You’re a producer on the musical Eugenius! What does that entail?
It’s not just financial matters, it means I oversee all aspects of the production. From design work to budgets, there isn’t one part of the show I haven’t had a hand in. Being a performer, I know what it is to entertain an audience, so I want to make it the best piece of entertainment possible.
Have you produced anything before?
I co-produced a tour for the Reduced Height Theatre Company and I performed in that as well. You have to be aware of how many tickets you’re selling — so when a cast member needed new shoes for a costume I’d think, ‘Well, that’s five pairs of tickets we need to sell.’ So I’ve had producing experience and I really wanted to help produce this musical.
Why aren’t you in it?
I want to produce really well rather than do two things at once. I was in it when they did a one-off concert performance. I recorded a song with Ben Adams, who used to be in A1 and has written the show, and I was very impressed by what a perfectionist he and his co-writer are. It’s brilliantly funny and witty, and my kids asked to hear the Eugenius music whenever they got in the car, so at that point I wanted to become involved as a producer. You can’t resist the music.
Eugenius! has had a mixed reaction, as has The Last Jedi. How do you explain the latter?
I had a cameo in the casino sequence — it’s always a delight to be asked. I wasn’t aware it had divided opinion but all movies divide opinion — some people will like it, some people won’t. I’ll always love Star Wars.
People don’t fully realise it is offensive but in America the word ‘midget’ is up there alongside the N-word
Some said it was political correctness gone mad…
I don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s a piece of entertainment, it’s not making political statements. It’s just there for people to enjoy. You go in there and are supposed to lose yourself in the world the director has created. Star Wars has always been a great example of that — it’s pure escapism and you can forget the 21st century for a couple of hours. That was George Lucas’s philosophy with Star Wars — to make a fun adventure.
Your game show Tenable is coming back. You must be happy…
Yes, I have a lot of fun doing that — it taps into my sense of humour and I like having fun with the contestants. I’ve learned some useless trivia, about the nation’s top ten favourite smells or the first ten Mr Men books. I like to play along with the contestants. I don’t get the answers in advance, which I’m happy about as I’d worry I would give them away.
Do people often win the money? The final round can be quite obscure…
They get the choice of two categories so they can pick what they’ll be most interested in. We’ve had things such as ‘name the last ten X-Factor winners’, which is easy if you’re a fan but if you’re not, that’s where the challenge comes in and you have your team to help you.
You’ve had some problems on social media recently…
Ninety per cent of the time I have no problems at all on Twitter and my followers are wonderful but there was a picture of my family posted with the comment that I had ‘a full midget family’. The word midget is offensive to someone of short stature — but not everyone knows that’s the case. I have a thick skin but it’s different when it’s about people I love. I complained but Twitter didn’t do anything at first so I tweeted about it and they looked at the case. It’s just to educate people about the use of that particular word. People don’t fully realise it is offensive but in America the word ‘midget’ is up there alongside the N-word. It used to be used in stand-up comedy as a way of making a joke about someone who is short but if someone is socially isolated and doesn’t have much self-esteem it can have devastating effects if someone in the street shouts that at them.
Did you name your son Harrison after Harrison Ford?
I wouldn’t say I named him after Harrison Ford but when he was born I did wonder if he’d be an actor one day and I thought Harrison was quite a classy name for an actor. But he’s happy being a YouTuber at the moment. He’s got a gaming channel and I sometimes do videos with him, which is fun.
What are your hopes for the musical?
One of the lyrics in the show is ‘Don’t reach for the stars, reach higher’ so I’m hoping for a West End run, tour and world domination.
■ Eugenius! The Musical is at The Other Palace in London until March 3, eugeniusthemusical.com