David Walliams

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David Walliams
DavidWalliams.jpg
Walliams at The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Los Angeles premiere, 2008
Born David Edward Williams
(1971-08-20) 20 August 1971 (age 43)
Merton, London, England
Occupation Comedian, actor, author, television presenter
Years active 1992–present
Spouse(s) Lara Stone (m. 2010)
Children 1

David Edward Williams (born 20 August 1971), known as David Walliams (/ˈwæliəmz/), is an English comedian, actor, author, and television presenter, best known for his partnership with Matt Lucas on the BBC One sketch show Little Britain and its predecessor Rock Profile. Since 2012, Walliams has been a judge on the ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent. Starting August 2013, Walliams has written and starred in the BBC One sitcom Big School, playing chemistry teacher Keith Church.


Early life[edit]

Walliams was born in Merton, London, the son of Peter, a London Transport engineer, and Kathleen Williams, 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 was a member of the National Youth Theatre, where he met Matt Lucas. Walliams studied drama at the University of Bristol from 1989 to 1992, one year below Simon Pegg. He changed his stage name to David Walliams when he joined the actors' union Equity, as there was already a member named David Williams.[1] This was spoofed in a mock interview on Rock Profile, when David Williams, who portrayed Take That member Howard Donald in a sketch, was continuously referred to as "Robbie Walliams" (parodying Donald's former bandmate Robbie Williams).

Career[edit]

Television[edit]

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

Walliams played Jake Plaskow in the BBC's Attachments, set in an internet start-up company. In 2001, he was one of the leads in Cruise of the Gods. In 2003, Walliams appeared in EastEnders and Marple.

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, along with 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 ITV Perspectives Episode 4 "David Walliams: The Genius of Dahl".[2]

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

Walliams was the narrator of Are You Having a Laugh? TV and Disability, which was shown on BBC Two on 21 March 2012.[3]

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.[4]

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, to coincide with the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth, Walliams is to star in Partners in Crime as Tommy Beresford in two three-part stories of The Secret Adversary and N or M?.[5]

Britain's Got Talent[edit]

Main article: Britain's Got Talent

Since 2012, Walliams has been a judge on the ITV talent show series 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.[6] 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.[7] The first episode was the third most watched programme of Christmas Day 2010, and the most watched comedy of the year.[8] 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), suggesting that their professional partnership has been dissolved.

Film[edit]

Film[9]
Year Title Role
2004 Shaun of the Dead
2005 Stoned
2006 A Cock and Bull Story Haas
2006 Marie Antoionette Hairdresser (uncredited)
2007 Run, Fat Boy, Run
2007 Stardust Sextus
2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Bugly Bear (voice)
2008 Virgin Territory Cart pusher
2010 Dinner for Schmucks Müeller
2010 Marmaduke Anton Harrison
2014 Pudsey: The Movie Pudsey (voice)

Stage[edit]

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, Walliams played Bottom in a production of A Midsummer's Nights Dream at the Noël Coward Theatre opposite Sheridan Smith who played Titania.

Books[edit]

In early 2008, Walliams signed a contract with HarperCollins to publish two children's books.[10] 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.[1] 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.[11]

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,[12] 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.[citation needed] telling the story of Joe Spud, the richest 12-year-old in the world. Joe has everything he could ever want: his own Formula One racing car, a thousand pairs of trainers, £8 billion, even an orang-utan for a butler, but there is just one thing he really needs: a friend.[citation needed] 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 was adapted to be a 70-minute film for BBC One and shown on 26 December 2013.[13]

In September 2012, Walliams released his fifth novel for children, Ratburger. It tells the story of a young girl named Zoe whose life is a misery as she has an evil stepmother.

In September 2013, Walliams released his sixth novel for children, Demon Dentist. It tells the story of a young boy named Alfie with no family except his dad whose world goes upside-down when a new dentist arrives in town.

