tapes'". London: Daily Mail. June 14, 2007. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=461927&in_page_id=1770&ct=5. 
  31. ^ "Tapes clue". 15 June 2007. http://www.harlowherald.co.uk/content/herald/news/story.aspx?brand=EHHOnline&category=NewsHarlow&tBrand=herts24&tCategory=newshlhnew&itemid=WEED14%20Jun%202007%2010%3A01%3A33%3A460. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  32. ^ "More time to question Barrymore". BBC News. 15 June 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/essex/6755925.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  33. ^ Press Association (June 16, 2007). "I'm innocent, says freed Barrymore". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on June 24, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070624125430/http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/story/0,,-6713765,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  34. ^ "Barrymore released without charge". BBC News. 15 June 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/essex/6758861.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  35. ^ Barrymore bail extended
  36. ^ Holt, Richard (10 September 2007). "Michael Barrymore held over pool death". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/09/10/nbarrymore110.xml. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  37. ^ BBC NEWS "Barrymore will not face charges". http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/essex/6986155.stm BBC NEWS. [dead link]
  38. ^ Day, Julia (18 March 2003). "BBC backtracks on Barrymore book". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,916685,00.html. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  39. ^ Greer, Germaine (13 January 2006). "Lay off poor Jodie, you big bullies". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1685498,00.html#article_continue. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  40. ^ "Barrymore to star as Scrooge in city – Scotsman.com News". Edinburgh. http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=551&id=1402952006. [dead link]
  41. ^ "Barrymore Behaves Bizarrely On Irish TV". Sky News. 9 February 2010. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Showbiz-News/Michael-Barrymore-Pretends-To-Be-Jedwards-Dad-On-Irish-TV/Article/201002215545355?lpos=Showbiz_News_Carousel_Region_4&lid=ARTICLE_15545355_Michael_Barrymore_Pretends_To_Be_Jedwards_Dad_On_Irish_TV. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  42. ^ "Michael Barrymore pretends to be Jedward's dad in excruciating live TV appearance". Daily Mirror. 9 February 2010. http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2010/02/09/michael-barrymore-pretends-to-be-jedward-s-dad-in-excruciating-live-tv-appearance-video-115875-22028932/. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  43. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1280353/. Barrymore came first in this edition of the show winning a £1,000 prize to be donated to the charity of his choice.
  44. ^ Michael Barrymore denies foul-mouthed rant on Celebrity Coach Trip
  45. ^ [3]
  46. ^ [4]

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