In the Hotseat with Alistair Griffin

Alistair Griffin
Alistair Griffin

Castleton’s Alistair Griffin shot to fame as a contestant on the BBC’s Fame Academy and gained an army of fans due to his dashing good looks and smooth vocals.

He subsequently had two top 20 hit singles and a top 20 album in the UK.

Alistair recently saw a resurgence in popularity when his latest song was featured for the closing montage of the 2010 Formula One season.

The single, entitled Just Drive, was released yesterday but Alistair took some time out to relax In the Hotseat to tell Bernice Smith about lemon curd, fish and chips, cup finals and life as a rural milkman.

What are your first memories of Whitby?

Coming to Whitby School to play five- a-side for Danby School and beating all the big schools. We were the ‘giant killers’. Like watching Brazil…

What makes Whitby special to you?

Arnold Palmer’s Crazy Golf, proper fish and chips, Rosies at 8pm on Thursday, the quirky seaside Britishness of the place and the people. A unique place and I like to go back whenever I can.

Life’s highlight?

A hole in one at The Rocket on Arnold Palmer’s Crazy Golf… only kidding… I did once score a cup final winning goal for Middlesbrough… but I’d like to think the best is still to come.

Biggest regret?

The head of BBC3 offered me my own TV show after I did Fame Academy but my manager at the time said I should concentrate on the music. I often think what might have been.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

A sausage and fried egg sandwich with brown sauce.

What is your favourite eating place?

Bill’s Cafe.

What is your favourite film?

It’s A Wonderful Life.

What is your favourite pub?

So many pubs, so little time. Always nice to have a pint in the Downe Arms when I’m home in Castleton or there’s a great pub in York called The House of The Trembling Madness. They have a stuffed mole on the wall.

Where are the best fish and chips?

I used to say Trenchers but the last time I was in Whitby the Magpie stole the show. You can’t beat it!

What is your worst habit?

Perfectionism. Is that a word? You know what I mean. Also, using made up words.

Where was your last holiday?

I haven’t been away in ages as I’ve been locked in a recording studio for the past 18 months. Last proper trip was to Dublin. Lovely place and people and well, lots of Guinness.

When was the last time you cried?

I shed a tear recently when my old friend and lemon curd sparring partner Mrs Cornforth sadly passed away. A legend and lovely lady who’ll be missed by all, especially at Danby Show.

What would be your ideal day in Whitby?

I’d go see me old mate Squirrel on Mayfield Road, head to Arnold’s for a bit of crazy golf, an ice cream up West Cliff, spot of fish and chips somewhere down the pier, win a teddy then give it away heroically to a small child, not letting on that it took me three hours and about 20 quid to win it and then to Rosie O’Gradys at 8 o’clock for a pint, waking up the next day with a hideous hangover and a stamp on my hand that reads ‘Laughtons‘ – simple pleasures.

What was your first job?

Washer up at The Duke of Wellington in Danby. Best job, milkman in Staithes. I’m tempted to go back to the milk round. Best job ever.

What is your favourite book?

1984 by George Orwell, frighteningly brilliant.

If you won the Lottery, what would you do with it?

Give most of it away to my family, friends and charity then have a massive party in Castleton, in a village hall made out of gold. We’d have a swimming pool full of champagne and one filled with Guinness for Andrew Lillie.

Dracula or Captain Cook?

Gotta be Cookie, he discovered a continent after all, Dracula just bit people.

What is your signature dish?

Kit Kats and toast - not forgetting Alistair Griffin’s third prize-winning lemon curd - coming to a Co-op near you - soon!

Favourite drink?

Yorkshire Tea

What would be your epitaph?

It’d probably be something like “He came, he saw, he played conkers.”