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TV LIFE: An impressive act to follow!

THE pressure has been on for Alistair McGowan this year. After three series of his award-winning show Alistair McGowan's Big Impression, he and the team that help him create his chucklesome alternative reality for our best known celebrities are facing competition for the first time.

While he's never seen satirist Rory Bremner as a rival, he is worried about BBC Two's new impressions series Dead Ringers which, like McGowan's show, makes gentle digs at well-known celebrities.

"Dead Ringers is keeping me on my toes and it's one of the reasons I've been keeping quiet about what's on the Christmas show," says McGowan. "It makes it very awkward for us because we have to wait and see what they do before we start work.

"But we will inevitably end up doing the same thing. It's an odd pressure to cope with when you've done three successful series."

As such, McGowan, Ronni Ancona and the rest of the Big Impression team have left filming of the Christmas special until the last minute. But with Christmas fast approaching, McGowan now feels it's safe to reveal what we can expect from the show.

"There will be several new characters, and some old favourites," says the 37-year-old comedian. "Uri Geller is a new one. He's somebody I wanted to do before but suddenly he was in the jungle and I said 'Come on, we have to do this'."

McGowan will also don a long wig and purple glasses as Ozzy Osbourne when The Osbournes star in A Christmas Carol, and Kevin Keegan will spend some time with New York's sassiest women in Sex And Man City.

The Big Impression is on BBC One on Christmas Day at 8.25pm
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 22, 2002
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