Jon Culshaw

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For the Decca/London record producer, see John Culshaw.
Jon Culshaw
Jon Culshaw.jpg
Born (1968-06-02) 2 June 1968 (age 46)
Ormskirk, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Years active 1980s-present
Genres Impressions, sketch comedy
Notable works and roles Dead Ringers (2000–07)
2DTV (2001–04)
The Impressionable Jon Culshaw (2004)
The Sky at Night (2007—)
Headcases (2008)
The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson (2009—)

Jonathan Peter Culshaw (born 2 June 1968) is an English impressionist and comedian, best known for his work on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Two's Dead Ringers, ITV's 2DTV, BBC One's The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson and his contributions to BBC Radio 1, particularly on The Chris Moyles Show.

Early life[edit]

Culshaw was born in Ormskirk[1] and educated at St Bede's RC High School[2] and St John Rigby College, Wigan.

Early career[edit]

Culshaw's radio career began in hospital radio in Ormskirk. His first job was at Red Rose Radio (now Rock FM) in Preston in 1987, where even then he used to occasionally read the weather in the voice of Frank Bruno. He did voice-over work then was catapulted to prominence with Spitting Image, where he voiced around forty characters, including John Major, the then Prime Minister.

Culshaw is also a former student of Canterbury Christ Church University.[3]

For around four years in the late 1980s, he was a DJ on the commercial radio station Viking FM,[4] based in Hull, and also had a breakfast show on Pennine Radio (now The Pulse of West Yorkshire) and Radio Wave in Blackpool. It was a receptionist at Viking FM who persuaded Culshaw he should go onstage with his impressions and make it his living. He later appeared on BBC Radio 2's It's Been a Bad Week, appeared as a guest on the BBC2 Star Trek Night Quiz in August 1996, and was also a regular guest on the Chris Moyles afternoon show on BBC Radio 1 from 1998–2002, where he would phone up commercial organisations such as a Kwik-Fit garage in the voice of Patrick Moore or Obi-Wan Kenobi, politely requesting whether they could service his X-wing fighter, and how much time it would take.

Later career[edit]

Culshaw rose to fame in January 1998 by impersonating William Hague while working with Steve Penk on Capital Radio, and succeeding in contacting Number 10 Downing Street. He was put through to Tony Blair who, despite instantly discovering the ruse, had a lengthy conversation with him until a member of Blair's staff ended the call.[5]

Culshaw was one of the stars of the BBC Radio 4 comedy series Dead Ringers, which ran from 2000 to 2007, and the BBC Two television series of the same name, from 2002 to 2007.

Between 2001 and 2002, he had a programme on ITV called Alter Ego where he interviewed male celebrities in their own style of speaking, a form of simultaneous translation. He also appeared on 2DTV, a cartoon version of what Dead Ringers would do when transposed to TV. Using the same production team, in early 2004, he had his own programme, The Impressionable Jon Culshaw commissioned for ITV1.

His most famous impressions are ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Obi-Wan Kenobi (in the Alec Guinness persona), Russell Crowe, President George W. Bush, Ozzy Osbourne, Dale Winton, the newsreader Brian Perkins, Sir Patrick Moore and Tom Baker (who played the fourth incarnation of The Doctor in Doctor Who).

Culshaw also appeared in the Doctor Who webcast "Death Comes to Time" and audio drama The Kingmaker. In the latter, he got to perform his Tom Baker impression "for real" (voicing tape recordings of the fourth Doctor), although his nominal part was that of Earl Rivers.

In 2005, Culshaw was a celebrity contestant on Comic Relief does Fame Academy.

In January 2006, he began presenting the BBC show Jon Culshaw's Commercial Breakdown on Friday Nights. In 2006, he received an honorary fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

In August 2007, he appeared on a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire with John Thomson.

In January 2008, he appeared on Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, as part of a pub-quiz team, with Chris Moyles. In May 2008, he appeared in the BBC documentary series Comedy Map of Britain.

He is also voicing Piston Pete in the upcoming film Agent Crush.

On 29 December 2008, Culshaw appeared on Celebrity Mastermind. His specialist subject was British Pop of the 80s.

In November 2007 and in December 2008, Culshaw appeared on The Sky at Night, where he impersonated a younger version of Sir Patrick Moore. Culshaw is a keen amateur astronomer. In March 2011, he appeared on the 700th episode of The Sky at Night reading viewers questions to the panel of experts. He appeared again on the May edition of the show reporting on the Northern Lights.

Since 31 October 2009, Culshaw has starred in comedy sketch show The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson with Debra Stephenson.

In 2010, Culshaw appeared in the television series, Missing, as Des Martin.

In December 2010, Culshaw was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Edge Hill University.[6]

In January 2012, he appeared on the BBC2 astronomy programme, "Stargazing Live", with Professor Brian Cox and comedian Dara Ó Briain. He also was invited as a guest speaker at the Cambridge Union Society, answering questions and responding to requests for impersonations.

In November 2013, Culshaw appeared in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.[7]


Year Title Role Channel
2001 Alter Ego Starring ITV
2DTV Voice ITV
2002 Room 101 Patrick Moore impression BBC Two
2002–09 Dead Ringers Starring BBC Two
2004 The Impressionable Jon Culshaw Starring ITV
Little Britain Guest BBC One
2006 The Slammer Guest BBC One
The Secret Policeman's Ball 2006 Guest Channel 4
2007 The Sky at Night 'Young' Patrick Moore BBC One
Red Nose Day 2007 Various BBC One
Kombat Opera Presents Guest BBC Two
2008 Headcases Voice ITV
Hotel Babylon Guest BBC One
2008— Horrible Histories Voice (Guest) CBBC / BBC One
2009 The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson Starring BBC One
2010 Heston's Eighties Feast Guest Channel 4
2011 The Sky at Night Guest BBC One
2012 Stargazing Live Guest BBC Two
2013 Let's Dance For Comic Relief Contestant BBC One
The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Tom Baker (voice) BBC Red Button
TV guest appearances

Year Title Role
2004 Churchill: The Hollywood Years Actor (as Tony Blair)
2008 Agent Crush Voice


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ St Bede's
  3. ^ "Canterbury Christ Church University". The Independent. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  4. ^ tellytunes: dj photocards: viking fm dj photographs
  5. ^ Jenny Gilbert (11 August 2002). "Jon Culshaw: A very good impression of a man who wants to outdo Rory Bremner". The Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot", BBC programmes, retrieved 26 November 2013
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]

External links[edit]

Audio clips[edit]

Video clips[edit]