David Walliams

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David Walliams
Walliams in 2008
Born David Edward Walliams
(1971-08-20) 20 August 1971 (age 43)
Merton, London, England
Occupation Comedian, Actor, Voice actor, Author, Presenter, Activist
Years active 1992–present
Television Rock Profile (1999–2000)
Little Britain (2003–06)
Come Fly with Me (2010–11)
Britain's Got Talent (2012–)
Big School (2013–)
Spouse(s) Lara Stone (m. 2010; separated 2015)
Children 1
Official website

David Edward Walliams (born 20 August 1971), known as David Walliams (/ˈwæliəmz/), is an English comedian, actor, author, television presenter and activist, best known for his partnership with Matt Lucas on the BBC One sketch shows Little Britain, Rock Profile and Come Fly with Me.

Since 2012 Walliams has been a judge on the ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent. Since August 2013, he has written and starred in the BBC One sitcom Big School playing chemistry teacher Keith Church.

By the end of 2014, Walliams had sold over 4 million books and is described as "the fastest growing children's author in the UK." He is often compared to Roald Dahl.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Walliams was born David Edward Williams in Merton, London. He was the son of Peter, a London Transport engineer, and Kathleen Ellis, a lab technician and grew up in Banstead, Surrey. Walliams was educated at Collingwood Boys' School in Wallington, and the independent Reigate Grammar School,[citation needed] where he was a contemporary of Robert Shearman. He changed his stage name to David Walliams when he joined the actors' he union Equity, as there was already a member named David Williams.[4]


Walliams performed in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio play Phantasmagoria, written by Mark Gatos.

From 2003 to 2005 Walliams co-wrote and co-starred in three series of the BBC sketch show Little Britain with Matt Lucas. The programme first aired on BBC Three before moving to the more mainstream BBC One. A successful live stage show of the series, Little Britain Live, was produced in 2006. A number of seasonal and charity specials followed, up to 2009. A spin-off series produced in the USA by HBO, Little Britain USA, aired in 2008.

In 2005 Walliams, Simon Pegg, Lucy Davis and Lauren Laverne starred in the video for Charlotte Hatherley's single Bastardo . Later in the year, Walliams presented a documentary on James Bond, entitled David Walliams: My Life with James Bond. In 2007 he returned to non-comedy television, garnering excellent reviews[citation needed] for his portrayal of a suave and dangerous manipulator in Stephen Poliakoff's Capturing Mary.

Walliams portrayed comedian Frankie Howerd in the BBC Four television film Rather You Than Me. In 2010, Walliams appeared with Paul Rudd and Steve Carell in the comedy Dinner for Schmucks.

In April 2012 Walliams appeared in an episode of ITV Perspectives entitled "David Walliams: The Genius of Dahl".[5]

Walliams played the mole-like alien, Gibbis in the sixth series of Doctor Who, "The God Complex".

On 21 March 2012 Walliams was the narrator of Are You Having a Laugh? TV and Disability on BBC Two.[6]

In 2012 he narrated the ITV2 series Top Dog Model.

In March 2014 Walliams narrated a short video for the charity, Electrical Safety First, featuring the character Charley from the Charley Says educational films of the 1970s.[7]

As of 16 August 2013 Walliams writes and stars in BBC One sitcom Big School as chemistry teacher Keith Church opposite Catherine Tate, Frances de la Tour and Phillip Glenister.

In 2015 coinciding with the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth, Walliams will star in Partners in Crime as Tommy Beresford in two three-part stories of The Secret Adversary and N or M?.[8]

Britain's Got Talent[edit]

Since 2012 Walliams has been a judge on the ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent with Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Simon Cowell.

David Walliams and Matt Lucas[edit]

Walliams and Matt Lucas first met at the National Youth Theatre. At their first meeting, Lucas did an impression of Jimmy Savile and Walliams an impression of Frankie Howerd. They would not meet for another year.[9] In the late 1990s, playing minor roles in sketches such as The Club, Walliams and Lucas played grotesque caricatures of various rock musicians in the series Rock Profile and in the spoof documentary series Sir Bernard's Stately Homes. They were also stars of the Paramount Comedy Channel show Mash and Peas, and it was in this guise that they appeared in the Fat Les video (see above). Walliams and Lucas also had small roles in Plunkett and Maclaine as prisoners.

The duo appeared together in a music video for the Pet Shop Boys single "I'm with Stupid", in which the two are apparently auditioning their version of the song's video for Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, who are tied up and appear to be hostages.

