Alistair McGowan says it’s “harder” to do impressions for younger audiences

Alistair McGowan has said his career as an impressionist is “drawing to a close” as his act “doesn’t really work” on modern audiences.

The actor and comedian, who is best known for his BBC sketch show The Big Impression which ran between 2000 and 2004, discussed the state of his career during an interview with The Scots magazine (via the Independent).

“I still do some live shows but that is drawing to a close now as I am not feeling motivated enough,” McGowan said. “When I have done certain events recently, I have noticed that younger audiences just don’t watch television in the way they used to.


“The younger audience particularly has no idea who these people are, so my whole methodology doesn’t really work for a modern audience. It works for an audience my age or above, and for those I am very happy to dust off my old impressions and throw in a few new ones. But it has gotten harder and I am less interested.”

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McGowan, who has recently performed shows as a pianist, was previously known for impressions of former prime minister Tony Blair, former England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, among others.

“Before, I would sit in front of a television show and watch people and think about impersonating, but now I’ll sit in front of the piano,” he added. “Things do still come in and if I need to work on a voice I will, but I’m not trying to perfect the latest football manager, like I would do in the old days.”

Along with The Big Impression, McGowan provided voices on the sketch show Spitting Image and hosted ITV sports show You Cannot Be Serious! in 2012.

Elsewhere, it was recently reported that Sacha Baron Cohen will reprise his character of Ali G for a new stand-up tour.