Right… much has already been written about how 2016 served up a highly unappetising smorgasbörd of horrors – nightmarish political scenarios coming true, global terrors, celebrity cullings and, for many, not inconsiderable challenge on a personal level.

As for me, it’s been a twisty-turny year of unexpected opportunities and outcomes… amongst the usual voiceoverings and the odd short film I’ve collided with a fair few inspiring people who (whether they like it or not) I have co-opted into my singular wee tribe of collaborators. I’m heading into the new year feeling calm, determined and courageous – honed and cheered by some excellent creative endeavours I decided to say a big old ‘yes’ to in 2016…

Edited highlights:

* Being drafted in by producer Andrew Wright to direct Footloose for Chichester University Combined Honours in March and working alongside the likes of the brilliantly talented MD Matt Greaves and mercurially gifted choreographer Tom Jackson-Greaves (no relation) was an unexpected treat. I learnt so much from my fellow creatives and the enthusiastic, open-hearted 23-strong cast were the gift that kept on giving. A joy!

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* Four delicious gigs with the delightful Silver Swans – this is the year we will do some recordings! It’s about time…

* Had the honour of hosting two post-comedy gig Q&As at Brighton’s Corn Exchange with the incisively brilliant Sara Pascoe and Bridget Christie. A highlight of my Brighton Festival, never mind anyone else’s!

* Two high-octane Club Clicks in May and December, where the Diva donned her ‘fro and took to the dance floor with her dazzling lads again…

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* Back to Chichester University again in October, for Moira Buffini’s Loveplay – an intensive ‘play in a week’ project where the students arrived – research done and lines learnt – to work with a highly swanky finished set, rigged lights and a sound design built as we went along. Another vertiginous learning curve… I was hugely proud of their commitment and focus and once again enjoyed working with some top-notch talent – stage manager supremo Jordan Whitwell, lighting whizz Aaron J Dootson and sound lord Mark Cunningham.

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* November saw the publication of The Odditorium – The tricksters, eccentrics, deviants and inventors whose obsessions changed the world. click here to purchase I contributed a chapter about Russian author and founder of objectivism, Ayn Rand; who I have a particular (morbid) fascination with, having attempted to make a piece of theatre centring on her zero-empathy and dodgy views on altruism. Anyway – here’s me doing a talk at the launch and with editors, David Bramwell and Jo Keeling.

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* Finally, I rounded off the year with a Gogglebox audition and a Christmas message alongside Ms Sue MacLaine as our father-and-daugher alter-egos, Sid and Valerie.

Here’s to a truly corking 2017… Can’t wait.