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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 January 2008, 15:26 GMT
Barrymore to play Spike Milligan
Michael Barrymore going into Celebrity Big Brother in 2006
Michael Barrymore came second in Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother
Michael Barrymore is to return to the limelight playing Spike Milligan in a stage drama about the comedian's life.

Surviving Spike, at Windsor's Theatre Royal, is the latest step in the former TV host's comeback.

He took part in Celebrity Big Brother in 2006 and played the lead in Scrooge The Musical in the UK later that year.

Barrymore's career collapsed after a man was found dead in his swimming pool seven years ago. No-one was charged in connection with the death.

Surviving Spike, which runs for 12 days from 5 February, will be Barrymore's debut in a theatre drama.

"He will take you on an hilarious and emotional journey as the legendary comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright and creator of The Goon Show," the show's website said.

Spike Milligan in Q
Spike Milligan's comic genius was blighted by private depression
Terry Lubbock, whose son Stuart died at Barrymore's Essex home, said: "The shine has gone off Barrymore.

"I don't think he has got any hope of resurrecting his career - although I think he'll keep trying."

The story of Surviving Spike is told through the eyes of Milligan's former agent, manager and confidante Norma Farnes, played by ex-EastEnders actress Jill Halfpenny.

The production has been written by Richard Harris, whose TV credits include A Touch of Frost, The Last Detective and The Darling Buds of May.

It promises to reveal Milligan's "tormented character that hid behind the public facade".

Milligan, who died in 2002, is regarded of one of the greatest writers and performers in 20th Century comedy.

He is best remembered for seminal 1950s radio comedy The Goons and surreal TV sketch show Q, but in private had a number of nervous breakdowns and suffered from manic depression.

SEE ALSO
Profile: Michael Barrymore
10 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Barrymore admits suicide thoughts
07 Oct 06 |  Entertainment
Barrymore makes return as TV host
04 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Spike 'wrote world's best joke'
09 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Milligan's comic legacy
27 Feb 02 |  Entertainment

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