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Craig Revel-Horwood drank the whiskey that killed his alcoholic father

Craig Revel-Horwood drank the last drops from bottle of 70% whiskey that killed his alcoholic father in ‘macabre’ act of remembrance

Craig Revel-Horwood has revealed he drank the last drops from the bottle of 70 per cent whiskey that killed his alcoholic father. 

The Strictly Come Dancing judge’s dad Philip, a former lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy, died in 2015 aged 74 after drinking the home-made bourbon his neighbour gave him.

And in a ‘macabre’ act of remembrance, Craig, 53, and his sister sipped the dregs of the drink on the plane while flying home to Australia to help clear Philip’s house a few weeks after the funeral. 

Remembrance: Craig Revel-Horwood has revealed he drank the last drops from the bottle of 70 per cent whiskey that killed his alcoholic father

Philip died on December 21 with 400mg of alcohol per 100ml in his blood – more than five times the UK drink-drive limit.   

‘A well-meaning neighbour gave him a batch as an early Christmas present and for some reason we will never understand, he decided to crack it open that weekend,’ she told The Mirror.  


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‘Being a beer-only alcoholic, this was unusual behaviour,’ he added.

Craig went on: ‘For some macabre reason, my sister Sue kept the bottle with a tiny drop that was left and we tasted it when I was home.’

Tragic: The Strictly Come Dancing judge’s dad Philip (bottom left), a former lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy, died in 2015 aged 74 after drinking the home-made bourbon his neighbour gave him. Pictured, Craig – centre – with his family

Speaking in his new book In Strictest Confidence, Craig spoke about his father going on a booze-fuelled tirade with a shotgun. 

‘My relationship with my dad wasn’t amazing. He battled with alcoholism all his life and he wasn’t a nice man when he was drunk,’ he said. 

‘My parents had split up in 1989 after my father went on a drunken rampage with two loaded shotguns in the street in Australia where I was brought up.

‘The neighbours and my family had to hide under beds waiting for the police to come. Dad fired shots and nearly killed my brother-in-law, David.’ 

Craig moved to Paris after leaving home, while back at the family house in Australia on 9 January 1989, his father’s birthday, Phil crowned a furious, drunken binge by grabbing a shotgun from the house and scattering his family to neighbours’ houses, where they waited for the police.

Honour: And in a ‘macabre’ act of remembrance, Craig, 53, and his sister sipped the dregs of the drink on the plane while flying home to Australia to help clear Philip’s house a few weeks after the funeral. Pictured right, Philip in his early naval days 

The local newspaper reported the incident, under the headline Shotgun Phil, while Craig’s father was persuaded to go into rehab after a short spell in jail but he only managed to stay sober for three years. 

‘My dad can be the nicest, most charming man, but when he drinks, that person disappears. I’m still on speaking terms with him and I still love him but we all have to accept that he’s chosen alcohol,’ Craig told Femail of his father, who was divorced from his mum, in 2008.

Craig and Phil reconciled their relationship later in 2008 at a family wedding, with Phil telling the Sunday People that year that he was ‘proud’ to call the Strictly star his son. 

Devastating: Philip (left) died on December 21 2015 with 400mg of alcohol per 100ml in his blood – more than five times the UK drink-drive limit

When Craig learned that Philip had died, he was mid-way through playing Captain Hook in a Peter Pan panto and felt like he couldn’t drop everything to fly back to Australia for the funeral. 

‘It was awful being on the other side of the world while my family were going through this but there was nothing I could do. To be honest, I had always asked myself, if he did die, would I drop everything and go back for the funeral? The answer was: “No, I wouldn’t”,’ he recalled in In Strictest Confidence. 

‘Even though I couldn’t be there, I wanted to contribute something so I went to the sound engineer from the theatre. “I have to sing at my dad’s funeral,” I said. “But I can’t be there in person. Can we record a song?”

Loss: ‘A well-meaning neighbour gave him a batch as an early Christmas present and for some reason we will never understand, he decided to crack it open that weekend,’ she told The Mirror

‘So we recorded My Way in my dressing room. I got so emotional that my voice cracked but I couldn’t sing it again, because I was overcome.’ 

The song was played out in the funeral and Craig got up at 3am dressed in his mourning suit and via Skype was able to be there for the ceremony. 

As a final gesture to Philip, the choreographer turned an entire room in his house into a refrigerated wine library cellar in his honour and a memorial park bench with a plaque in the garden. 

‘He would have loved that and seen the funny side to it. I felt I had made a fitting tribute to him — and now I can toast him every time I open a particularly fine vintage wine, or simply crack open a beer,’ Craig said.  

Exciting news: Elsewhere, Craig revealed he’s looking to adopt with his boyfrien Jonathan Myring (pictured)

 

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