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It's brilliant being a new dad.. I just worry it's turning me into a baby bore; FRANK skinner on fatherhood.


HE was famous for banging on about football all the time, but now Frank Skinner is a selfconfessed baby bore.

Where goals and England's however many years of hurt were his favourite topics, they've been replaced by, well, nappies.

If Simon Cowell needs any advice, he need look no further than Frank, who shocked fans when he announced in January 2012 he was to become a dad at the age of 55.

And it may be no more Mr Nasty for the X Factor mogul if comedian Frank's experience is anything to go by, saying he's definitely mellowed thanks to bringing up Buzz Cody, now 14 months.

He also feels he's been welcomed into a whole new section of society - parents.

"It's brilliant being a dad. It is hard to talk to people who don't have kids because you think they get bored," he says honestly.

"It is kind of like crossing the house in the Houses of Parliament.

"I used to think when people got their baby photos out 'God, do me a favour'. Now I am getting mine out, but only with people who have got kids. It is this secret club where you get together and say 'they don't get it, they don't get how brilliant it is'.

"Also it is hard to explain to anyone who doesn't have them because you can understand not being able to sleep and holidays not feeling like holidays and taking two hours to leave the house and they all sound bad, but it is hard to communicate that warm glow of love that makes it all acceptable."

WISDOM Brummie Frank became a dad with partner Cathy Mason, 44, a former secretary at his management firm Avalon.

He announced Buzz's birth last May on his Absolute Radio show after playing Johnny Mathis's When a Child is Born.

And, apparently, one of his first thoughts on seeing his son - named after Buzz Aldrin and Buffalo Bill Cody - was "he's going to be so funny when he grows up".

In the run-up to the birth he said he wanted a "player/manager" role, playing alongside him and also advising.

"I haven't been fishing for 25 years but I like the idea of sitting on the riverbank and talking about life with my small boy and all that," he says.

"You think about imparting wisdom but I don't know that I have got lots to impart. I am looking forward to all that and proper communication."

Frank is speaking at the Tower of London, a national monument in keeping with the spirit of his new TV project, BBC1's big new Saturday night prime-time entertainment show I Love My Country.

It's a panel game with comedy elements, a house band and resident singer Jamelia that turns out to be a cross between ITV's diving show Splash!, the Eurovision Song Contest and the Generation Game.

He and comedian Micky Flanagan are team captains with Gabby Logan hosting.

Early reaction was mixed with not all the stunts and gags paying off, but it has potential if you are willing to 'let yourself go' - like watching so-bad-it's-good Splash!

Frank admits he'll find it difficult if it is hammered by the critics. "I do not take it that well on the chin," he admits, having PARENTS ON NON-PARENTS faced negative comments when he hosted The Brits in 2002. "I am not going to say I will be fine if it gets torn to pieces because I won't. At the same time if you worry too much you won't do anything. Gabby's other show Splash! started with everybody tearing it apart and then suddenly people turned round to it."

Frank was offered the show after seeing a Dutch version.

He says: "It was subtitled, but you know when you are on holiday abroad and you watch TV and there is this show shot in a studio like a massive football stadium. There is always a beautiful woman and an older guy and the crowd is killing themselves and you wonder what it is about. It was like watching that.

"And I thought 'I am going to be in this?'. So I did the pilot thinking 'I'm not sure' but I actually thought it was a good laugh.

"Sometimes you can be a bit precious about this stuff and I like the challenge of doing a shiny floor Saturday night TV show because there is no hiding place.

"You can do a duff show at 10pm on Channel 4 and three people might mention it to you. When you do one of these you are really out there. People slag it off who haven't even seen it if it doesn't go well."

Aside from I Love My Country and Room 101 which he hosts, Frank has recently been performing small stand-up shows in London's Soho Theatre and admits he's got the bug again. "I always think on my deathbed when they ask what do you regret I'll say 'I haven't done enough stand-up' 'cos I think if you can do it, you should, because not many people can.

"I feel like playing to 90 people. I know people do big venues for the money but I don't need the money so perhaps I will just keep doing 'work in progress' gigs until I die. I would be happy with that."

After hosting Fantasy Football League TV shows with pal David Baddiel, and performing the chart-topping Three Lions, Frank will always be associated with the beautiful game. And since he's working on a show called I Love My Country what does he make of the current England team? "I don't mind the millionaire player if they play like a millionaire player. It is just that constant disappointment," says the West Bromwich Albion fan sadly. "I still watch the games but the England team sort of broke my heart in Germany and South Africa. I was at those two tournaments and the crowd were so brilliant, they took over the stadiums - it was a bit like the set of I Love My Country, flags and everything. And then the team come out and spoil it.

"It feels a bit at the moment like I am disheartened with the national team and international football."

So he loves his country - just not its football team quite as much any more.

3 I Love My Country starts on BBC1 tomorrow at 7.30pm.

It's this club where you get together and say 'they don't get that it's brilliant'I like the idea of fishing on a riverbank and talking about life to my small boy on his dreams


TWO LIONS J Frank and comic pal David Baddiel LOVIN' IT With Gabby, Jamelia & Micky

family JGUY With partner

COOEE SON! Comic is thrilled by Buzz
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 3, 2013
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