The pair are best known for Little Britain, which ran from 2003 to 2009 on the BBC in the UK and from 2008 onwards on HBO in the USA. Among the characters Walliams played were Emily Howard, a deluded "transvestite", Ray McCooney, an insane Scottish hotel owner, and Sebastian Love, an aide de camp to the Prime Minister (portrayed by Anthony Head) on whom Love has a huge crush. The characters from Little Britain, played by Walliams and Lucas, appeared in a 2010 UK television advertising campaign for the Nationwide Building Society.

Their later series was Come Fly with Me, a six-part series airing on BBC One.[10] The first episode was the third most watched programme of Christmas Day 2010, and the most watched comedy of the year.[11] The duo have not worked or made any public appearances together since early 2011 (although they each make separate cameo appearances in Michael Winterbottom's 2013 film The Look of Love).



Year Title Role
2004 Shaun of the Dead Voice on TV
2005 Stoned
2006 A Cock and Bull Story Haas
Marie Antoinette Hairdresser (uncredited)
2007 Run, Fat Boy, Run
Stardust Sextus
2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Bulgy Bear (voice)
Virgin Territory Cart pusher
2010 Dinner for Schmucks Müeller
Marmaduke Anton Harrison
2012 Room on the Broom Frog (voice)
2013 Justin and the Knights of Valour Melquiades and Karolius (voice)
2014 Pudsey: The Movie Pudsey (voice)


On 26 August 2008 Walliams made his stage debut at the Gate Theatre in Dublin opposite Michael Gambon in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land, in front of an audience that included Pinter himself. The production transferred to London later in the year.

In 2013 he played the part of Bottom in a production of A Midsummer's Nights Dream at the Noël Coward Theatre opposite Sheridan Smith as Titania.


In early 2008 Walliams signed a contract with HarperCollins to publish two children's books.[13] The debut novel, The Boy in the Dress, illustrated by Quentin Blake, was released worldwide on 1 November 2008. It explores several of the themes of Little Britain from Walliams' own life on an emotional level, such as the camp humour of cross-dressing and effeminacy.[4] The story recounts a neglected 12-year-old boy called Dennis' search for a female role model, his friendship with the popular girl in school, and the ways in which relationships develop along gender lines. The story has a strong resonance with Anne Fine's 1989 book Bill's New Frock. It was announced that this book will be adapted into a film for Christmas 2014.[14]

In November 2009 came Mr Stink, again illustrated by Quentin Blake, about a 12-year-old girl who meets a tramp and helps look after him. She keeps him hidden from her family. The book consists of 26 illustrated chapters full of jokes. It is aimed at teenagers and children over 9. It was the last of Walliams books to be illustrated by Quentin Blake. The book was awarded the Children's Award in the inaugural People's Book Prize in 2010,[15] and was made into a 60-minute film, which premiered on BBC One on 23 December 2012.

On 28 October 2010 Walliams published his third book Billionaire Boy, illustrated by Tony Ross.[16][17] telling the story of Joe Spud, the richest 12-year-old in the country. Joe's father is a famous inventor, and his wealth means that Joe has everything he could ever want: his own bowling alley, movie theater, and a trained orangutan who serves as his butler, but there is just one thing he really needs: a friend.[16] The book included a 'billion pound note' that was used to enter a competition to win a day as a billionaire in London.[citation needed] This was the first of his books to be illustrated by Tony Ross.

Walliams' fourth book, Gangsta Granny was released in October 2011 and again illustrated by Tony Ross. It tells the story of Ben who is bored every time he is made to stay at his grandma's house as all she wants to do is to play board games and eat cabbage soup. Ben learns that she was once an international jewel thief and all her life she has wanted to steal the crown jewels. Ben is determined that they do it together. It won a Red House Children's Book Award[18] and was adapted to be a 70-minute film for BBC One and shown on 26 December 2013.[19]

In September 2012 Walliams released his fifth children's book, Ratburger, telling the story of a young girl named Zoe whose life is a misery as she has an evil stepmother. It was followed in September 2013 by his sixth, Demon Dentist. relating the tale of a young boy named Alfie with no family except his dad whose world goes upside-down when a new dentist arrives in town. The book one the top prize in the Younger Readers category at the 2015 Red House Children's Book Awards.[18]

His seventh children's book, Awful Auntie,[20] was released on 25 September 2014. This was the story of a girl named Stella whose Auntie has moved in to her house with her pet. It is the first (and currently only) of Walliams' books to not include Raj the newsagent.


Walliams was given a special award in recognition of his sporting efforts for charity. Matt Lucas produced a documentary on the subject, entitled Little Britain's Big Swim. On 6 November 2006, Walliams won the Pride of Britain Award for "The Most Influential Public Figure" as he raised more than £1 million swimming the channel for the Sport Relief charity. Although initially tipped as a contender for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year poll for 2006, Walliams failed to make the final shortlist of 10 contenders. Walliams was given a special award during the ceremony for his achievement. In July 2006, he became Patron of 'Cardiac Risk in the Young.'

