Harry Hill

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For other people named Harry Hill, see Harry Hill (disambiguation).
Harry Hill
Harry Hill (crop).jpg
Hill in Putney with The Caterers in 2006
Birth name Matthew Keith Hall
Born (1964-10-01) 1 October 1964 (age 49)
Woking, Surrey, England
Medium Stand-up comedy, television, film
Nationality English
Years active 1992–present
Genres Improvisational comedy, surreal comedy, parody, musical comedy, Insult comedy
Subject(s) Humanity, pop culture, television, world history
Influences Burt Kwouk, Eddie Izzard,
Ken Dodd, Vic Reeves
Influenced Paul Burling, Al Murray
Spouse Magda Archer (m. 1996);
three children
Notable works and roles Harry Hill's TV Burp (2001-2012)
You've Been Framed! (2004—)
Website Official Website
BAFTA Awards
Best Entertainment Performance
2008, 2009 Harry Hill's TV Burp
Best Entertainment Programme
2008 Harry Hill's TV Burp
British Comedy Awards
Best Comedy Entertainment Programme
2006, 2008 Harry Hill's TV Burp
Best TV Comedy Entertainment Personality
2006, 2009 Harry Hill's TV Burp

Harry Hill (born Matthew Keith Hall; 1 October 1964) is a British comedian, author and television presenter best known for narrating You've Been Framed! since 2004 and hosting Harry Hill's TV Burp for eleven years from 2001 to 2012 on ITV.

A former medical doctor, who remains on the General Medical Council's list of Registered Medical Practitioners, Hill began his career in comedy when he began hosting his popular radio show Harry Hill's Fruit Corner, but in recent years has worked on a number of projects including his 2013 film The Harry Hill Movie and I Can't Sing! The X Factor Musical opening in London in 2014.

In 2005, Hill appeared in the CITV programme Harry Hill's Shark Infested Custard, and released tie-in children's joke books and iPhone applications.

Personal life[edit]

Hill was born in Woking, Surrey,[1] then lived in Staplehurst, Kent where Hill attended the local primary school.[2][3] At the age of 14 he and his family moved to Hong Kong for two years where he attended Island School.[3][4] He was educated at Angley School and then Cranbrook School in Kent and St George's Hospital Medical School before training in neurosurgery at the University of London. Hill worked as a house officer at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, before quitting the medical profession because he "didn't feel in control of what was happening".[5] Hill married artist Magda Archer in 1996 in Wandsworth, London.[4] They have three daughters, all born in Kensington and Chelsea, London: Kitty, Winnie and Frederica.[6] He now resides in the seaside town of Whitstable, Kent. In February 2006, Hill was a victim of identity theft; a sum of £280,000 was stolen from his bank account.[7] In September 2008, Hill worked with Fairtrade to release Harry's Nuts, a brand of fairtrade peanuts.[8] He is known to have been a supporter for his namesake football club Harrow Hill F.C., also known as Harry Hill F.C.[citation needed] In 2008, he was presented with a Harrow Hill badge, which he subsequently wore regularly on episodes of his television series TV Burp. He was made an honorary graduate of the University of Kent on 17 July 2014, when he became a Doctor of Arts in recognition of his contribution to television and the arts.

Career[edit]

Harry Hill's Fruit Corner (1993–1997)[edit]

Hill achieved his big breakthrough in 1992, when he won the Perrier Award for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Shortly after, a radio show starring Hill was commissioned by BBC Radio 4, entitled Harry Hill's Fruit Corner. Hill hosted the show as himself, and each week, he was joined by various other guest performers, as well as regular actors characters including Al Murray and Burt Kwouk. The show featured a variety of other celebrity guests across its run including Ronnie Corbett and Rolf Harris. Each programme was interspersed with stand-up routines from Hill.

Fruit Corner ran for four series on BBC Radio 4.

Fruit Fancies (1994)[edit]

Hill was given his television breakthrough in 1994, when he was given the BBC Two black and white silent comedy series Harry Hill's Fruit Fancies. In a similar format to Fruit Corner, Hill would perform a series of sketches, with a number of celebrity guests making cameo appearances. The series also featured one of the characters from Fruit Corner, three-year-old Alan Hill Jr.[9] The series ran for six episodes on BBC Two between October and December 1994. For Christmas that year, a VHS containing a 100-minute compilation of the best material from the series, as well as unseen sketches, was released by BBC Video. It has since become a very rare item.[10]

Harry Hill (1997–2000)[edit]

