Matt Lucas is best known to Doctor Who fans as secret badass Nardole, but that’s just one venture in his long, illustrious career. Now, in this “sort of autobiography”, Lucas reveals the A-Z of his life, laced with his trademark charm and wit.
Let’s get the big question out of the way: is Little Me a proper autobiography? To quote Lucas’ iconic character Vicky Pollard: yeah, but, no, but, yeah, but… (oh my god, I so can’t believe I just said that!). It definitely has all the trappings of the genre – family, childhood, celebrity name dropping (which becomes a running gag in itself). But it’s not in chronological order, and by Lucas’ own admission, it’s “tonally…a bit all over the place”. On paper this sounds like a nightmare, but in practice it’s rather ingenious. Little Me is a highly accessible book, and with Lucas’ varied career, the A-Z structure allows you to easily find your favourite chapters. Just want to read about his time on Doctor Who? Then go to T, for TARDIS. Alternatively, if you want to know about his comedy breakthrough on Shooting Stars, head for W – “What are the scores, George Dawes?”.
Lucas has plenty of fun playing around with the format, and he crams as much in as he can. You’ll learn about his top 10 favourite foods, his love for Arsenal FC and the music of Queen, and much, much more along the way. The alphabetical format only really falters when it reaches X, but Lucas manages to turn even that into a laugh. Similarly, chapter M – the Middle of the Book – is actually a song, complete with musical notation, lyrics, and a website you can hear it on.
Every chapter is written in a warm, friendly style – it’s easy to find yourself relaxed and engrossed in Lucas’ company. (Indeed, Little Me opens with the words “Hello. How are you?”) But it’s not all fun and games , as the book does touch on some more personal matters as well. There’s discussion about Lucas’ sexuality, his Jewish upbringing, his hair loss (and the accident which may or may not have caused it). And, most touchingly of all, is chapter K for Kevin, almost exclusively made up of glossy colour photos in memory of Lucas’ former partner.
It comes as no surprise though that Little Britain gets the lion’s share of the spotlight. Lucas knows what his audience wants, and he makes no attempt to shy away from it. From humble beginnings to a sell-out tour, Lucas offers a comprehensive look behind-the-scenes of this genuine comedy phenomenon. He even stops to ponder whether the show would work in today’s television climate (spoiler: probably not). The one thing you don’t get here though is much ‘gossip’ about his double act with David Walliams. Lucas is fair and generous to his comedy partner, overtly avoiding mean-spiritedness to anyone mentioned in the book. We’re afraid if you’re desperately seeking sensationalist tabloid headlines, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
Many readers will be interested in Doctor Who though and we’re happy to report there’s plenty of it. (Lucas actually wrote this book while filming in Cardiff, so it was very much on his mind at the time!) He discusses everything from his initial reluctance – and eventual acceptance – to star in Doctor Who, as well as the unexpected re-introduction of Nardole in Series 10. What started out as a small cameo soon transformed into a major recurring role, which took Lucas by surprise as much as anyone. There’s lots of love for his co-stars Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie, and even some theories about what happened to Nardole after The Doctor Falls. Lucas’ passion for the show really does shine through.
Overall, Little Me is a funny and fascinating look into the life of one of Britain’s best loved comedy stars. It covers everything you’d want it to, with oodles of the warmth and charm we’ve now come to expect. In short: if you’re a fan of Matt Lucas, you’re going to love this. So, when you’re next in a bookshop, remember to follow in the footsteps (or should that be wheelchair tracks?) of Little Britain favourite Andy Pipkin, by pointing to a copy of Little Me and proudly declaring: “I want that one!”…
Little Me by Matt Lucas is available to buy now in paperback.