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Thursday 28th May 2020

Michael Barrymore will make his ITV comeback after 16 years for Larry Grayson documentary

Presenting appearance will be Barrymore's first on ITV since he was axed in 2002

Michael Barrymore is returning to ITV sixteen years after he was dropped by the channel following the death of Stuart Lubbock in a swimming pool at his Essex home the year before.

The former Strike It Lucky host, 65, will appear in an ITV3 documentary on showbiz legend Larry Grayson, who Michael was the warm up act for when the variety entertainer presented The Generation Game in the late 1970s.

Presenting Larry Grayson: Shut That Door! on Easter Sunday will be Barrymore’s first job for ITV since being axed in 2002.

Michael Barrymore will present a documentary on Larry Grayson for ITV3 (Credit: ITV)

Read more: Michael Barrymore awarded damages for wrongful arrest

"He had an amazing career out of just being Larry Grayson. He was unique," Barrymore says in his first words in the documentary.

Speaking fondly of the camp presenter, who died in 1995, Michael says: "He fumbled his way through the programme, you were never sure he was going to get through to the end of the show in one piece. But he always did."

Barrymore - who recalls going to parties hosted by Larry in Paignton, Devon, before his showbiz career flourished and he was a hairdresser - said he learned a lot from the star.

Welcome back Michael Barrymore and not before time.

He also reveals during the documentary that many of Larry's fans thought his flamboyant mannerisms were put on.

Michael Barrymore was once Grayson's warm up man (Credit: ITV)

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"I remember talking to some old girls and I told them he was gay and they didn’t believe me," Barrymore says during the two-hour special.

And in a poignant moment, Barrymore is seen contemplating the nature of fame as he visits Larry's dressing room when he topped the bill at the London Palladium in 1974.

"Larry would’ve sat here and pinched himself and said: 'I’m here, I've made it. This is the Holy Grail,'" Barrymore tells the cameras as he realises Judy Garland - a star Grayson idolised - would also have been resident in the same dressing room.

He adds: "I know what the feeling is like, it is pretty amazing."

Last year Barrymore won damages in the High Court for his wrongful arrest on suspicion of Mr Lubbock’s rape and murder in 2007 when police launched a new inquiry.

But no charges were brought after the Crown Prosecution Service said there was insufficient evidence.

Larry Grayson: Shut That Door! is on ITV3 on Sunday April 1 at 9pm.

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