Awards[edit]

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 was awarded the "Children's Book of the Year" by the National Book Awards for Ratburger.[14]

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.[15][16] 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.[17] He raised over £1 million in donations. Under the supervision of his trainer, he trained for nine months to prepare for the swim.[18] 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.[19]

Cycling[edit]

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.[20]

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!"[21][22][23]

Personal life[edit]

Walliams had previously been romantically linked to Patsy Kensit, Abi Titmuss, Emily Scott and model Lauren Budd. However in 2009, Walliams began dating Dutch model Lara Stone. [24] On 20 January 2010, the couple announced their engagement. Walliams proposed to Stone in Los Angeles, after her parents gave their blessing to the relationship.[25] On 16 May 2010, the couple were married at central London's Claridge's Hotel.[26][27] 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.[28]

Walliams has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder,[29] and described his 2006 swim of the English Channel as "some sort of redemption".[30]

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.[31]

Bibliography[edit]

Non-fiction[edit]

Autobiography
  • Camp David (2012)

Children's fiction[edit]

Novels
  • The Boy in the Dress (illustrated by Quentin Blake) (2008)
  • Mr Stink (illustrated by Quentin Blake) (2009)
  • Billionaire Boy (illustrated by Tony Ross) (2010)
  • Gangsta Granny (illustrated by Tony Ross)(2011)
  • Ratburger (illustrated by Tony Ross) (2012)
  • Demon Dentist (illustrated by Tony Ross) (2013)
  • Awful Auntie (illustrated by Tony Ross) (2014)
Picture books
  • The Slightly Annoying Elephant (2013)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lee, Sandra (12 October 2008). "Send in the Clown". Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne). pp. 27–29. 
  2. ^ "Perspectives | Week 17 David Walliams – ITV Press Centre". Itv.com. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "BBC Two – Are You Having a Laugh? TV and Disability". Bbc.co.uk. 21 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Charley Says". YouTube. 
  5. ^ BBC media centre http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2014/bbcone-drama-main.html retrieved 15 March 2014
  6. ^ David Walliams (11 October 2012). Camp David. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 147–. ISBN 978-0-14-197324-1. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "David Walliams and Matt Lucas reunite for new BBC show set in an airport". Daily Telegraph (London). 29 May 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ "Filmography". Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "Walliams plans children's stories". BBC News Online (London). 17 December 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007. 
  11. ^ "David Walliams' Boy in the Dress to be BBC One film for Christmas 2014 – TV News". Digital Spy. 
  12. ^ Neilan, Catherine (10 July 2010). "Walliams among winners for inaugural People's Book Prize". The Bookseller. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  13. ^ Stephenson, Hannah (4 November 2011). "Walliams Suffering For His Gen Nerous Heart". Daily Post (High Beam). Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  14. ^ Alison Flood (5 December 2012). "EL James comes out on top at National Book awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  15. ^ "BBC SPORT Watch Walliams' Channel swim". BBC News. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Naughton, Philippe (4 July 2006). "Little Britain star swims the Channel". The Times (London). hi
  17. ^ "Channel Swimming Association Ltd". Channelswimmingassociation.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "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.
  19. ^ "BBC SPORT – Walliams completes swim to Africa". BBC News. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Sport Relief – Million Pound Bike Ride". Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  21. ^ "BBC News – David Walliams takes on Sport Relief Thames swim challenge". Bbc.co.uk. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  22. ^ "Walliams vs The Thames: David Walliams' 140 mile River Thames Sport Relief Swim". Littlebritainfans.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  23. ^ "David Walliams Completes 140-Mile River Thames Swim Challenge For Sport Relief Charity | Showbiz News | Sky News". News.sky.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ "David Walliams to marry model Lara Stone". BBC News Online (London). 20 January 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  26. ^ "David Walliams marries Dutch model Lara Stone". BBC News Online (London). 17 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  27. ^ 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). 
  28. ^ "BEST EXCLUSIVE! David Walliams reveals his new baby son's name to Best – Showbiz News". Best Daily. 5 June 2013. 
  29. ^ Mills, Simon (2 September 2011). "David Walliams: In at the deep end". ES Magazine (London). Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  30. ^ Hastings, Chris (21 February 2009). "Comic Walliams speaks of depression battle". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  31. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". theguardian.com. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 

External links[edit]