Hugh Dennis

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Hugh Dennis
Now Show 2005 Hugh Dennis.jpg
Hugh Dennis on The Now Show
Birth name Peter Hugh Dennis
Born (1962-02-13) February 13, 1962 (age 52)[1]
Kettering, Northamptonshire, England
Medium Stand up, Television, Radio
Nationality English
Years active 1980s – 2014
Genres Political satire, Improvisational comedy
Subject(s) Politics, Family
Spouse Miranda Carroll (1987-1993)
Kate Abbot-Anderson (1996-present)
Children Freddie Dennis
Meg Dennis
Notable works and roles The Mary Whitehouse Experience
Mock the Week
Outnumbered
The Now Show

Peter Hugh Dennis (born 13 February 1962) is an English comedian, actor, writer, impressionist and voice-over artist, best known for being one half of Punt and Dennis with comedy partner Steve Punt, and playing Pete Brockman, the father in the BBC One sitcom Outnumbered. He is a panellist on the BBC Two satirical comedy show Mock the Week, a role which he took up in 2005.

Early life[edit]

Dennis, the younger of two boys, was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire,[citation needed] the son of Dorothy M. (Hinnels) and John D. Dennis.[2] He grew up in Mill Hill in North London as his father was appointed a parish vicar in London soon after his birth. His father later became the Bishop of Knaresborough and then of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich.[3] Hugh Dennis was educated at University College School in London. During his time at UCS, he played rugby with Will Self and was head boy in his final year.[4]

Subsequently he went on to read geography as an exhibitioner at St John's College, Cambridge. He also joined the Footlights, where he first met Punt and club president Nick Hancock and the trio collaborated on a number of projects besides the annual revue.[5] After graduating with a first,[3] he worked for Unilever for six years in the marketing department while performing comedy with Punt at venues including The Comedy Store on the weekends.[6][7] He and Punt then formed half of the team of The Mary Whitehouse Experience on BBC Radio 1. He uses his middle name Hugh as his stage name because Equity already had a Peter Dennis when he first started.[8]

When the BBC commissioned the show to be a series for BBC Two, he took a sabbatical as the rehearsal days changed to weekdays and eventually went into comedy full-time.[9] While in his final year of university he was approached by a member of the intelligence services and was invited to London for interview at which time he decided he did not want to take the matter further.[9]

Radio and television career[edit]

While an impressionist, Dennis did voices for Spitting Image[10] and appeared with Punt as resident support comics on two TV series hosted on the BBC by Jasper Carrott.[11][12]

His radio work with Punt includes over a decade of performing Punt and Dennis, It's Been a Bad Week, The Party Line and the currently running satirical radio comedy show, The Now Show. On The Now Show he is in a line-up including Punt, Mitch Benn, Laura Shavin, Jon Holmes and Marcus Brigstocke. He is friends with Chris Morris and has had cameos on Brass Eye. He has also done the narration for the CBBC show Sam and Mark's Guide To Dodging Disasters.

In December 2009, Dennis joined Oz Clarke in presenting the 60 minute Christmas special Oz and Hugh Drink to Christmas broadcast on BBC Two.[13] In December 2010 the pair returned for a four-part series called Oz and Hugh Raise the Bar, which puts them in a competition to create a bar featuring only local British food and drinks.[14]

Dennis has starred in a number of sitcoms, including My Hero in which he played obnoxious GP Piers Crispin. From 2007 to 2014 he starred in Outnumbered, a semi-improvised sitcom based around family life[15] and won a BAFTA nomination in the comedy category for the 2009 Christmas special.[16]

Besides his regular television work, Dennis is a panellist on Mock the Week and has appeared in every episode since its inception. He is a regular guest on various BBC-broadcast comedy panel game shows such as They Think It's All Over, Would I Lie To You?, QI and has guest hosted Have I Got News for You. In 2011, he hosted the short-lived improvisational comedy series Fast and Loose.

