THE co-writer of hit BBC comedy The Vicar Of Dibley brings his show about living with Parkinson's Disease to Wirral next month as part of a UK tour.

Paul Mayhew-Archer MBE's "Incurable Optimist" is at St Anne’s Parish Centre on Highfield Road in Birkenhead on Sunday, September 4.

The former teacher, who went onto a career spanning more than 40 years in entertainment, was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2011.

It's an incurable illness that gets progressively worse and has nearly 50 symptoms. It is also - as Paul quickly found out - funny.

In 2016 he made a documentary Parkinson’s: The funny Side and won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Presenter. It is permanently available on BBC iplayer.  In 2017 he started doing stand-up about Parkinson’s, first at the Royal Albert Hall then at The Comedy Store. 

In 2018 he took part in his first podcast, sitting next to The Archbishop of Canterbury and performed his first ever One Man show, Incurable Optimist, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is now touring the UK.

He told the Globe: "It's about my life and how it has changed since I got Parkinson's 11 years ago.

"Because  I used to write The Vicar of Dibley and because one of my symptoms is excessive drooling I wanted to call the show From Dibley to Dribbly, but my  wife vetoed that so I called it "Incurable Optimist". 

"I am an incurable optimist. I have to be. It is how I cope with the situation."

Paul also hopes to raise awareness of Parkinson's.

He said: "I hope a lot of people who don't have Parkinson's will come to see the show; not just people who have Parkinsons, but also their family and friends. People know so little about the condition. For instance not all of us have a tremor.

“When I was diagnosed the neurologist  said he could tell I had Parkinson’s because my hand-writing was tiny and because one of my arms didn’t swing when I walked.

"Also he said he’d noticed my facial muscles were somewhat frozen because I seemed to be finding it quite hard to smile. I said that might be because he’d just told me I had Parkinson’s."

Paul recalls that the audience reaction to his show has been very positive. He revealed how one couple had sent him a note afterwards which said "we didn’t know what to expect so we came along, ready to sneak out in the interval. Instead, two hours later we found ourselves still there, still laughing."

The multi-award-winning writer's work includes The Vicar of Dibley, Mrs Brown's Boys and the screen version of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot starring Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman.

He also produced Radio 4 shows I'm Sorry I haven’t A Clue and Old Harry's Game, and as a script editor he has worked on everything from Spitting Image to Miranda.

Bob Rimmer, from the Wirral branch of Parkinson's UK, told the Globe: "Paul's one man show, reflecting on how Parkinson's affects all aspects of his life, is an extremely funny and lighthearted show (think Vicar of Dibley).

"Paul gives his time for 'free' and the venue has also agreed to no charge. On the night, Paul will be greeting people as they arrive from 6pm onwards. It's his way, I suppose, of getting a feel for the audience.

"Anyone who comes to the show will leave at the end feeling really happy and acknowledge that they've learned a great deal regarding Parkinson's.

"Covid affected all charities, not just Parkinson's UK, but we are aiming high to try and raise as much money as we can to make up for the last two years.

"Research into a cure is ongoing but urgently needs funds raising.”

Tickets, £15, are from the venue (07435966586), Bob Rimmer on 07910449284 or by emailing

All proceeds go directly to Parkinson's UK.