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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September, 2003, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Standing ovation for Barrymore
Michael Barrymore
Barrymore sang I Don't Know Why I Love You But I Do
Comedian Michael Barrymore has made a successful return to the UK stage in front of a packed London theatre audience.

The controversial comic received a warm reception on Monday as he launched the one-man West End show he hopes will propel him back to TV stardom.

"Thank you for coming," he said. "You don't know how much I appreciate it."

The show was the 51-year-old's first performance on UK soil since he was questioned over the death of a man at his home in Essex in 2001.

During the show at the Wyndham's Theatre, Barrymore joked about his cocaine and alcohol problems, and his time at rehabilitation clinic, saying: "You would have thought it would have helped."

He started his show with a rendition of I Don't Know Why I Love You But I Do, urging the audience to sing back.


He teased journalists in the audience, saying: "Come out, wherever you are."

Fans had paid between 20 and 50 for tickets to the show, part of the Kings of Comedy season.

At one point a lady gave him a kiss and, and the comic, who is gay, said: "You obviously haven't been reading the papers."

Barrymore became a household name in the 1980s and 90s thanks to his frenzied TV presenting style.

He was questioned by police in 2001 after Stuart Lubbock was found dead in a swimming pool at Barrymore's home in 2001, though he was found to have had no part in Mr Lubbock's death.

Barrymore's return to showbusiness in the UK follows a successful run in New Zealand and Australia as a stand-up comedian earlier in the year.

His hit TV shows included The Michael Barrymore Show, Strike it Rich and Kids Say the Funniest Things.

He hit headlines when he revealed in 1995 that he was gay, despite being married at the time.

Other comedians playing as part of the Wyndham's season are Lenny Henry and Never Mind the Buzzcocks regular Bill Bailey.

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