Julian Dutton

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Julian Dutton is an English comedy writer and performer, principally for television and radio, whose work has won a British Comedy Award, a BAFTA, and a Radio Academy Gold Award for Best Comedy.

Julian Dutton, Writer-Performer, b. London, England.

He is the co-creator and co-writer of the forthcoming BBC One comedy series Pompidou starring Matt Lucas, the first silent comedy TV series to be made for almost twenty years, since Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean. [1]

Described as one of "the best vocal performers around," [2] (BBC Comedy) he was one of the driving forces behind the hit BBC One comedy show The Big Impression with Alistair McGowan, and has also written and starred in several of his own series on BBC Radio 4, as well as writing extensively for many other TV and radio shows.[3] His series Truly, Madly, Bletchley was described by The Independent on Sunday as "The most confident new sitcom since The Navy Lark",[4] and Time Out praised his series The Harpoon, written with Peter Baynham, as having achieved "classic status."

His children's sitcom Scoop for CBBC, which Dutton writes and performs in, is now in its third series,[5] and the hit impressions show "The Secret World," written with Bill Dare, in which Dutton performs alongside star impressionists Jon Culshaw, Lewis Macleod, Duncan Wisbey and Jess Robinson, will have its fourth season broadcast in 2013. The show was described by the Daily Express as "...definitely one of the funniest things I've heard on R4 for a while." [6] On May 12th 2014 The Secret World won the Radio Academy Gold Award for Best Comedy. [7]

He is the author of two books: the historical travelogue Shakespeare's Journey Home: a Traveller's Guide through Elizabethan England, & The Bumper Book of Curious Clubs, a comic journey through the world's oddest societies.[8]

Early career[edit]

Born in central London, Dutton grew up in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, attending Great Marlow School. Fellow pupils included Olympic Champion Steve Redgrave [9] and the artist Paul Wilmott.[10]

Like Alistair McGowan, Dutton attended the University of Leeds where he studied English and History, whilst performing extensively with the University Theatre Group. After leaving university he began work as an actor, touring with his own theatre company and writing and performing in his own play The Candidate at the New End Theatre, Hampstead.

Early professional work included touring working men's clubs in the Midlands and North of England with a children's variety show; appearances in the West End with Charlton Heston and Ben Cross in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial;[11] and a national tour with Ralph Bates in Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends.

Dutton then aged several decades to portray 'Morganhall', the eccentric barrister in John Mortimer's comic two-hander The Dock Brief, performed with Canadian actor Jonathan Hartman.

He also toured Europe in productions of The Taming of the Shrew and The Importance of Being Earnest, appearing in Rotterdam, Cologne, Antwerp and Amsterdam; as well as TV appearances in Tucker's Luck, The Bill, Dempsey and Makepeace and Rockliffe's Babies.[12]

Comedy, stand-up & radio[edit]

In the early 1990s he turned from the theatre to comedy, performing an impressionist act on the stand-up circuit in London, and at this time began writing comedy shows for BBC Radio,[13] including Week Ending which he worked on with Peter Baynham, Richard Herring, Stewart Lee, Harry Hill, Ben Moor, Armando Ianucci, Harry Thompson, and Sarah Smith; and The News Huddlines, Roy Hudd's weekly topical sketch show. As well as performing cabaret on the club circuit, from 1991 to 1997 he wrote more than eighty half-hour radio comedy shows, including The Harpoon, the latter jointly with Peter Baynham and starring himself with Alistair McGowan, Peter Baynham, Susie Brann and Mary Elliot-Nelson. Three series of The Harpoon were broadcast, plus two Christmas specials, all produced by Sarah Smith, from 1991 to 1993. During this time Dutton also dramatised and performed in six P. G. Wodehouse stories for BBC Radio 4, Ukridge, in which Griff Rhys Jones played the eponymous anti-hero, starring alongside Robert Bathurst.

The following year, in 1994, he was given his own series, Truly, Madly, Bletchley, which he wrote and starred in, along with David Battley, Liz Fraser, Simon Godley and Toby Longworth.[14] Truly, Madly, Bletchley, produced by Dirk Maggs, was the first sketch show in the history of radio comedy to have been written by one person - apart from Harry Hill's Fruit Corner, which was being broadcast at the same time and which Dutton also performed in.

As a result of his radio work Dutton won the Peter Titheradge Award for Radio Comedy Writing, along with Richard Herring and Stewart Lee. At this period he was touring widely as a stand-up comedian, supporting Harry Hill in the West End, and performing with Al Murray, Jim Tavare and Jenny Eclair.

TV comedy[edit]

Early TV appearances at this time included The Bore of the Year Awards, in which he appeared in sketches with Peter Cook and John Sessions, Time Gentlemen Please, Al Murray's sitcom for Sky, and Does China Exist?, performing with Paul Merton. Dutton was also cast in many TV commercials, including playing the new Secret Lemonade Drinker in adverts with Ronnie Corbett, Frankie Howerd, and John McEnroe. He was also cast as the Canon Man in the copier ads.

