MEN BEHAVING BADLY star Neil Morrissey joined the pre-World Cup fever in Johannesburg last night, adding his considerable weight to the growing optimism surrounding the tournament in South Africa.
Morrissey, filming a series called “Men Brewing Badly” for ITV4, has been bitten by the African bug after travelling through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa to reach the World Cup.
Morrisey, currently starring on British television’s Waterloo Road, is also renowned as the voice of children’s television icon Bob The Builder. He said: “I’ve had a great time travelling through this continent. I’ve done a lot of charity work further north but this trip had it all.
“We travelled all the way down, we had our problems, but there was always an African solution, a man with a heavy hammer to fix our truck.
“I can’t believe how cheerful the African people are, despite the poverty you see. I don’t understand the negative stuff we’ve seen in the press about this World Cup. It’s going to be the best ever.”
Morrissey and his lively crew of six, will film the end of their series in an ice cream truck with shoots in Soweto, the Pirates sports club in Johannesburg and at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, venue for England’s opening Group C game against the USA on June 12.
He grins: “All we need now is tickets for that game. It’s bloody sold out! I can’t believe it, can you help?
“We’ve been to the stadium and left a message of encouragement pinned to the wall in the England dressing room. Who’s going to win the World Cup? England! It’s got to be England! And I’m backin Wayne Rooney to win the Golden Boot as tournament top scorer.
“Look, whatever happens, it’s going to be a great tournament. We’ve travelled around, everybody has been so wonderful. I haven’t seen any sign of the crime and deadly snakes everybody talks about.
“I just want England fans to come out here and enjoy it. It’s not too late. Get on a flight!”
Morrissey did reveal one worrying fact. He’s a Crystal Palace fan. The south-east London club are on the verge of bankruptcy, but the 47-year-old from Stoke, who also starred in a recent run of Rain Man on stage in London’s West End, insists: “The club has been saved. I can reveal they’ve found buyers who will rescue the club.”