Michael McIntyre reveals shock phobia and admits his wife prefers him chubby as he opens up on Big Show stars’ secrets

GOOGLE “posh, British comedian”, and up pops Jack Whitehall, Marcus Brigstocke and Tom Allen.

Throw in “chubby” and, yep, there’s poor Michael McIntyre.

Michael McIntyre reveals secrets from his Big Show

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Michael McIntyre reveals secrets from his Big ShowCredit: BBC
The comedian also discusses his experience of losing weight and then putting it back on again

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The comedian also discusses his experience of losing weight and then putting it back on againCredit: Rex Features

It was this unflattering prefix that sent the star running, quite literally, to a hardcore weight-loss clinic, shedding more than two stone as a result.

Five years on, no longer whippet-thin — “my wife (Kitty) doesn’t like me with cheekbones” — the 47-year-old remains unapologetically middle class and one of the country’s most popular performers.

He has also developed a fear of apples, malusdomesticaphobia, if you will.

“I went to this place called the Mayr Clinic (in Austria) and lost quite a bit of weight, which I kept off for a little while.

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“It was a week of pain and they did all these tests on me, put little probes on the end of my tongue and told me I shouldn’t eat apples.

“Apparently apples will make me very lethargic and confused in my brain.

“It’s the only thing I’ve taken from it, really.

“I mean, I’ve put all the weight back on but I’ve got this real fear of apples, which are actually really good for you.

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“But the problem is my wife doesn’t like me losing weight.

“It would be a hell of a lot easier to stay thin if she was quite rude to me about my weight but it’s that annoying thing of she just loves me.

‘You’ve got to keep going with the diet, and I didn’t’

“She wants teddy bear Michael, not racing snake Michael, the man she first met.

“She was like, ‘Who is this? Who is this insanely hot, chiselled man in front of me?’ She didn’t like it. So that was quite demotivating.

Michael says wife Claudia actually prefers him as a 'teddy bear'

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Michael says wife Claudia actually prefers him as a ‘teddy bear’Credit: Rex Features

“The problem is you’ve got to keep going with the diet, and I didn’t.

“I piled it all back on again.

“But I did really enjoy all the headlines though, you know, ‘Is he wasting away?’”

After piling on the pounds again — his words — he says he is considering a return stint in the £4,000-a-week penitentiary for posh people [my words].

He admits to checking in in the first place after asking an app on his son’s phone to name a “male comedian”, only for it to come back with “Jimmy Carr”.

When he asked it to name an “overweight male comedian”, it suggested him.

Chatting over breakfast in a celebrity favourite North London restaurant — omelette and no bread — Michael is not short of showbiz anecdotes.

His phone reads like a Who’s Who of international famous people.
Making him pore through his contacts book is like a game in itself.

“Ooh, there’s Robbie (Williams), David (Walliams) and James Blunt — I met him at an airport recently, sweet man — and there you are, Clemmie, below Claudia Winkleman and above (actress) Cleo Rocos.

“And there’s my best name . . .  Madders!”

He means Spurs and England midfielder James Maddison.

A huge Tottenham fan — Michael goes to nearly every home game, work permitting — it was the footballer who recently inspired a hilarious segment on his hit BBC1 Saturday evening series Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.

Send To All sees celebrity victims hand over their mobile to Michael, who live-messages embarrassing texts to everyone in the star’s phone book.

He says Madders accidentally WhatsApped him his To Do list while arranging tickets for Sophie’s Sparkle Fund, a charity he supports.

Michael has made a few embarrassing mistakes with the long list of celebrity contacts saved on his phone

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Michael has made a few embarrassing mistakes with the long list of celebrity contacts saved on his phoneCredit: BBC

Hilariously, included in said “To Do” list was to “get money back” from another well-known player (annoyingly, he won’t name names).

The text inspired last Saturday’s segment with Dermot O’Leary which saw a text go-all demanding £5,000 back from Alison Hammond.

The dad of two also relays another celeb mishap which saw him meet former Doctor Who Matt Smith on a night out.

“I took his number and saved him as Doctor Who,” he explains.

“Then, one day, my son had this injection in his shoulder and came out with a really bad rash.

“So I photographed it and sent it to the doctor, and wrote, ‘Does this look OK? It still hurts’.

“Except I accidentally sent it to Doctor Who.

“I think he was a bit confused.”

