WHEN talking about Alexander Armstrong’s varied career, it is probably easier to list what he has not done.

He was originally a sketch show artist as one half of the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller and has appeared in many other comedy roles on the radio and TV.

Alexander can turn his hand to acting and has been in Doctor Who and Sharpe when he is not a voice actor on kids’ favourites like Peppa Pig and Danger Mouse.

And he has been a host and panellist on the likes of Have I Got News For You and, of course, a game show presenter on Pointless and many others. Then there are his adverts and voiceovers and did we mention he is a classically trained bass baritone whose debut solo album reached number six in the charts in 2015? That is not even mentioning his work at Classic FM.

But one thing the 49-year-old has not done until now is a one-man show. Alexander will be returning to his Armstrong and Miller live performance roots with his ‘All Mouth and Some Trousers’ tour that will also comprise many other strands of his career with stories, comedy and music all rolled into one.

He told Weekend: “It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything on that scale on my own.

“I’m familiar with turning up in a dinner jacket and standing behind a lectern for half an hour as I’ve done the after dinner circuit.

“What I’m doing is taking it a notch further. It’s a big undertaking but I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s a bit like a middle distance runner saying I’m going to do a half marathon. We’ll see how the step-up in trip takes me.”

Alexander agreed it will be very much a change of pace to his scripted work which is very controlled and precise in comparison to the spontaneous nature of stand-up.

He said: “That’s part of what the tour is about. The story of the show is my journey ‘off script’ because I started as a character comedian who swore blind he would never go on stage or television as himself.

“I guess it was doing Have I Got News For You that I learnt to go off script. Having the confidence and learning to love the freedom of it was a big thing so this tour is an exciting prospect.”

Part of that prospect is also hitting the road and reliving the spirit of those Edinburgh Fringe days, although Alexander is relieved to be free of the Armstrong and Miller sketch show format.

Knutsford Guardian:

He added: “There’s something nice about doing it this way because if you have a funny idea you can just say it.

“You don’t have to write a sketch around it. One of the problems Ben and I found with sketch writing is that you kind of end up becoming a slave to your punchline.

“You’ve gone in because you have this really funny idea and then you think: ‘How do we get out of this sketch?’ You can sometimes lose the momentum so it was always a matter of finding ways of getting your funny bits across without having to subject everyone to the guff. So that was a big part of our comic sensibility when we were writing.

“The point of this really is a first tour to see how it goes as I very much want to do more of it once I’ve got it up and running.

“I’ve been meaning to do this tour for a long time. I’ve been talking about it for seven years so it’s been a long time in gestation.”

Meanwhile, Alexander is just as busy before the tour, which comes to Parr Hall on November 9.

He spoke to Weekend in between filming Pointless and is shooting four episodes a day.

In the game show’s world it is already 2020 as episodes are shot well in advance including the Christmas edition that was completed in September.

Alexander said: “I’m not complaining as normally we do Christmas in April and it’s somehow always the hottest day of the year.

“There’s lots of fake snow everywhere and you come in swathes of wool. It’s hilarious.

“With the many falsehoods of television, Christmas is just the beginning.

“It’s quite funny the things that come out. You have contestants that come out and they’ll say: ‘I’m a mother of nine-month-old twins’ and you think: ‘By the time this comes out they’ll be at school’

“I’ll say hello to them now because by the time this comes out they will speak!

“But I genuinely love Pointless. I suspect it is because I’m very easily pleased.

“Richard (Osman) and I try and make each other laugh and that doesn’t just get us through the day, it gets us through the month.

“The same production team have been with us from the very beginning too. We know them all very well and I think Endemol, who make the show, are remarkable.

“They’ve made plenty of these kind of shows in the past so they’d already built up a really good team.”

Alexander described game shows as a ‘colossal gamble’ as many fail to grab viewers’ attention but he had a good feeling about Pointless from the start.

He added: “There was something about it which I really loved. Just in terms of the quiz element, I think it’s a very ‘sticky’ format.

“It’s one of those things that when you start watching it, it’s very difficult to pull yourself away.

“You want to know what the answers are and the play along at home factor is a big part of that.

“And then something else happens. Once you’ve been running for a while, it becomes an institution. If it’s something on daily at a fixed time, people factor it into their lives. It’s a show that people discovered one way or another and it has a really nice cross-generational reach as well which is particularly special.”

Another project that has been special to Alexander is Danger Mouse. He was about 11 when he started watching the children’s classic so to step into David Jason’s shoes as the ‘greatest secret agent in the world’ in the reboot of the series has been more than surreal.

He said: “I loved it. You could hear how much fun David Jason and Terry Scott were having making it.

“You knew they were mucking about with it. It just had something about it. So to be part of the reboot of that has been lovely. It’s just such good fun and, really satisfyingly, it’s beautifully written.

“It’s kind of taken Danger Mouse from where it was and moved it on a bit. It’s still got all the madness and it’s got a team of brilliant writers behind it

“I love it when kids’ TV is made with real adult sensibility. They’ve really thrown the best people at it.

“Head writer Ben Ward has been behind such brilliant things like Horrible Histories and he has got such a fantastic eye and ear for comic detail. And it’s so surreal. Like the original, it is forever throwing you into strange scenarios. It was a real honour to do that and I hope they’ll be more.”

So from the likes of Danger Mouse and Peppa Pig to Pointless, it is probably fair to say Alexander’s career has crossed every generation gap.

He added: “I’ve got a fanbase from two to 90 – and practically nothing in between!”

Alexander Armstrong is at Parr Hall on Saturday, November 9. Visit parrhall.culturewarrington.org