POOR old Peter Doherty has had a bad press.

Constantly at the centre of a media maelstrom, the former Libertines and Babyshambles star, right, has been bombarded with allegations, accusations, invasions and intrusions.

But this ‘rock and roll badboy’ is more than the cartoon character he is portrayed as.

Yes, he may be impulsive and naive, but he is also one of this country’s greatest songwriters – an idealist dreamer with a poet’s eye and an endearing generosity of spirit.

For the first time since last year’s eagerly-awaited reunion with ex-Libertines bandmate Carl Barat, Peter is back on the road, with a gig tomorrow at the Oxford O2 Academy.

This time he is serving up his cult solo work – including gems from acclaimed album Grace/Wastelands.

It’s a brave step for our Pete; going it alone is something, he admits, he has never taken lightly. Indeed, he says, it has been one of the most frightening things he has ever done, bringing to the surface some deep-rooted fears.

“They kept telling me in rehab that I had self-esteem problems, so I went along with it, but it didn’t really register,” he admits. “But now, I can really see that, because I don’t really believe people when they tell me that they enjoy listening to the songs. Maybe I’m just warped, you know?

“I’ve learnt that there’s nothing in my day to day life, or anything that I do, that is in any way aimed at changing how I’m perceived or how I’m presented,” he sighs. “It’s completely impossible.”

Support comes from Lipstick Melodies. Tickets are sold out.