The Big Show has become a Saturday night family staple, averaging more than six million viewers, and Michael is rightly proud of it.

He is passionate about the programme — which also includes the Midnight Gameshow, where he surprises a celeb while they are in bed — and incredibly hands-on, leaving this interview to dash to the edit suite.

While the BBC has come in for a bashing, the star is quick to back the corporation.

Well, they are his employers. “All I know is that I love the BBC,” he replies diplomatically.

“I’ve always been on the BBC and I watch and enjoy the BBC a lot.

“There was a time, when all the streamers first showed up, it was like, ‘Oh my God’, because you’re getting so much good stuff.

“But I feel like it’s settled down a lot and actually there isn’t a lot of great content out there.

“There’s so many options but a lot of very average stuff too.

“The BBC really compete well, and there are some amazing shows on — look at Traitors, Gladiators and, of course, Strictly.”

Should we still pay a licence fee?

“All I will say is that the BBC is brilliant.

“I feel honoured to be allowed on people’s tellies for an hour every Saturday night and I feel like they’re really flying at the moment. They are giving people what they want.”

Later this year Michael embarks on a multi-date world tour, after already performing across the UK.

‘My last run for a bus? I’d guess circa 1990’

He is headlining in New York, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and much of Europe, and can’t wait to get going.

The gigs will doubtless add to his already not insubstantial coffers.

Michael McIntyre with The Sun's Clemmie Moodie

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Michael McIntyre with The Sun’s Clemmie Moodie

So how relatable is Michael McIntyre, 2012’s highest-grossing global comedian?

Does he, for example, ever nip to Lidl?

“Lidl? Oh yes, I’ve seen their adverts at Christmas. Have I ever been? No.”

When pushed on what super-market he frequents, he looks genuinely puzzled before saying: “Well, it gets delivered every week.”

That’ll be those magical fairies, then.

So when did he last run for a bus?

“I’m going to hazard a guess it was on the Finchley Road, circa 1990.”

While on the surface he lives a life of privilege, Michael is genuinely kind and engaging — and hasn’t led an entirely gilded life.

In June 2018 he was robbed by two weapon-wielding men on a moped while parked outside his children’s school.

The men smashed his car windows with a hammer before stealing his Rolex and fleeing.

Speaking about the terrifying incident for the first time, Michael says: “Of course it was horrific.

“Even talking about it now, an incident I really try not to think about, is making me twitchy.

“I love London but, you know, cities are dangerous.

“You never know what’s around the corner.

“It was very traumatic and a very grim time.

“The police were great though and stayed in touch with me.

“But honestly, I don’t think about it any more . . .  until you just brought it up.” Sorry, Michael.

It is understood the two men were eventually arrested but it is a topic on which Michael, understandably, does not wish to elaborate.

Moving on . . . Comedy has, of late, been victim to pernicious cancel culture, with a succession of comedians finding themselves in hot water for making poor-taste gags.

John Cleese and Dawn French have both fretted that “wokeness” and the threat of being cancelled is stifling creativity.

Jimmy Carr and Ricky Gervais also both came under fire recently — the former for joking about the Holocaust and the latter for his on-stage remarks about homeless people and the trans community.

Does Michael worry about saying the wrong thing? (Although, granted, he’s more likely to joke about shopping in Waitrose or moving to the countryside.)

He muses: “I’m not precious, and I like chatting.

“But obviously I don’t want to say the wrong thing so I don’t really do too much live TV now.

“That’s good, because then you don’t get to be misconstrued, so I just really stay away from live TV.

“And I don’t really do interviews . . .  I’m doing this because you support Spurs, so you have to be OK (Time will tell, Michael).

“I do find clickbait frustrating.

“People are drawn to negativity. And that’s on us, we should all be looking for more positivity.

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“But you know, it’s business, it’s competitive and you’ve got to be thick-skinned and the best thing to do, I think, is ignore it.”

  • Michael McIntyre’s Big Show airs tomorrow night on BBC1 at 8.10pm.
Bradley Walsh was part of this unforgettable moment on The Big Show

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Bradley Walsh was part of this unforgettable moment on The Big ShowCredit: BBC
Tennis legend Andy Murray was also involved

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Tennis legend Andy Murray was also involvedCredit: BBC
Michael with Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch

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Michael with Abbey Clancy and Peter CrouchCredit: BBC
He also came face to face with Peter Andre

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He also came face to face with Peter AndreCredit: BBC