Skinner in 2008 at Wembley Stadium
|Birth name||Christopher Graham Collins|
28 January 1957 |
West Bromwich, West Midlands, England
|Medium||Stand-up, television, radio|
|Years active||1990 to present|
|Genres||Observational comedy, Musical comedy|
|Influenced||Al Murray, Kevin Bridges, Sean Lock|
|Notable works and roles||Packet of Three
Fantasy Football League
The Frank Skinner Show
Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned
Frank Skinner's Opinionated
|British Comedy Awards|
|Best comedy entertainment personality (2001)|
Frank Skinner (born Christopher Graham Collins on 28 January 1957 in West Bromwich) is a British writer, comedian and actor. He is best known for his television presenting, often alongside David Baddiel, with whom he also collaborated for the football song "Three Lions."
He is a radio presenter on the Saturday morning slot on Absolute Radio.
Youth and early career (1957-1993) 
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (June 2010)|
Skinner was born at Hallam Hospital, West Bromwich, and grew up in a council house in neighbouring Oldbury. He was the youngest of four children born to former semi-professional footballer John Collins and his wife Doris. He has two older brothers, Keith and Terry, and an older sister, Nora. His father, who was born in West Cornforth County Durham, played for Spennymoor United before the Second World War, and met his mother in a local pub after Spennymoor had played West Bromwich Albion in an FA Cup game in 1937. Skinner attended Moat Farm Infant School from 1961 to 1964, St. Hubert's Roman Catholic Junior School from 1964 to 1968, and then Oldbury Technical Secondary School from September 1968.
He passed 2 O-levels in summer 1973 and took A-levels in English Language and Art, along with several O-level re-sits, at Oldbury Technical School Sixth Form. He subsequently took 4 A-levels (including English Language and Literature) at Warley College of Technology and graduated from Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University) in 1981 with a degree in English. This was followed by a Masters degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick in Coventry, the following year. After graduating, he spent three and a half years on unemployment benefit before finding work as a lecturer in English at Halesowen College. In 1987 he decided to give stand-up comedy a try on the side, before quitting his job in 1989 to pursue his comedy career full-time. During this period a bout of influenza made him give up drinking, and he remains a high-profile recovering alcoholic.
Collins took on the pseudonym Frank Skinner when the actors' union Equity told him there was already someone of the same name on their books (their rules do not permit two members with identical names). He took the name from a member of his late father's dominoes team. Skinner had performed his first stand-up gig in 1987 and made his television debut a year later. In 1990 he co-wrote and starred in the comedy variety show Packet Of Three on Channel 4 but continued to see his reputation as a stand-up grow. He won the 1991 Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe, beating Jack Dee and Eddie Izzard.
He often works with best friend and ex-flatmate David Baddiel, notably on the popular late night entertainment show Fantasy Football League, from 1994 to 2004 and on Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned from 2000 to 2005.
The duo also co-wrote and performed the football song "Three Lions" with the Lightning Seeds and the England national football team for Euro 96, and re-released it for the 1998 World Cup. The song reached #1 in the UK charts both times. In 2001, he released his autobiography "Frank Skinner by Frank Skinner", which became a bestseller. The accompanying TV show, "Frank Skinner on Frank Skinner", in which Skinner showed where he lived as a child and interviews with Skinner, his friends and family members, was recorded and shown on ITV in 2001.
In 1998, he took part in a documentary entitled A Little Bit Of Elvis. He paid over £11,000 at auction, for a shirt which he believed was worn by Elvis Presley at his famous 1956 Tupelo concert. Skinner visited the USA to find out if the shirt was the genuine article. After a slightly awkward conversation with Dave Hebler, Presley's bodyguard, it appeared the shirt did once belong to Presley, but it was not worn at the concert.
From 1995 to 1998 Skinner had his own chat show on BBC One, ending when the BBC refused to meet pay demands of a reported £20 million. After a short break the show found a new home at ITV in 1999, where it ran until late 2005. He has appeared in a number of self-written sitcoms, including Blue Heaven (1994) and Shane (2004).
In 2005, Skinner announced he was going to leave behind his television work in favour of returning to the stand-up comedy circuit. A second series of Shane had been made, but never shown.
In February 2006, he received an honorary degree from the University of Central England, (now Birmingham City University). Skinner and David Baddiel covered the 2006 FIFA World Cup by podcast for The Times. The podcasts received a nomination for the 2007 Sony Radio Academy Awards.