In September 2011 Walliams won the Lincolnshire Young People's Book Award in the 9-11-year-old category with his book, Mr Stink. The award is voted for by the school children of Lincolnshire.

At the 2012 National Television Awards, Walliams won the 'Landmark Achievement Award', for his television career and achievements for Sport Relief. In December 2012 he won the Specsavers National Book Awards "Children's Book of the Year" by the for Ratburger.[21] In December 2013 he won the Specsavers National Book Awards "Children's Book of the Year" by the for Demon Dentist.[22] In December 2014 he won the Specsavers National Book Awards "Children's Book of the Year" by the for Awful Auntie.[23] Awful Auntie also won the 2014 Specsavers National Book Awards "Audiobook of the Year".[24]

Walliams won the award for 'Best TV Judge' at the 2015 National Television Awards.[25]

Sport Relief[edit]

Main article: Sport Relief

Telethon hosting[edit]

Walliams co-hosted a segment of the Sport Relief telethon in 2012, co-hosting the 22:00–22:40 slot with Miranda Hart when the show moved over to BBC Two while the BBC News at Ten was aired.

Walliams also co-hosted the 2014 Sport Relief telethon. This time, he hosted the earlier slot between 19:00–22:00 with Gary Lineker and later Davina McCall.

Swimming the English Channel[edit]

On 4 July 2006 Walliams swam the English Channel for Sport Relief.[26][27] It took him 10 hours and 34 minutes to swim the 22-mile (35 km) stretch of sea, equivalent to 700 lengths of an Olympic-size swimming pool. This was wrongly reported as one of the top 50 recorded times for an unaided Channel crossing; in reality Walliams placed 167th at the time of crossing in only the CSA listings, excluding the CSPF listings.[28] He raised over £1 million in donations. Under the supervision of his trainer, he trained for nine months to prepare for the swim.[29] The training had to coincide with Walliams and Lucas's Little Britain Live tour, so he daily had to train for several hours before performing on stage in the evening. Walliams first swam from Lee-on-the-Solent near Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight in around two hours and also completed an eight-hour swim off the coast of Croatia before embarking on the cross-Channel attempt. Walliams has insisted that prior to his challenge he had never seriously taken part in any sport. The Bluetones' lead singer Mark Morriss wrote a song, "Fade In/Fade Out", in honour of Walliams' achievement; it can be found on their self-titled album, released on 9 October 2006.[citation needed]

Swimming the Strait of Gibraltar[edit]

On 7 March 2008 Walliams, along with James Cracknell, swam the 12 miles (19 km) Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco, again for Sport Relief. He successfully completed the swim in just over 4½ hours.[30]


In March 2010 Walliams and a group of celebrities cycled an end-to-end journey through the UK, raising over £1 million for Sport Relief. Walliams suffered a serious fall when tackling the Kirkstone Pass, a thousand-foot climb in the Lake District but was able to complete the ride.[31]

24 Hour Panel People[edit]

Main article: 24 Hour Panel People

In March 2011 Walliams undertook 24 Hour Panel People, in which he took part in back to back recordings of various panel show formats over the course of 24 hours to raise money for Comic Relief. The recordings were streamed live on the BBC website. He took part in 19 episodes of "classic" TV panel shows.

Swimming the Thames[edit]

From 5 to 12 September 2011 Walliams swam the length of the River Thames (140 miles) and raised more than £2m for Sport Relief. In the process, he saved a dog from drowning in the river. Once he had got out of the river Walliams said "I think a bath is the only water I will be seeing for a while."[32][33][34]

Personal life[edit]

Walliams had previously been romantically linked to Caroline Aherne,[35] Patsy Kensit, Abi Titmuss, Emily Scott and model Lauren Budd. However in 2009, Walliams began dating Dutch model Lara Stone.[36] In 2008, David's father, Peter, died of an aggressive form of liver cancer.[37] On 20 January 2010, David and Lara announced their engagement. David proposed to her in Los Angeles, after her parents gave their blessing to the relationship.[38] On 16 May 2010, the couple were married at central London's Claridge's Hotel.[39][40][41] In December 2012, the couple announced that Stone was pregnant with their first child and on 6 May 2013, Stone gave birth to their son, Alfred.[42] However, it was reported in March 2015 that the couple had split.

