Michael Barrymore is to return to showbusiness by playing comic great Spike Milligan in an upcoming stage play.

Opening on February 5th at Windsor's Theatre Royal, Surviving Spike tells of the life of the Goons star through the eyes of his former agent and manager Norma Foster, played by former EastEnder Gill Halfpenny.

And Barrymore will attempt to resurrect his faltering career by making his dramatic stage debut.

"He will take you on an hilarious and emotional journey as the legendary comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright and creator of The Goon Show," the show's website said.

The former Strike It Lucky host saw his career ruined when Essex builder Stuart Lubbock was found dead in his swimming pool seven years ago, though no one was charged in connection with the death.

Terry Lubbock, Mr Lubbock's father, told the BBC: "The shine has gone off Barrymore.

"I don't think he has got any hope of resurrecting his career - although I think he'll keep trying."

Barrymore emigrated to New Zealand in 2004 with his then partner Shaun Davis, returning in 2006 to take part in Celebrity Big Brother.

Despite clashes with glamour model Jodie Marsh and politician George Galloway, Barrymore finished second in the show - the crown going to fake celebrity Chantelle Houghton.

21/01/2008 11:58:06