Thursday, July 20, 2006

INTERVIEW - June 2006

60 SECONDS: Marc Wootton by Andrew Williams - Metro -Thursday, June 29, 2006.

Comedian Marc Wootton is better known as spoof psychic Shirley Ghostman. Shirley's bogus readings proved a hit on BBC3 and are now available on DVD along with a disc of My New Best Friend, Wootton's hidden-camera show in which contestants had to do exactly what Wootton's horrific comic alter egos told them for 48 hours to win a £10,000 prize.

What inspired you to create Shirley Ghostman?

A close friend lost someone dear and I went to see a psychic with them. Shirley came as a result of me witnessing what was going on. When you’re not the focus of the psychic’s attention, it’s very easy to see the truth of what they’re up to and it really got my back up. I became quite angry and couldn’t believe these charlatans go round ripping people off. I went to see a couple of the more famous psychics do their live performances. You have to admire their showmanship but it’s not fair to prey on people.

Some people have a hard time working out Shirley’s gender.
Why did you call him Shirley?

Any boy called Shirley must have been picked on at school and we wanted to give the character an unfortunate backstory because a lot of the celebrity psychics have had pretty depressing upbringings. That’s why they reinvent themselves as someone special who can see dead people. I find that so arrogant. Tess Daly told me about a psychic she saw, so I went along to see them, just to try to find out if they were for real. When I got home and made a transcript of the reading, I realised I had given them all the answers.

To read the interview in full, click HERE

Further METRO interviews with Marc click HERE

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