Dennis and Julia Bradbury hosted a four-part BBC One documentary series The Great British Countryside, which began airing on 16 February 2012.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Dennis lives in Chichester, West Sussex[17] with his second wife, Catherine ("Kate") Abbot-Anderson whom he married in 1996. They have a son, Freddie (born 1997) and a daughter Meg (born 1999).[3][18] His first marriage to Miranda Carroll ended in divorce in 1993.

On 10 July 2008, Dennis received an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Northampton.[19]

Dennis took part in the 2007 L'Étape du Tour, cycling an open stage of the Tour de France for amateurs which was held in the mountains 2 weeks before the main event. This was discussed in the fifth series of Mock the Week and also QI series six, episode 5 'France'. He started in 2,400th place of 8,000 entrants, finishing in 3,400th from 4,000 who completed it, 5 hours behind the winner. On 30 October 2011, Dennis completed the Great South Run in Portsmouth for the Alzheimers Society.

Dennis was the subject of the BBC1 programme Who Do You Think You Are? (broadcast on 12 September 2012) in which he tries to find out more about his two grandfathers and their backgrounds.[20] His paternal great-grandfather was a miner at Kiveton Park Colliery near Sheffield whose younger son, Dennis' grandfather, served as an officer during World War I and was coincidentally trained at Dennis' alma mater St John's College. His maternal grandfather also served in France during the Great War and was in the Suffolk Regiment.

Filmography[edit]

Year Show Role Notes
1989–1991 Spitting Image Various characters Voice only
1991–1992 The Mary Whitehouse Experience Various characters Co-creator/writer
1992 Me, You and Him Harry Dunstan Co-creator
A Word in Your Era Prince John 1 episode
1994 The Easter Stories Gardener 1 episode
1996 The Detectives Seth 1 episode
1997 Brass Eye Dr Balb Kubrox 1 episode
2000 Doctors Nick Browning 1 episode
Jack Dee's Happy Hour Jed Cake Voice only; 8 episodes
2000–2007 My Hero Dr Piers Crispin Recurring
2002 TV to Go Various characters Series 2
2005— Mock the Week Himself, regular panellist
2007-2014 Outnumbered Pete Brockman
2009 New Tricks Tony Granville 1 episode
Hotel Babylon Jim Doody 1 episode
2013 Agatha Christie's Marple Major Philphott "Endless Night"[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ {England and Wales Birth Index 1916-2005}
  2. ^ http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/treeview/tree_view.php?&&tree_id=12113
  3. ^ a b c "Hugh Dennis on working with the kids of Outnumbered". Daily Record. 26 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Have I Got News For You, Series 13 episode 2
  5. ^ "In a taxi with...Hugh Dennis". dailymail.co.uk. 10 July 2010. 
  6. ^ "Why Footlights is a breeding ground for double acts". BBC. 6 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "In your funnybone rather than your face: Punt and Dennis". The Independent. 3 July 1994. 
  8. ^ Hardwick, Viv (7 April 2007). "A headline act". The Northern Echo (Newsquest North East): p. 26.
  9. ^ a b c "Hugh Dennis: I'm a happy rambler". Radio Times. 16 February 2012. 
  10. ^ Deans, Jason (2004-05-17). "Spitting Image plans TV comeback". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  11. ^ Rampton, James (1994-07-03). "Show people: In your funnybone rather than your face: Punt and Dennis". The Independent (London). 
  12. ^ "Impressions are back in fashion: The great pretenders". guardian.co.uk. 30 September 2003. 
  13. ^ "Oz And Hugh Drink To Christmas". BBC. 2009-12-20. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  14. ^ The BBC (2010-12-21). "Oz and Hugh Raise the Bar". BBC. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  15. ^ "Outnumbered Press Pack". BBC. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  16. ^ BAFTA Awards 2009
  17. ^ Look Hugh's going to be on the stage
  18. ^ Marriages England and Wales 1984-2005
  19. ^ Hugh Dennis welcomed to The University of Northampton Northampton.ac.uk
  20. ^ "Hugh Dennis" Who Do You Think You Are? Episode 5 of 10, Series 9. Broadcast 12 September 2102.
  21. ^ "Filming begains on ITV's Agatha Christie Marple adaptation, Endless Night". ITV. 17 March 2013. 

External links[edit]