Me and my glasses

Christopher Biggins

Christopher Biggins on his eyewear collection

Christopher Biggins

How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own today?

At the moment I have 15 pairs but in the 1970s, before Timothy Mallett became famous, I had 700 pairs. People just kept giving them to me. I had so many different colours, if I left the house in a rush, they clashed terribly with what I was wearing.

Do you have a favourite pair?

I don’t really, it depends on my mood. I do have three pairs I really love and enjoy wearing though.

Can you describe your first pair of spectacles?

Yes, they were metal frames in the Billy Bunter style, but that was 60 years ago. I’m 68 this year.

Who would you pick as your eyewear style icon and why?

Dame Edna. I love outrageous specs and she’s such a theatrical joy – so special.

Do you wear contact lenses and why?

I went through a phase of wearing contact lenses and still wear them for stage work, but I really do love glasses. They are just fantastic. I could never have laser eye surgery; I’m just too frightened. I tend to wear contact lenses for panto work, as glasses wouldn’t look right but, having said that, I did wear glasses in one show and changed them for every entrance. 

What prompted you to go for an eye examination?

The fact that I didn’t realise that when I looked at a tree it had individual leaves. To me it was just a green mass. Who knew I would be able to focus properly? I had my first eye exam when I was about seven or eight-years-old.

What symptoms were you experiencing?

Things were blurred, such as when I went to the cinema or the theatre. When I wore my glasses everything suddenly came into focus. It was like magic.

Has wearing spectacles changed your outlook on eye care?

Yes, I have type 2 diabetes so I have an eye test every year. My eyes are deteriorating year-on-year and it looks like I’ll probably develop cataracts. I strongly believe in a yearly eye test. You discover all sorts of symptoms. If you have diabetes you have to be on top of it.