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Tim Vine

January 2010

He loves a pun does Tim Vine, but he's not so keen on cats. Partway through our chat he breaks off and begins hammering on his lounge window. "Get out," he yawps. "There's a cat in my garden," says Vine by way of explanation.
"I'm not mad keen on them when they poo in my garden. I've got one those movement detector things so if a cat comes in the garden it sends off a high-pitched noise they don't like. But I think they've grown accustomed to it."
He adds: "I always thought it might be good for a horror film because when it's set off it makes this 'click' noise. And there have been occasions when I've come home late at night, my whole garden is in complete darkness and you just hear that 'click' noise. Meaning something is out there."
It's typical of Vine's creative mind. When not writing one-liners for his stand-up show or rehearsing lines for Not Going Out, in which he appears as Tim alongside Lee Mack as, erm, Lee, the 42-year-old younger brother of BBC presenter Jeremy Vine is thinking of new ideas.
For example, he's just finished panto in Richmond, Surrey with Jane Asher playing Muddles in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. The pair of them would go swimming in between performances but while Asher did lengths, he'd be trying to invent new swimming strokes.
And while we're discussing Twitter (he's not on it), he comes up with Clutter as a good name for a social networking website.
Maybe he's trying to achieve something that'll make his parents view him with the same pride as his older brother.
"I think the default position is to back up the eldest, isn't it?," he laughs. "You could never criticise him because they'd say 'oh Tim, I wish you and Jeremy would get on'."
He admits that early on ma and pa Vine wondered what their youngest was doing pursuing a career in comedy.
"Now they see it is actually a job. And doing panto, they loved coming to that. And my brother's two daughters are five and three so their first experience of the panto was to see uncle Tim."
They also watched him over Christmas on Celebrity Wipeout, his latest TV appearance after Countdown, Neighbours and Celebrity Mastermind, which he won, with Elvis as his specialised subject.
"I'm a big Elvis fan," he says.
"Last year I passed my Elvis Death Day."
To anyone who isn't a fan this may sound odd but it's the day you reach the exact age of Elvis when he died: 42 years, seven months and eight days. He's excited that I know mine – it was last Sunday.
"Mine was October 12."
How did you commemorate it?
"I was in a restaurant eating at the time. I was on my own and in a slightly worrying way wanted to make conversation about it with three people on the next table. I shared it with them and (laughs) there was no interest there at all."
He adds: "It makes you realise that you're in a better position than he was at that age. There was a man who had absolutely everything. In the end things worked out better for me than him."
For all his TV exploits, Vine is probably most often recognised these days for Not Going Out, the BBC sitcom which will be returning at the end of the year. Ahead of that he has an extensive stand-up tour that comes to Nottingham next week, called Joke-a-motive.
"It's the same but different," he says of the show, which will be rich with his trademark puns.
"Where it was 'Black Beauty, he's a dark horse' or 'Velcro, what a rip off,' it may now be 'three cheers for rap music, hip-hop hooray'.
"I've not changed the satire, that's the important thing."
Although he could have been more prepared.
"I feel like I've missed a trick with merchandise. I wanted to get some Tim Vine dolls where you pull the chord and it says 'I never sleep with fish, I'm halibut'."

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