David Baddiel draws on real-life that’s very close to home in his new show, as Gavin Engelbrecht discovers

AUTHOR and comedian David Baddiel has described his latest stand-up show as a "twisted love letter to my parents".

My Family: Not the Sitcom, boasts side-splitting laughs and has also moved audiences to tears, as he talks about his recently-deceased mother and her extra-marital affair with a golf memorabilia salesman and about his father who has dementia.

Baddiel spoke to the The Northerrn Echo of the genesis of the Olivier-nominated show ahead of bringing it to the city's Gala Theatre as part of a national tour.

He said: "My last show, Fame: Not the Musical, was very autobiographical. I used a screen and a clips and film. I found it worked very well

"I noticed when my mum died people at her funeral came up to me and said she was wonderful. I thought "well they didn’t really know her.

"That happens a lot at a funeral. People who don’t really know a person start doing this propaganda, of saying they were fantastic people.

"Not to say they weren’t, but it erases the person out of existence really. Because it's all that they can say is that anyone who died is lovely. They may as well say nothing really.

"So I thought I was going to talk about my mum died, but also to tell her what a mental, crazy and outrageous person she was.

"I thought that would bring her back to life and create a living memory of her that is not bland."

He added: "It is very personal to me and involves all sorts of very specific information. For example a lot of it is how my mum had an affair with a golfing memorabilia salesman of which she was very proud. She turned her whole life over to golf, which became a massive deal our house, primarily because my she was obsessed with this bloke - which somehow my dad managed not to notice."

His mother, Sarah, went on to be becoming a golf memorabilia salesman herself, writing five books about golf and filled the family home with the sport's memorabilia.

He said: "What it shows is that quite a lot of us were not parented in not an ideal way. You can take two roads from that. You can either be very damaged and very upset about it or you can make story telling and comedy out of it."

The second of the show is devoted to his dad Colin, who has a form of frontal lobe dementia known as Pick's disease.

Baddiel said: "My dad’s dementia is something he doesn't have an ability to talk about, because he doesn’t have consciousness of it really.

"From a social point of view there is terrible problem with shame and taboo and silence around the disease and I think it’s incredibly common and almost epidemic now.

"I think there only one way to go with it and that is talk about it. And to some extent, in my case, to not be frightened of those stories being funny, because sometimes they are.

"There is also also something that has been unlocked by the show, which is people will tell me stories about their relatives with dementia.

"Dementia is a condition that requires something to get you through it and sometimes what gets you through it is being able to laugh about it - and cry at it as well."

He added: "I am spending two nights in Durham and am looking forward to getting out and spending some time there. I don’t know it very well. It looks very nice."

David Baddiel, my Family: Not the Sitcom, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Sunday, March 11, 7.30pm. Box office: 0844 811 2121.

Durham Gala on March 15 and Friday March 16. Box office: 03000-266 600 or visit http://www.galadurham.co.uk.