Belfast Telegraph

Jack Whitehall tells of his father’s surprising demands at Christmas

The comedian has filmed a Netflix Christmas special with his father.

Jack Whitehall and his father Michael (Ian West/PA)
Jack Whitehall and his father Michael (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Jack Whitehall has said his father’s surprising demands at Christmas include making the whole family stand for the Queen’s Speech.

The comedian, 31, was joined by his father Michael in the Netflix series Travels With My Father, which followed them as they journeyed through countries including Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

They are reuniting for a Christmas special, filmed at the London Palladium with guests including Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville and the stars of Queer Eye.

Whitehall said his father enforces a number of traditions “quite strictly” across the festive period.

He said one of his earliest memories was being dragged to his feet as a baby for the annual pre-recorded address to the Commonwealth.

He said: “Christmas at the Whitehall residence can be quite stressful.

“My mother tries to run it like a military operation. My father has a very short temper.

“We have a lot of traditions that need to be adhered to quite strictly, like standing for the Queen’s Speech.

“The cooking my father doesn’t participate in at all.

“He just sits in the other room with a little bell and demands his dinner and we have to scurry around and wait on him hand and foot.”

He added: “My earliest Christmas memory is being forced to stand for the Queen’s Speech by my father when I was a baby, and him literally dragging me up to make sure I was stood for the national anthem, and that tradition has maintained throughout my life.”

Michael Whitehall, a producer and agent, said his favourite part of Christmas was the Queen’s Christmas message.

“The Queen’s Speech and the fact that the shops are shut and it gives me a break from Mrs Whitehall’s shopping addiction,” he said.

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Hilary Whitehall and Michael Whitehall (Ian West/PA)

“Oh, and mince pies with cream and custard.”

They also enlisted the skills of West End veterans Lord Lloyd-Webber and Sir Tim Rice to stage a Christmas nativity during their show at the London Palladium.

Michael Whitehall claimed he had made the selections to inject some class into the proceedings.

He said: “I wanted to find someone classy, witty and successful, in the hope of inspiring Jack in his chosen career.”

Jack Whitehall: Christmas With My Father is available on Netflix now.

PA

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