Celebrity Chat

Clive Anderson

Arresting times

Ahead of the UK tour of his new show Me, Macbeth & I, TV presenter, barrister and comedian Clive Anderson talks to GTW about his travel adventures

 Words: Angela Youngman

 

  • For full tour dates see comedy.co.uk/live/tours/2020

 

It’s fair to say travel’s been an essential – and often eventful – part of Clive Anderson’s life. Heck, it’s even resulted in him being arrested. Now, safe on UK soil, Clive is currently touring Britain with his new show Me, Macbeth & I, which starts in Bromsgrove, passes through places like Peterborough, Bridport, Winchester, Epsom, Hereford, Liverpool and Evesham, and ends at Salford.

“I enjoy travelling; I’m easily pleased whether staying in luxury hotels or a down to earth bed and breakfast. When things go wrong it’s always more interesting than when things go right,” says Clive.

“A long time ago, as a hapless student, I was travelling around Kenya and managed to lose my bag when the bus went off without me. This was by the sea and I was puzzled why people were wearing plastic shoes on the beach. I soon found out when I trod on a sea anemone and spent several days pulling bits out.  “I also ran out of money on this journey and had to hitch rides to get to Mombasa.  This included a ride with a huge family from India, and a ride-on van with a lot of people standing up at the back. I then realised this was a bus and I had no money to pay the driver – but he never asked me for it!

“When we were filming in Hawaii, our luggage and cameras were piled by the roadside. The driver misheard where we were going and loaded it onto the wrong plane. We arrived at our luxury hotel and thought we were going to have a nice holiday while we waited for our baggage. Unfortunately the airline was very efficient and managed to recover our stuff by the next day so we only had one night lounging around a pool.”

“Brazil is one of my favourite places,” adds Clive. “I was pleased when the opportunity came to go on a ship that goes along the Amazon taking judges and lawyers to courts along the route, as well as doctors, nurses and dentists. I was offered it because I used to be a lawyer and it was a fantastic trip, sleeping in hammocks as we travelled along the mouth of the Amazon. I did a follow on programme later visiting a literary festival in the south of the country.

“I also really enjoyed visiting Mongolia and meeting the people. I’d been doing a programme about a rail journey through China, starting at Hong Kong and ending at Ulan Bator. We had to fly back to Beijing to catch our flights home and then discovered our flight out of Ulan Bator was the first for three months, as they hadn’t been able to afford the fuel before.”

“I’ve travelled a lot around the UK. As a barrister I used to go to courts around London and elsewhere, so I’m familiar with most places. I want to get out and about while touring with my one-man show: Me, Macbeth & I and see some of the local attractions. I did the show at the Edinburgh Festival, but it can be intense there as you see more of the festival than the environment.

“I go to Scotland a lot, and have used the overnight sleeper train. You think you’re going to get a lot of sleep on it, but you tend to forget there are places en route where other carriages join the train, and there’s a lot of stopping and clanking. Sometimes you can even find yourself stuck outside Crewe…

“Most of my travel is for work and everything is arranged for me. Doing it with family is harder as there are all the arrangements to make. There have been some memorable family journeys, such as crossing to the Isle of Lewis and having difficulty shutting the top box on the car. Either our small son or myself had to sit on it to force it closed.

“Just before we had children we went on a touring holiday in France to see friends in Paris and the south of France. We were travelling in a soft top MGB. We felt it was the last chance to do it before we had children. While driving to the south of France, the engine caught fire. There was a garage by the side of the road, but they’d gone for lunch. I’d resented the costs of paying for AA cover in Europe, but it turned out to be worth it as they were fantastic. The AA arranged a replacement car, and arranged for our MGB to be transported back to England. By the time the people at the garage came back it was all arranged. When they saw the car, they offered to buy it from us, but it was too late.”

 

Locked up in Lagos

“Once, we were filming in Lagos for a TV documentary and got arrested twice in three weeks,” says Clive. “The first time we’d only been filming a week and central government had given us a minder. The SSS security police swept us up from our hotel for questioning. We were held in a building surrounded by barbed wire and they had to look at all our footage before they let us go.

“We had to stay on after we’d originally intended to leave, as we needed to finish filming. We’d arranged to film some roadside shacks selling food, and were on our way to the recommended site when it started to rain. It was a real tropical downpour. We saw some shacks along the road so stopped and started filming but didn’t realise it was outside some barracks. We were arrested at gunpoint. We’d been trying to make a film showing the good side of Lagos – but had to include lots of other things, including being locked up.”

 Words: Angela Youngman

Chris Beardshaw

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