10 May 1968 |
|Genres||Parody, irony, satire,
character and musical comedy
|Subject(s)||French, social, gender stereotypes;
British politics and history
|Spouse||Katherine Perry (1995-2000) (divorced)
Amber Hargreaves (2002-2008) (separated)
|Notable works and roles||The Pub Landlord
Time Gentlemen Please
Multiple Personality Disorder
Alastair James Hay "Al" Murray (born 10 May 1968), is a British comedian and TV personality best known by his stand-up persona and quick repartee. He is best known for his character of The Pub Landlord, a mock-xenophobic but stereotypical public house licensee. In 2003, Murray was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. In 2007 he was voted the 16th greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups.
Early life 
Murray was born at Stewkley, Buckinghamshire, only son of Lieutenant Colonel Ingram Bernard Hay Murray (a great-great-great-great-grandson of John Murray, 3rd Duke of Atholl who married Charlotte, Baroness Strange) and Juliet Anne Thackeray, née Ritchie (a great-great-granddaughter of William Makepeace Thackeray). His grandfather, the diplomat Sir Ralph Murray, was a scion of Scottish nobility who married into the von Kuenburg family, aristocrats from Austria. His ancestral background affords him a privileged insight into European culture and heritage.
Murray was educated at Bedford School, before going up to St Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating with the degree of MA in Modern History. At Oxford he performed in the comedy group, the Oxford Revue in a show directed by Stewart Lee.
Personal life 
Murray married Amber Hargreaves, in 2002. The couple, who have two daughters, Scarlett and Willow, separated in 2008.
Murray started out touring with other comedians including Freddie Starr, Harry Hill and Frank Skinner. He won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1999, after being nominated in 1996, 1997 and 1998. He started out with an act that involved sound-effect impressions, including of guns, animals and a particularly impressive car boot; a combination that prompted an equal number of plaudits for vocal skill and complaints of tastelessness.
The Pub Landlord 
His character, the Pub Landlord is a stereotypical, right-wing, British patriot advocating a dislike for anything "un-British". This character effuses a particular animosity towards Germans and the French; he will challenge the audience to name any country in the world before producing some plausible instance of Britain bettering it. The character also has a great love for the British 1970s rock band Queen, often getting musician(s) on his show to perform one of Queen's tunes in their own style.
The character is very different from Murray's real life public-school and Oxbridge background and first appeared in 1994 when Murray was the tour support act for Harry Hill. At that time part of a comedy band called "The Pub Band International" in which he played the drums, they were looking for a link to Hill's act. After trying out a character which was deemed not to work, on the eve of performing at the Edinburgh Festival, Murray invented the Pub Landlord.
Murray then made his first television appearances on Hill's TV show playing his big brother Alan ("If it's too hard, I can't understand it!"), and subsequently featured in a short film, Pub Fiction (1995).
Murray's theatre show with the Pub Landlord character My Gaff, My Rules was short-listed for a Laurence Olivier Award in 2002, and he has also appeared in character as the central focus of the television series Time Gentlemen Please, as well as a number of other television appearances, including the An Audience with... strand. Subsequent theatre tours, ...A Glass of White Wine for the Lady (another catchphrase) and Giving it Both Barrels also ran to critical acclaim. When asked about the sitcom during live shows, in character as the Pub Landlord, Murray claims to be unhappy with the television series, a joke some have taken literally.
His chat show Al Murray's Happy Hour began airing 13 January 2007 on ITV. The show has won a British Comedy Award and was nominated for a National Television Award. A new series returned on 12 September 2008, and of this Murray said:
"It goes without saying ... the trouble with telly these days is that the viewer is not credited with enough intelligence and the fact I'm back on is proof they know what's good for them".
On 18 December 2009, Murray hosted the BBC One TV show, Live at the Apollo.
In May 2011, Murray began hosting a new quiz show, Compete for the Meat on the UKTV channel Dave. The show is co-presented by ex-Blue Peter presenter, Zöe Salmon, with voice-overs from Jim Rosenthal. The prizes are: a frozen chicken for 1st place, sausages for 2nd place and Shame for the Losers! (3rd & 4th places).
Other work 
As a teenager, Murray was a drummer in the 'big band' at Bedford School., and also played percussion in the Bedfordshire County Youth Orchestra. He played drums on the music for his Pub Landlord TV series and during an appearance by Phil Collins, they performed a duet. He also plays the drums for the rock cover band T-34 and appeared at the Download festival in 2010, returning once again in 2011.
In 2004, Murray appeared as a contestant in the first series of Hell's Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay's cookery based reality show on ITV, and in 2005 appeared as a contestant on Comic Relief does Fame Academy on BBC One. Murray presented Al Murray's Road To Berlin on the Discovery Channel. This was a series about the last phase of World War II, taking him from the beaches of Normandy, through Arnhem and up the Rhine, ending in Berlin. In the series he drove around in a restored Willys Jeep, and interviewed survivors from both sides of the war. In the episode about Operation Market Garden he parachuted, together with veterans, from a plane, to commemorate the battle.