In 2007, he performed a new live stand-up tour, his first for 10 years, starting at a warm-up gig at the Swindon Arts Centre, continuing through to the Edinburgh Festival for 2 weeks at The Pleasance, the venue where he won the Perrier Award, and a 69 date national tour including three sold out homecoming performances at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham in the Autumn.
He visited Osho Leela, a meditation and growth centre in Dorset in April 2007 as part of ITV's "Tough Gig" series.
In November 2008 and in the light of senior broadcasting figures such as ITV boss Michael Grade and Sir Terry Wogan calling for TV to clean up its act regarding use of swear words, Skinner decided to experiment with removing swear words altogether from his stand up live act although stated that it would be a shame if 'clever swearing' was lost. He also stood in for an ill Paul Merton as a team captain on 21 November edition of Have I Got News for You.
From March 2009, Skinner started to present the Saturday Morning Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio with his co-hosts Emily Dean and Gareth Richards (who was replaced by Alun Cochrane in June 2011). The show is produced by Avalon Television. After an initial 12-week stint proved very popular with the listeners, Skinner's contract was extended until summer 2010.
Skinner was a guest on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on 11 June 2010.
He is the host of Frank Skinner's Opinionated, broadcast on BBC 2 on Friday evenings.
Starting in late 2010, Skinner has a regular column in the newspaper The Times.
Skinner can play the Banjo ukulele and in 2010, he contributed Ukulele parts to a song by Fairport Convention called Ukulele Central which featured on their album Festival Bell. He is the host of a BBC4 Documentary, Frank Skinner on George Formby, which aired on 27 October at 9pm, in part of the show Frank visits ukulele pupils as well as visiting a George Formby convention in Blackpool.
In 2011 Frank wrote and performed a Radio 4 comedy series, 'Don't Start' with Katherine Parkinson. Each episode was based around an argument between Skinner's character Neil and his girlfriend Kim. Skinner said that each episode was only 15 minutes long as it was 'too intense' to be any longer. 'Don't Start' returned for a second series in 2012.
Since January 2012 Skinner has been host of BBC show Room 101.
Personal life 
Skinner is a supporter of the Labour Party, and is a practising Roman Catholic, a fan of bands including post punk group The Fall and a lifelong supporter of West Bromwich Albion Football Club; despite living in London he still regularly attends matches.
He is a former pupil of Moat Farm Infant School, St Hubert's Roman Catholic Junior School, and Oldbury Technical School (all in Oldbury). He is also a graduate of Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University).
In September 2009 Skinner was awarded his second honorary degree, from the University of Wolverhampton.
During his radio show on 28 January 2012, Skinner announced that he was to become a father for the first time with his long term girlfriend Cath Mason. His son Buzz Cody Collins was born in May 2012, after a rather frenetic labour.
In October 2001, Skinner's autobiography, Frank Skinner by Frank Skinner, was published.
In August 2009, he released a book centred on his comedy career - Frank Skinner on the Road: Love, Stand-up Comedy and the Queen of the Night.
In September 2011, The Collected Wisdom of Frank Skinner; Dispatches from the Sofa was published. It consists of his weekly columns for The Times, written from 2009-2011.
Stand-up VHS and DVDs 
- Live (5 October 1992)
- Live at the Apollo (1994)
- Live at the Palladium (14 October 1996)
- Live in Birmingham (16 November 1998)
- Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned - Live from London's West End (12 November 2001)
- Stand-Up! Live from Birmingham's National Indoor Arena (10 November 2008)
- Appleyard, Diana (6 December 2008). "With the help of Eric Clapton, Frank Skinner has been off the booze for 20 years. So why does he still yearn for a cosy pint?". Daily Mail (London).
- Jane Robins and Paul McCann (1999-09-02). "Skinner makes a sky-high demand so BBC walks out". The Independent (London).
- "Honour for comic Skinner". Birmingham Mail. 2006-02-22
- "Frank Skinner defends 'eloquent' swearing". BBC News. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- Alex Fletcher (2008-11-21). "Merton misses 'Have I Got News' with illness". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-11-21.
- Plunkett, John (16 June 2009). "Frank Skinner extends contract at Absolute Radio". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
- That Sunday Night Show, 16 January 2011
- "Skinner reveals 'lost millions'". BBC News. 13 June 2010.
- Frank Skinner's Opinionated, 23 April 2010
- "Frank Skinner to be a dad at 55:News 2012:Chortle:The UK Comedy Guide". chortle.co.uk. 28 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
- ASIN 0099426870
- ASIN 0099458039
- ASIN B005NAD5X6
- Official Website
- Audio and transcript of conversation with Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams