Singer EN­GEL­BERT HUMPERDINCK on po­etry, pink ex­cess and the one thing he won’t eat at Christ­mas

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Guilty plea­sure? A pint of bit­ter and a bag of crisps when I re­turn home. Where is home? Mostly Bel Air, Los An­ge­les. But I still have a prop­erty with its own pub and mag­nif­i­cent gar­dens in a vil­lage out­side Le­ices­ter. Ca­reer plan B? Mu­sic was my des­tiny and I’m grate­ful that I didn’t have to rein­vent my­self. Big­gest bug­bear? Rude drivers. Se­cret to a happy re­la­tion­ship? Ten­der­ness goes a long way. Most ro­man­tic thing you’ve ever done? Take my wife Pa­tri­cia to Paris for our hon­ey­moon in 1964 when we had very lit­tle money. Your per­fect Christ­mas din­ner? Roast pork, chicken, all the trim­mings – but never turkey. I had a pet turkey called Fid­get as a boy and have never eaten it. Dream din­ner-party guest? Win­ston Churchill – I would love to find out the sto­ries be­hind his great quotes. Ad­vice to teenage self? Ed­u­ca­tion is so im­por­tant. I left school at 15 and I wish I’d known then what I know now. Cat or dog? We’ve had 22 dogs over the years and cur­rently have a black and white cross called Shirley. Starstruck mo­ment? Meet­ing Cary Grant. Big break? Tak­ing the place of Dickie Valen­tine on the Sun­day Night at the Lon­don Pal­la­dium TV show in 1967 when he fell ill. It led to me record­ing ‘Re­lease Me’. Ca­reer high­light? Meet­ing Princess Grace of Monaco when I went there to do a char­ity gala for the Red Cross. Se­cret skill? I love writ­ing po­etry. One thing that would make your life bet­ter? Peace of mind – I’m a wor­rier. Phi­los­o­phy? Sim­plic­ity is the essence of suc­cess. Last film that made you cry? The Notebook. My wife has Alzheimer’s, so the film is very close to home. First record you bought? ‘When I Fall in Love’ by Nat King Cole, which I bought for Pa­tri­cia, my then girl­friend. Best Christ­mas present you ever re­ceived? An old red tele­phone box from my wife. Most ex­trav­a­gant pur­chase? The Pink Palace, Jayne Mans­field’s for­mer man­sion, which I owned for 27 years.

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