Murray has twice appeared in the An Audience with... format - a televised show where the audience is made up solely of his peers i.e. other actors, actresses, performers and media personnel. In 2005 he recorded An Audience with Al Murray for the ITV network, and this was shown on 19 March of that year; and on 27 October 2007 Another Audience with Al Murray was broadcast, by the same TV channel.
In 2007, Murray published the book The Pub Landlord's Book of British Common Sense. It consists of The Pub Landlord's "sage" advice, ie. opinions and views on a range of topics including James Bond actors, religion, politics, television, films and Churchill quotations.
In late 2010, Murray made a documentary on German culture for BBC4 Al Murray's German Adventure in which he sought to find a different side of the German nation than the one portrayed by his Pub Landlord character.
Also in 2010 Murray was a guest as a 'Star in the Reasonably Priced Car' on Top Gear.
Murray has invented his own crisps branded 'Steak and Al Pie' as entered in a "crisp competition" hosted by Gary Lineker, used to raise money for Comic Relief. The other flavours were 'Jimmy Con Carne'(Jimmy Carr), 'Stephen Fry-Up'(Stephen Fry) and 'Frank Roast Dinner'(Frank Skinner). The winner was Stephen Fry-up (27%), with Al's in 2nd with 25%. The other two got 24% each. 
On 8 December 2012 Murray was on the ITV special The McFly Show starring British pop band McFly. He played the band's landlord in the character of the Pub Landlord as well as playing the drums with McFly for their version of the Queen song Don't Stop Me Now.
Stand-up DVDs 
|Live - My Gaff, My Rules||24 November 2003||Live at London's Playhouse Theatre|
|...And A Glass of White Wine for the Lady!: Recorded Live at the Playhouse London||22 November 2004||Live at London's Playhouse Theatre|
|Giving It Both Barrels: Live||29 May 2006||Live at London's Bloomsbury Theatre|
|Live at the London Palladium||19 November 2007||Live at London's Palladium Theatre|
|Beautiful British Tour: Live at the O2||16 November 2009||Live at London's O2 Arena|
|Barrel of Fun: Live||22 November 2010||Live at London's HMV Hammersmith Apollo|
|The Only Way Is Epic||26 November 2012||Live at Brighton's Theatre Royal|
|The Pub Landlord's Book of British Common Sense||11 October 2007|
|The Pub Landlord Says Think Yourself British||5 October 2009|
|The Pub Landlord's Great British Pub Quiz Book||28 October 2010|
- "The A-Z of laughter". Guardian Unlimited (London: The Guardian). 7 December 2003. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- Cavendish, Dominic (3 March 2007). "Prime time gentlemen, please". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- "Al Murray's Biography". Chortle. Archived from the original on 7 January 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- "Al Murray". BBC Comedy. BBC. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- Al Murray breaks up with wife
- Paul Chambers 'blow up' airport tweet appeal judgement reserved
- "Perrier Comedy Awards". Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- "2001-2002 26th Laurence Olivier Awards". LA Times. Archived from the original on 17 October 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- "Pints mean prizes". Chortle. Retrieved 12 February 2007.
- "Al Murray: Time Gentlemen Please". Virgin Radio. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2007.
- Naughton, Philippe. "When Harry met Murray". The Times Online (London: The Times). Retrieved 7 January 2007.
- Penn, Elaine (6–12 September 2008). "Lager Than Life". TV Choice.
- The Guardian.co.uk Interview 28 October 2007
- "Download Festival - T34". Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- "60 SECONDS: Al Murray". Metro (Associated Metro Limited). Retrieved 12 February 2007.
- "Landlord pulls in stars". Manchester Evening News. Archived from the original on 25 January 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2007.
- "Putting the Al in altitude". Chortle. Retrieved 12 February 2007.
- IMDB Listing, An Audience with Al Murray, 19 March 2005
- IMDB Listing, Another Audience with Al Murray, 27 October 2007
- "Al Murray: His Gaff, His Rules". Chester Chronicle. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
- Al Murray's German Adventure
- "Al Murray's German Adventure". Retrieved 12 December 2010.
- The Cambodian Children's Charity ('CamKids')
- "CamBuild - Background". Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
- ‘Stephen Fry Up’ wins Walkers Clash of the Comics for Red Nose Day http://www.talkingretail.com/products/product-news/stephen-fry-up-wins-walkers-clash-of-the-comics-for-red-nose-day
- Official website
- The Pub Landlord (Official site)
- Chortle page (including any forthcoming dates)
- Al Murray at the Internet Movie Database