Main article: Harry Hill

From 1997 onwards, Hill presented his own Channel 4 television sketch series, Harry Hill, which ran for three series between 1997 and 2000. The show was essentially a television adaptation of Fruit Corner. Among the regular characters were Hill's big brother, Alan, played by comedian Al Murray, and his adopted son, Alan Jr., played by Dr Matt Bradstock. Burt Kwouk also appeared in many episodes of the programme, as Harry's "Chicken Catcher" – and each week, he would come up with an excuse as to why he has not yet captured a chicken, followed by a performance of the song Hey Little Hen. In later series, Hill and Kwouk appeared in sketches as Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace. Hill's screen wife Mai Sung also made several appearances on the show, mainly around the theme of trying to steal his Abbey National bank savings book. Another character featured on the show was Stouffer the Cat, a glove puppet cat made from blue rubber. Stouffer would normally sit in a throne, supported by a rubber arm in the style of Rod Hull, and was employed to intimidate guests during Hill's standup routines. Some of Stouffer's famous catchphrases are "he got a big face" and "sorted – respect due".

At the end of each episode, an event called "The Badger Parade" was supposed to take place. The parade featured a number puppet badgers that included Gareth Southgate badger and Tasmin Archer badger, among others – however, every week, there would be some kind of problem resulting in the badgers being unable to perform. In place of the badger parade, Hill would usually sing a song, with a guest he had invited onto the show. A tie-in book relating to the series was released in October 1998, entitled Harry Hill's Fun Book.

The series was cancelled in late 1999, but was revived in 2003, as The All-New Harry Hill Show, this time by ITV, who broadcast it alongside episodes of TV Burp. Regular features on the ITV version included the Hamilton Challenge, featuring Neil and Christine Hamilton, and a butterfly in blue jeans. The Channel 4 series was revisited in 2012 for a humorous retrospective documentary entitled Whatever Happened to Harry Hill?. As of 2013, neither the Channel 4 nor ITV series have been released on DVD.

Harry Hill's TV Burp (2001–2012)[edit]

Main article: Harry Hill's TV Burp

In 2001, Hill moved to ITV in a lucrative deal, in which he was given an all-new show, Harry Hill's TV Burp, in which he would take a look at the week's television, showing clips from various British television programmes, and framing them with commentary or intercutting additional footage. The series would feature a regular stable of all new characters, including the Knitted Character, a small, knitted rabbit, Wagbo, a demon love child whose parents are reportedly Wagner Carillho and Mary Byrne of X Factor fame, an interpretation of Heather Trott from EastEnders, played by Steve Bernham, as well as a doll of Apprentice star Alan Sugar, who would regularly rap before clips of The Apprentice were introduced. The show was piloted in 2001, before running for eleven full series between 2002 and 2012, before being cancelled to allow Hill to work on other projects. The show won a number of BAFTA awards, and spawned five Best of TV Burp DVD compilations, and a book based on the series, which was released for Christmas 2009.

You've Been Framed (2004-present)[edit]

Main article: You've Been Framed!

Since 2004, Harry has narrated the comical clips show You've Been Framed!, often shortened to YBF!. He replaced Jonathan Wilkes on the show and has narrated 12 series of the show to date. New episodes of You've Been Framed! are still being recorded and air on early Saturday evenings on ITV, with repeats often airing on ITV and ITV2.

Harry Hill's Shark Infested Custard (2005)[edit]

In 2005, Hill moved into new territory with Harry Hill's Shark Infested Custard, a thirteen-part show broadcast in the CITV children's television slot on ITV. While many of his well-known characters, such as Stouffer and Garry Hill, his fictional layabout son from his first marriage, remained, it also showcased several new characters including Speed Camera Boy, an outsider who is half boy and half speed camera, and Evelynne Hussey, a one-woman band who played a number of different instruments. While the show featured a game show element, Help the Aged, it was very similar in structure to Harry Hill. In the show, he wore a pale yellow, custard-coloured shirt, with a giant collar, instead of his usual white collar. The series was never released on DVD; however, it did spawn Harry Hill's Whopping Great Joke Book, a book of children's jokes, released in 2006. The book was also made available as an iPhone application.[11] A second book, Harry Hill's Bumper Book of Bloopers, was released for Christmas 2011.[12]

The Harry Hill Movie (2013)[edit]

Main article: The Harry Hill Movie

The Harry Hill Movie premiered in the United Kingdom on 20 December 2013. The film also stars Matt Lucas, Julie Walters, Johnny Vegas, Sheridan Smith, Simon Bird, Marc Wootton, Jim Broadbent and band The Magic Numbers.[13][14][15] The film sees Hill embark on a road trip to Blackpool with his Nan (Julie Walters) when he discovers that his hamster only has one week to live.

