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Jack Whitehall reveals his dad once refused to go camping with the family after taking ‘one look at the bathroom facilities’


Jack Whitehall spills on lockdown life and his father Michael’s particular distaste for camping ( Picture: Rex)

Comedian Jack Whitehall, 32, on not being able to travel with his dad and what really happened when the family went camping.

What’s your campaign with eBay about?

It’s all about supporting small businesses on eBay, which is something I’m a huge fan of. I’ve been in lockdown like everyone else, trying to spend the time constructively doing home improvements and purchasing stuff for my house. I never thought I’d say these words but John Lewis is dead to me. I’ve become much more house proud and, in the past, it used to descend into a bit of a student house at times but thanks to my eBay purchases it’s looking more like Soho House. I purchased a few things for my parents too. They can’t travel at the moment so I took it upon myself to bring the world to them instead — and furnish their home with souvenirs from other countries.

Do you love an eBay bargain, then?

I do like an eBay bargain and I have lots of friends who have small businesses so it’s something I enjoy and it’s important to support the small guys right now. I don’t just buy stuff for myself but I am an avid gifter and a very generous person, and I like the idea of buying presents for other people that will in fact benefit me. So I bought a cocktail bar as a bit of a joke for my mum and, trust me, my mum will keep it fully stocked so it’s nice for me when I finally get to visit.

What was the strangest thing you bought your parents?

It was a GoPro camera to film their ‘travels around the house’, which is how I billed it to them. Although I don’t know if it’s necessarily a good idea to give them something to record what they’re getting up to behind closed doors in lockdown. I’m usually trying to keep them off social media. My mum is a fully-fledged influencer on Instagram so giving her more opportunity to record her videos is a double-edged sword.

Jack’s dad Michael was really not into the idea of camping (Picture: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Did you think you’d ever see your dad on TikTok?

No, although Jade from Little Mix made a funny TikTok of my dad and it went viral so people now do TikToks based on Travels With My Father. He has become a whole thing, as has my mother. They are just as bad as each other — like a couple of Love Islanders after the show has finished, trying to elongate their moment in the sun. I am very much complicit in creating the monsters they have become.

Did you have staycations when you were growing up?

Yes we did, then the one time we went camping as a family, we went to Cornwall and my father took one look at the bathroom facilities at the campsite and decided he wouldn’t avail himself of them. He took off and booked himself into a B&B down the road while my brother, sister and I stayed at the campsite with my mum. We’d go and see him now and then to have a bath and then he’d go to bed and we’d return to the campsite, so we had a holiday in parallel under different roofs, which worked out quite well.

Did you have holiday plans this summer?

We’d have tried to do another show abroad. I don’t know where we’d have gone but we talked about Japan or South America or places in far-flung corners of the globe and then the pandemic came along and made it impossible. So we decided we’d head around the UK and found some really interesting places to go, which I thought my dad will enjoy. We’ve been separated over lockdown but we just started filming the new series this week so I’ll be spending a lot more time with both my parents over the next month.

Has lockdown changed you?

Definitely. It makes you re-evaluate things and your pace of life changes and you’re able to spend time at home, catching up on things you otherwise may not have done. I ended up doing lots of home improvements and reading more and writing more — a year ago I was doing a lot less of these things. So lockdown had its benefits and, like everyone else, I’m adjusting to a new norm. This is the longest I’ve been at home since I’ve lived here so I’ve spent more time around my community and it feels more like a village than ever before.

Because of the pandemic, Jack has spent more time at home than ever rather than being on the road (Picture: Nick Wright/Rex/Shutterstock)

What are your other new lockdown skills?

I’ve done a lot of cooking and I’ve been making things I’d not normally get around to doing and being a little more adventurous. I got a tagine off eBay and intend to use that doing a lot of slow cooks and stews and barbecuing things overnight, so pretty advanced level cooking. I won’t revert back to Super Noodles every evening.

Are you recognised in your mask?

No, I’m not, but I living in Notting Hill and there are so many famous faces here that if I am recognised I’m the third celebrity you’ve seen in the last ten minutes and probably the least exciting celeb too.

Jack Whitehall has partnered with eBay to support small businesses. You can shop his small business collection on eBay.co.uk now

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