Jon Culshaw

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Jon Culshaw
Jon Culshaw.jpg
Born (1968-06-02) 2 June 1968 (age 45)
Oldham, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Years active 1980s-present
Genres Impressions, sketch comedy
Notable works and roles Dead Ringers (2000–2007)
2DTV (2001–2004)
The Impressionable Jon Culshaw (2004)
Headcases (2008)
The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson (2009-present)The Sky at Night (2007-present)

Jonathan Peter Culshaw (born 2 June 1968 in Oldham, Lancashire) is an English impressionist and comedian. He was educated at St Bede's RC High School, Ormskirk[1] and St John Rigby College, Wigan.

He is 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. He also appeared in ITV's Heartbeat on 26 November 2006.

Early career[edit]

His 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.

He is also a former student of Canterbury Christ Church University.[2]

For around four years in the late 1980s, he was a DJ on the commercial radio station Viking FM,[3] 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]

He 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.[4]

Culshaw was one of the stars of the BBC Radio 4 comedy impression 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. On ITV 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 which was 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).

He 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 shown on Friday Nights. In 2006, he received an honorary fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

Culshaw was one of the final judges in Let's Dance for Comic Relief.

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. He came third with 23 points.

In November 2007, and again 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.

On 31 October 2009, Culshaw started a new comedy sketch show with Debra Stephenson, The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson. Its third series began on 26 October 2011.

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.[5]

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.

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.[6]


Year Title Role Channel
2001 Alter Ego Starring ITV
2001 2DTV Voice ITV
2002 Room 101 Patrick Moore impression BBC Two
2002–2009 Dead Ringers Starring BBC Two
2004 The Impressionable Jon Culshaw Starring ITV
2004 Little Britain Guest BBC One
2004 Churchill: The Hollywood Years (Film) Actor (as Tony Blair)
2006 The Slammer Guest BBC One
2006 The Secret Policeman's Ball 2006 Guest Channel 4
2007 The Sky at Night 'Young' Patrick Moore BBC One
2007 Red Nose Day 2007 Various BBC One
2007 Kombat Opera Presents Guest BBC Two
2008 Headcases Voice ITV
2008 Hotel Babylon Guest BBC One
2008 Agent Crush (Film) Voice
2008–present 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
2013 The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Tom Baker (voice) BBC Red Button


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