Comedian Alan Carr on the environment, alpacas, and hosting the Tempus Earth Conservation Gala
As he helps WWF raise £100,000, comedian Alan Carr tells Tempus why he is committed to giving back to the environment
Comedian Alan Carr is best known for the warm but quick-witted persona that has seen him take on television talk shows as Chatty Man and sell out stadium tours. Off stage he's no different, as Tempus discovered when he agreed to host our first ever Tempus Earth Conservation Gala, which raised £100,000 for wildlife charity WWF on the 31 May.
As the evening's compère, Carr was a perfect fit – as to say the BAFTA-winning host is an animal-lover is a gross understatement. Carr and husband Paul Drayton, who married earlier this year in a small ceremony officiated by singer Adele, in fact boast a small farm among their properties.
"We've got two Irish Setters as well as peacocks, two Angora goats, six alpacas and 22 sheep," Carr tells Tempus at the Dorchester London before the event. "The alpacas are a little bit aloof, but the goats are very outgoing. They come over to me whenever I've got food, and that often lures the alpacas over for me. We also bought three bulls, which were due to be slaughtered, so now they're on our little farm as well."
Carr says he immediately signed on to host the gala, sponsored by WaterBear Network, Volopa and the Isle of Man UNESCO Biosphere, the second he heard that the money raised was to benefit WWF. "I'm really intrigued about anything environmental, especially the WWF which is an amazing cause," Carr said. "Every time you switch on the telly you see something about climate change or threats to wildlife so when I got the call to ask if I'd host it was an immediate yes. WWF is one of the good guys."
Though his fans delight in his near the knuckle comic routine and sharp observational irony, Carr says that one of the reasons WWF appeals to him is the charity's positive and hopeful outlook. >>
"I think sometimes people have to show a bit of the positive work that's going on, especially to the people who are making their donations and supporting charities. I mean, enough with the negativity!" he says. "We all want to help, so it's good to be encouraged about what we can do, because sometimes you can feel so out of control. I mean, what can I do about the ice caps melting, or people killing all the elephants?
"But you can make an impact on your own environment, whether it's recycling (even though it's a pain), or not dumping your plastic in the sea – Blue Planet made us all think – and what an amazing programme that was, even though poor David Attenborough didn't win a bafta."
Carr's other philanthropic interests include Niamh's Next Step – a campaign set up in memory of Niamh Curry, who battled neuroblastoma. Carr, who is patron of Neuroblastoma.org, is among British celebrities supporting the Curry family's campaign to raise money for research and care for children suffering with this form of cancer – and in April took part in a celebrity football match in Northamptonshire in aid of the charity. Carr and his father managed the opposing teams.
"My dad so wanted me to be a footballer, I thought maybe managing a team for charity would make him back off! The only time I go to Wembley is to see Madonna or Janet Jackson," he joked.
"The truth is, I have a lovely life and I often pinch myself, but there is a little bit of guilt there, Especially as you get older," he said. "It's a cliché but sometimes you want to give something back, even if you can only do the simplest things like hosting a comedy night. It's amazing to be able to give back."