Walliams has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder,[43] and described his 2006 swim of the English Channel as "some sort of redemption".[44]

In August 2014 Walliams was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[45]



  • Camp David (2012)

Children's fiction[edit]

Picture books
  • The Slightly Annoying Elephant (2013)
  • The First Hippo on the Moon (2014)


  1. ^ Philip Ardagh, Awful Auntie review – David Walliams's best book yet, The Guardian, 25 September 2014.
  2. ^ Amanda Williams (5 September 2013). "Comedian David Walliams is laughing all the way to the bank after earning £13 million from five children's books". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Beverley Turner (6 September 2013). "Why David Walliams really is the new Roald Dahl". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Lee, Sandra (12 October 2008). "Send in the Clown". Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne). pp. 27–29. 
  5. ^ "Perspectives | Week 17 David Walliams – ITV Press Centre". Itv.com. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "BBC Two – Are You Having a Laugh? TV and Disability". Bbc.co.uk. 21 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Charley Says". YouTube. 
  8. ^ BBC media centre http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2014/bbcone-drama-main.html retrieved 15 March 2014
  9. ^ David Walliams (11 October 2012). Camp David. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 147–. ISBN 978-0-14-197324-1. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "David Walliams and Matt Lucas reunite for new BBC show set in an airport". Daily Telegraph (London). 29 May 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "EastEnders wins Christmas Day viewing figures battle on 28 January 2011, the BBC announced that the show had been commissioned for a second series.". BBC News. 26 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Filmography". Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Walliams plans children's stories". BBC News Online (London). 17 December 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007. 
  14. ^ "David Walliams' Boy in the Dress to be BBC One film for Christmas 2014 – TV News". Digital Spy. 
  15. ^ Neilan, Catherine (10 July 2010). "Walliams among winners for inaugural People's Book Prize". The Bookseller. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Sarah Kingsford, Review: Billionaire Boy by David Walliams, Express, 24 October 2010.
  17. ^ "Billionaire Boy : David Walliams". HarperCollins. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  18. ^ a b Siobhan Palmer, David Walliams wins prize at Red House Children’s Book Awards 2015The Daily Telegraph, 21 February 2015
  19. ^ Stephenson, Hannah (4 November 2011). "Walliams Suffering For His Gen Nerous Heart". Daily Post (High Beam). Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  20. ^ Cain, Sian (7 August 2014). "David Walliams announces his new book, Awful Auntie". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  21. ^ Alison Flood (5 December 2012). "EL James comes out on top at National Book awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  22. ^ "Neil Gaiman Wins Specsavers Book of the Year 2013!". nationalbookawards.co.uk. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  23. ^ Alison Flood (27 November 2014). "David Nicholls and David Walliams win top prizes at National Book Awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  24. ^ "Mary Berry wins outstanding achievement book award". BBC News. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  25. ^ [1]
  26. ^ "BBC SPORT Watch Walliams' Channel swim". BBC News. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  27. ^ Naughton, Philippe (4 July 2006). "Little Britain star swims the Channel". The Times (London). hi
  28. ^ "Channel Swimming Association Ltd". Channelswimmingassociation.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  29. ^ "Desert Island Discs with David Walliams". Desert Island Discs. 27 February 2009. BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/desertislanddiscs_20090222.shtml.
  30. ^ "BBC SPORT – Walliams completes swim to Africa". BBC News. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  31. ^ "Sport Relief – Million Pound Bike Ride". Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  32. ^ "BBC News – David Walliams takes on Sport Relief Thames swim challenge". Bbc.co.uk. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  33. ^ "Walliams vs The Thames: David Walliams' 140 mile River Thames Sport Relief Swim". Littlebritainfans.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  34. ^ "David Walliams Completes 140-Mile River Thames Swim Challenge For Sport Relief Charity | Showbiz News | Sky News". News.sky.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  35. ^ Walliams, David (11 October 2013). Camp David. Penguin Global. ISBN 9780718158613.  [page needed]
  36. ^ McDermott, Nick; Cohen, Tamara (20 January 2010). "David Walliams can't hold back the joy as model fiancée Lara shows off her engagement ring". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  37. ^ [2]
  38. ^ "David Walliams to marry model Lara Stone". BBC News Online (London). 20 January 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  39. ^ The couple split in March 2015
  40. ^ "David Walliams marries Dutch model Lara Stone". BBC News Online (London). 17 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  41. ^ Nathan, Sara; Cable, Simon (17 May 2010). "David Walliams gives his laydee Lara Stone a kiss as they leave their lavish £80,000 wedding at Claridges in London". Daily Mail (London). 
  42. ^ "BEST EXCLUSIVE! David Walliams reveals his new baby son's name to Best – Showbiz News". Best Daily. 5 June 2013. 
  43. ^ Mills, Simon (2 September 2011). "David Walliams: In at the deep end". ES Magazine (London). Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  44. ^ Hastings, Chris (21 February 2009). "Comic Walliams speaks of depression battle". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  45. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". theguardian.com. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 

External links[edit]