The 88 minute film was directed by Steve Bendelack. To date, it has made $3,647,870 at the Box Office.,[16] the film was released on DVD on 14 April 2014

I Can't Sing! The X Factor Musical (2014)[edit]

Hill has been developing I Can't Sing! The X Factor Musical alongside Simon Cowell. It opened at the London Palladium on 26 March 2014.

Novels[edit]

In 2002, Hill published the first in a series of novels and books that he had written, entitled Flight From Deathrow. The novel is based around the accounts of the unlikely antics of real-life celebrities and politicians, as seen through the eyes of the storyteller, as he drifts in and out of a coma. His second book, Tim the Tiny Horse, was published in October 2006, and featured the tale of small horse who had to wear glasses because he was visually impaired. His third book, The Further Adventures of the Queen Mum, was published in October 2007, and was a comic take on the life and times of the Queen Mother. His fourth novel, Tim the Tiny Horse At Large, which is a sequel to the first book, was published in October 2009. In 2010, Hill released Livin' the Dreem, a fictional account of a year in his life, featuring references to pop culture. The book was reprinted in May 2011, with additional entries for events that occurred between January and April of that year. A Complete History of Tim (the Tiny Horse) was published in November 2012 which contains the first two Tim the Tiny Horse novels, alongside four new stories.[17]

Other projects[edit]

Hill's instantly recognisable voice has led to work in many voice-over roles on television commercials. Adverts that Hill has provided a voice over for include the holiday adverts for Boots in 2004, the "Bring on the Branston!" adverts for the Branston Pickle brand during 2006 and 2007,adverts for the Green Flag car breakdown service, and more recently, adverts for the new yogurt danio by damone.

Hill has also appeared as a guest on the BBC Radio 4 series I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, in the ChuckleVision episode "Mind Your Manors", the first episode of the twentieth series, and as John Boolay in the Sky Atlantic sitcom This is Jinsy.[18] In October 2006, Hill presented his own episode of long-running ITV series, An Audience With..., in which he revived several characters from Harry Hill. He also appeared in his own episode of Room 101 in January 2007.

In November 2010, Hill released his debut comic album, 'Funny Times'.[19] The album was preceded by the singles 'I Wanna Baby', 'SuBo', and 'Ken!', which features William Roache, whom his Coronation Street character, Ken Barlow, is the feature of the song.

Since January 2008, Hill has had his own comic strip in The Dandy, entitled Harry Hill's Real Life Adventures in TV Land, drawn by Nigel Parkinson. Hill was directly involved in its creation, and is co-credited alongside Parkinson. Between October and December 2010, Hill starred in a weekly online comedy series on the ChannelFlip website, entitled Harry Hill's Little Internet Show. Ten episodes of the show were broadcast online.[20]

Since the start of his career, Hill has also performed a number of stand up tours, touring up and down the country for months at a time. Thus far, all five of his tours have been released on DVD or VHS. His tours include Harry Hill Live (1995), Man Alive! (1997), First Class Scamp (1998), Birdstrike (2000) and Hooves! Live (2005). Hill will embark on his first stand up tour in eight years, Sausage Time, which will begin in February 2013, and will be filmed for release on DVD for Christmas 2013. As well as his new stand up tour, since quitting TV Burp, Hill has been developing The X Factor Musical alongside Simon Cowell.[21] In May 2013, it was confirmed that the musical will be called I Can't Sing! and it will open in London in 2014.[22]

In July 2012, Hill executively produced You Cannot Be Serious, a sports-themed blooper quiz show, presented by Alistair McGowan, his first role for ITV after quitting TV Burp.[23]

Awards[edit]

In 2003, Hill was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was voted amongst the top 50 comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.[24] In 2007 he was voted number five on Channel 4's hundred greatest stand-ups. On 13 December 2006, he won two Highland Spring British Comedy Awards, over the favourites Ant and Dec, which Hill made light of in his acceptance speeches.[25] In 2008 he won two Baftas and another in 2009 for best Entertainment Performance. In 2009 he won two British Comedy Awards, making it his sixth award. He also won again in 2011, but was unable to be there and sent Wagbo to collect it on his behalf. He was also nominated for 3 other awards, including the People's Choice Award, which was won by Miranda Hart.

