Michael Barrymore working at garden centre stacking shelves
Published 02/05/2013 | 11:22
Michael Barrymore, once one of Britain’s top TV entertainers, is now working at a garden centre shifting sacks of compost.
The former presenter, who now goes under his real name of Michael Parker, helps out at the garden centre three days a week following a failed TV comeback bid.
Barrymore, 60, whose showbiz career came to an abrupt end after a body was found in his swimming pool during a party in 2001, says he enjoys his garden centre work.
“I don't get paid for it,” he said. “I help out because I enjoy gardening.
“People come over and wish me well. Sometimes I walk around with them to show them the plants.”
The recovering alcoholic, who works at Tomlins in Brentwood, Essex, told the Daily Mail: “I stack the shelves and often I'm wheeling around heavy sacks of compost.”
In 2009 it emerged that Barrymore was working as an odd-job man in an Essex garage.
Barrymore's programmes, such Strike It Lucky and My Kind Of People, were watched weekly by millions in the Eighties and Nineties.
But he was axed by ITV in 2003 following 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock’s body being discovered in his swimming pool.
The day after his death, Barrymore checked into the Marchwood Priory in Southampton, often used by celebrities with addictions and depression.
A police investigation led to no charges and an inquest recorded an open verdict, but Barrymore’s reputation never recovered from the affair.
In May 2004 he filed for bankruptcy after receiving a “surprise” tax bill understood to be in the region of £1.4million.
The entertainer said he finally decided to drop his stage persona after an unsuccessful comeback bid appearing on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.
Barrymore, who once signed a £2million deal with ITV, has since admitted he came close to taking his own life.
He said: “My real name is Michael Parker - Michael Barrymore is dead. Although I have been a couple of times to the jumping-off point, I didn't kill myself. If I had, it would have completed the story.
“I don't have to do what I've been doing since I was eight, which is making people laugh to deflect things. It's the first time I've ever got to know me.”
He claimed a “conspiracy” destroyed his TV career, and said he regretted the way he treated his wife Cheryl following his decision to come out as homosexual in 1995.
He said: “I never shy away from the fact that I'm an alcoholic and that I have had my problems, but I've never murdered anybody. I've never got up in the morning and thought I'll harm someone. I've just had an extraordinary sequence of events that have been on public display that I've had no control over.”