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Friday, 12 October 2018

Interview with Alan Carr for Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer is back again. It feels like it's become a real TV fixture in a relatively short time, doesn't it?

Yes, it seems to have struck a chord with everyone, sometimes dealing with cancer or having a friend or family member with cancer – it can often feel isolating and that you're dealing with it all by yourself – the Stand Up To Cancer campaign says you're not on your own – you can do this! Plus winning an RTS award and getting BAFTA nominated just shows how much of an impact it's made. Obviously winning awards isn't what the night's about but it's a lovely sign that we are doing something right.


What kind of preparation will you do beforehand?

Research is important – last time I went to the UCL Cancer institute to meet with the amazing doctors who are coming up with some innovative ways to fight cancer – now I'll be honest some of it does go over my head but you do get an idea of the amazing things that can be achieved and are being achieved in cancer research. And obviously I donate too – which is important, when I'm asking the cash strapped public to put their hands in their pockets I want the personal satisfaction that I'm doing my bit too.


Do you get nervous before a huge live event like this? Do you think your background as a stand-up helps?

I always get nervous, you just want to do a good job and raise lots of money obviously. Doing stand up helps – thinking on your feet definitely comes in handy when it's a live show. The autocue went down mid show last time so I had to adlib – but no-one seemed to notice so I must have done alright.


How far into the evening do you feel you can relax and start to enjoy it?

Never! The shows are always jam-packed plus it's an emotional rollercoaster - you're either laughing your head or sobbing with a massive snot bubble.


Are you looking forward to working with Adam again?

Yes, I love Adam and also met Maya recently for the photo shoot – she's great – such a positive energy and just perfect for hosting the night. We all need to support each other and keep our peckers up.


And Maya Jama is presenting as well. What advice will you give her before the show?

Fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a bumpy night!


What have been your favourite bits of Stand Up To Cancer in the past?

Noel Gallagher singing "Half The World Away' – it was proper goose bumps stuff – he was of course singing it in memory of Caroline Aherne who had sadly passed away earlier in the year. Personally I like it when random celebrities just pop down to help out – it feels nice and that people want to muck in – we've had all sorts – Bradley Cooper, Steve Coogan, Lindsay Lohan – people just wanting to come down and try and raise some money.


How do you keep it together, during the personal stories that people film?

I don't! Have you seen the show?!


What can you tell us about what's in store on the night itself?

I can't at the minute – rehearsals start imminently.


Of course, as ever, you will be maintaining your dignity at all times, won't you?

Dignity? I lost that years ago.


How has your own life been affected by cancer?

That's the sad thing as you get older and hit your 40's, (as well as all the wrinkles and the creaking joints) cancer becomes more and more prevalent. Friends start getting diagnosed with it, family members start getting diagnosed with it – cancer all of a sudden seems to be stalking your nearest and dearest and sometimes yourself. It seems the older I get, I hear about cancer more and more but not to get too totally depressed about it all – on a positive note you do hear about people surviving it more – thanks to the fantastic work done by the Stand Up To Cancer campaign.


Do you find presenting the show makes you think about your own health?

As well as the fun, uplifting bits and of course the heart wrenching stories and battles – there are the important educational bits where you tell people how to check for lumps, look for symptoms – because lets face it the best way to fight cancer is to get there early before it spreads.


You've seen, first hand, how the money is spent, haven't you? Explain why it's so important for people to donate.

The great thing about Stand Up To Cancer is that every penny goes to research – EVERY penny goes to the wonderful men and women in the white coats, so when you donate I can guarantee you are helping to save someone's life. How good does that make you feel!?

To give £20 or £10, text twenty or ten to 70404 
+ 1 standard rate message. UK mobiles 16+ only. Get bill payer's permission. channel4.com/terms 
100% of your donation goes to Cancer Research UK in support of the SU2C campaign. 

Stand Up to Cancer 2018 is on Channel 4 on Friday 26th October from 7pm.

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