Barrymore's back - playing Spike

Fallen star in Milligan play

Fallen star Michael Barrymore is making a controversial return to the stage – playing Spike Milligan in a new play about the comic genius.

The 55-year-old has so far found it impossible to relaunch his career since Stuart Lubbock was found dead following a drug-fuelled party at his Essex home in March, 2001.

But now he will take the starring role in Surviving Spike when it opens for a two-week run at the Theatre Royal Windsor next month.

However, until now his name has not been mentioned in any promotional posters for the play, which opens on February 5, nor is on the Theatre Royal website.

The play is described as ‘in intimate glance into Spike’s personal life by the only person who ever really knew him’ – his agent of 36 years, Norma Farnes. It is based on her biography Spike (even though Milligan’s Goon Show co-author John Antrobus also wrote a book called Surviving Spike Milligan)

Stuart Lubbock's father, Terry, was unhappy at the news Barrymore was working again, saying: ‘I believe that Michael Barrymore should not work until he says exactly what happened on the night my son died at his party. He knows how my son died and he will not say.

‘People should not go and see him in this play until he has faced the truth.’

But he said he may go to the show himself to confront Barrymore.

In October, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to bring murder charges against Barrymore and two other men, saying they did not have enough forensic evidence.

Surviving Spike co-stars Jill Halfpenny, and was written by Richard Harris, whose previous credits include Outside Edge and Stepping Out.

Published: 17 Jan 2008

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