In 2000 he co-created, wrote and performed in Alistair McGowan's Big Impression, later to be renamed The Big Impression,[15] which was BBC One's first sketch show for many years and their first impressions show since Mike Yarwood's. The show, produced by Charlie Hanson, proved a massive hit: in addition to writing the series Dutton was one of the supporting performers along with Ronni Ancona, Alan Francis, Roger Blake and Duncan Wisbey, and performed impressions of, among others, Dustin Hoffman, John Le Mesurier and James Stewart. He wrote and performed in four series of the show and two Christmas Specials, and won a British Comedy Award in 2001, and a BAFTA.[16] A spin-off series, Ronni Ancona & Co was commissioned in 2007, which Dutton wrote with Ancona, Alan Francis and Alex Lowe.[17]

Dutton also writes extensively for children's television, including the sketch shows Spoof and Driving Me Mad, the long-running legendary sitcom ChuckleVision, and the 13-part sitcom Scoop, re-commissioned for a second series of 13 episodes for screening in 2010, and a third series for screening in 2011.[18] Dutton was also commissioned to create and write a pilot for a new CBBC sitcom, Little Chucks, the adventures of Paul and Barry Chuckle as children, broadcast in 2010.

Recent television appearances include the Emmy Award-nominated My Life as a Popat for ITV, The Sarah Jane Adventures, a Doctor Who spin-off for CBBC produced by Russell T Davies, Nuzzle and Scratch, a children's comedy series, and Scoop with Shaun Williamson.

In 2006/7 he performed a London run of his impressions show Look Back in Hunger, a one-man history of film and TV, and in early 2009 wrote and performed two new radio comedy series, Inside Alan Francis, with fellow comedian and actor Alan Francis, and a new impressions show, The Secret World, produced by Bill Dare, in which Dutton performs alongside star impressionists Jon Culshaw, Lewis Macleod, Duncan Wisbey and Jess Robinson.

A third series of 13 episodes of his children's sitcom Scoop was commissioned and was filmed in the Autumn of 2010 for screening in 2011; and three series of the hit impressions show "The Secret World" have been broadcast on BBC R4 between 2010 and 2012. A fourth season of the hit show has been commissioned for broadcast in 2013.

He has also written columns for The Sunday Times, The Independent on Sunday, and the London Evening Standard, a historical travel book, Shakespeare's Journey Home: a Traveller's Guide through Elizabethan England, and The World's Top 50 Craziest Clubs, a comic journey through the world's strangest associations and societies [19]

A lifelong fan of silent comedy, in 2012 Dutton began developing an all-visual TV comedy show with comedian Matt Lucas and producer Ashley Blaker, with Lucas' own company, John Stanley Productions.[20] They created and co-wrote a pilot script which they delivered to the BBC in December 2012, and a 6-part series was commissioned for BBC One. The first all-visual TV series since Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean, Pompidou (TV series) will aim to reinvent silent comedy for the twenty-first century, and create an international comedy show for a global audience.[21]


In 1995 he married Laura Sutton, p.a. to former Head of BBC Radio Comedy Jonathan James-Moore, with whom he has two children, Jack and Florence. He lives in the village of Lane End in the Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire.

Radio Series as a writer & performer[edit]


The News Huddlines

Mackay the New

Flying the Flag

The Christopher Marlowe Mysteries

The Harpoon

Struck Off and Die

Truly, Madly, Bletchley

Harry Hill's Fruit Corner

Gush - Radio Series


The Oldest Member


Richard Barton, General Practioner

Inside Alan Francis

The Secret World

Les Kelly’s Britain

Brian Gulliver's Travels


Doctor Who: UNIT Dominion

Lewis Macleod is Not Himself

TV Series as a writer and performer[edit]

The Bill

Dempsey and Makepeace

The Gentle Touch

Rockliffe's Babies

Tucker's Luck

Friday Night Armistice

Jim Tavare Presents

Does China Exist?

Bore of the Year Awards

Time Gentlemen Please

The Big Impression

Ronni Ancona & Co

My Life as a Popat

The Stephen K. Amos Show


Driving Me Mad - CBBC

Spoof - CBBC

The Sarah Jane Adventures

Coronation Street


Pompidou (TV series)

Little People - US TV series


  1. ^ http://www.comedy.co.uk/news/story/000001102/bbc_one_order_silent_comedy_matt_lucas_pompidou/
  2. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t7h94
  3. ^ http://www.rbmcomedy.com/site/client.php?section_id=50
  4. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/radio--so-if-you-want-a-laugh-go-to-bletchley-1276563.html
  5. ^ http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/scoop/
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jsxhl
  7. ^ http://www.radioacademyawards.org/winners/index.cfm?winners_year=2014&winners_award_group_id=4&winners_award_category_id=35
  8. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Julian%20Dutton&search-alias=books-uk&sort=relevancerank
  9. ^ http://www.steveredgrave.com/home.html
  10. ^ http://www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/paul_wilmott
  11. ^ http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=nEPm0Yo5eHMC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=caine+mutiny+court+martial+queen's+theatre+1986&source=bl&ots=oNIhHGkGQG&sig=ec2v5qZfe12aOHJvwWsWAJ8TuQA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PDdVUcjvC7Kl0wXF-4HYAw&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=caine%20mutiny%20court%20martial%20queen's%20theatre%201986&f=false
  12. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0244937/
  13. ^ http://www.angelfire.com/pq/radiohaha/frames.html
  14. ^ http://www.angelfire.com/pq/radiohaha/frames.html
  15. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0211948/
  16. ^ http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0211948/awards
  17. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1403735/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_wr#writers
  18. ^ http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/scoop/
  19. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Julian%20Dutton&search-alias=books-uk&sort=relevancerank
  20. ^ http://johnstanleyproductions.com/
  21. ^ http://www.comedy.co.uk/news/story/000001102/bbc_one_order_silent_comedy_matt_lucas_pompidou/