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Note(s)
1994 Fruit Fancies Himself
1997-2000 Harry Hill Himself, Presenter
2001-2012 Harry Hill's TV Burp Himself, Presenter
2004— You've Been Framed! Himself, Narrator
2005 Harry Hill's Shark Infested Custard Himself, Presenter

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Note(s)
2013 The Harry Hill Movie Himself, Lead role

Home releases[edit]

Stand-up shows[edit]

  • Live (16 October 1995)
  • Man Alive – Live (27 October 1997)
  • First Class Scamp – Live (16 November 1998)
  • Birdstrike! – Live (20 November 2000)
  • In Hooves – Live (21 November 2005)
  • Sausage Time - Live (due for release soon)

Television[edit]

  • Fruit Fancies (11 December 1994)
  • Harry Hill's TV Burp Gold (10 November 2008, 61 minutes, Rating: 12)
  • Harry Hill's TV Burp Gold 2 (9 November 2009, 61 minutes, Rating: 12)
  • Harry Hill's TV Burp Gold 3 (1 November 2010, 64 minutes, Rating: PG)
  • Harry Hill's TV Burp: The Best Bits (14 November 2011, 60 minutes, Rating: 12)
  • Harry Hill's Cream Of TV Burp (26 November 2012, 63 minutes, Rating: PG)

Film[edit]

Discography[edit]

Audiobooks[edit]

  • Fruit Corner (2 October 1995)
  • Hooves (20 March 2006)
  • Man Alive (20 February 2007)
  • Flight from Deathrow (2 April 2009)
  • Livin' the Dream (4 November 2010)

Music[edit]

  • Funny Times (29 November 2010)

Television advertisements[edit]

Year Title Role
2000 First Direct Himself, voice only
Digital Cellphones Himself
2003 Branston Himself, voice only
2004 TUC biscuits Himself, voice only
Boots Christmas Doctor
The Times Himself
2007 Walkers Himself
2009-10 WHSmith Himself, voice only
2010 Green Flag Ant, voice only
Funny Times Himself
2012 T-Mobile Himself, voice only
2013 Danio Yogurt Himself, voice only
Innocent Drinks Himself, voice only

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Woking Borough Council, Hall of Fame". Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "TV Star Comedian Harry Hill returns to Staplehurst School!!". Staplehurst Primary School. Retrieved 19 November 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Harry Hill: 'There's no such thing as healthy eating'". theguardian.com. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Marriages and Births England and Wales 1984–2006". Findmypast.com. Retrieved 15 June 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ "7 things you never knew about Harry Hill". Sunday Mercury. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  6. ^ Smith, Aidan (16 January 2005). "Harry on Laughing – Scotland on Sunday". Scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com. Retrieved 15 June 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ Leyden, John (9 February 2006). "Harry Hill ID Fraud". Theregister.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  8. ^ "Harry nuts about fairtrade venture". The Press Association. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008. [dead link]
  9. ^ Harry Hill's Fruit Fancies – Punch. YouTube.
  10. ^ Harry Hill: fruit Fancies: Amazon.co.uk: Film & TV. Amazon.co.uk (28 June 2000).
  11. ^ "Harry Hill's Whopping Great Joke Book – The app for iPhone and iPod Touch". Harryhillsjokebookapp.com. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  12. ^ Harry Hill's Bumper Book of Bloopers: Amazon.co.uk: Harry Hill: Books. Amazon.co.uk.
  13. ^ 'The Harry Hill Movie' premieres first trailer - watch video - Movies News - Digital Spy
  14. ^ The Harry Hill Movie (2013) - IMDb
  15. ^ BBC - Newsbeat - The Harry Hill Movie gets 20 December UK release date
  16. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/news/a540494/the-hobbit-holds-off-anchorman-2-at-uk-box-office-top-10-in-full.html
  17. ^ A Complete History of Tim (the Tiny Horse): Amazon.co.uk: Harry Hill: Books. Amazon.co.uk (2 January 2011).
  18. ^ "Daily TV round-up – Harry goes drag in new comedy". Yahoo! TV. 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  19. ^ "Hard Times For Harry". The Sun. 25 September 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  20. ^ "Harry Hill's Little Internet Show". The Guardian. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  21. ^ Harry Hill's 'X Factor' musical scheduled for autumn 2013 – X Factor News – Reality TV. Digital Spy (14 August 2012).
  22. ^ "I Can't Sing - The X Factor Musical Will Open at London Palladium in March 2014". playbill.com. Playbill. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  23. ^ Alistair McGowan's You Cannot Be Serious!, ITV1: preview. Telegraph.
  24. ^ The Comedy Zone Humor Network. "Harry Hill : Comedian Profile". Comedy-zone.net. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  25. ^ "Television – News – British Comedy Awards 2006: The Winners". Digital Spy. 13 December 2006. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jonathan Wilkes
Host of You've Been Framed
2004–present
Incumbent