Paul Whitehouse

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For the British police officer, see Paul Whitehouse (police officer).
Paul Whitehouse
Born Paul Julian Whitehouse
(1958-05-17) 17 May 1958 (age 56)
Stanleytown, Rhondda-Cynon-Taf, Wales, U.K.[1]
Alma mater University of East Anglia
Occupation Actor, comedian, screenwriter, television producer
Years active 1987–present
Home town London, England
Children 3

Paul Julian Whitehouse[2] (born 17 May 1958 in Stanleytown, Rhondda-Cynon-Taf) is a Welsh actor, writer and comedian. He became known for his work with Harry Enfield and as one of the stars of the popular BBC sketch show, The Fast Show. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was in the top 50 comedy acts voted for by comedians and comedy insiders. He is most well known for his comic characters in The Fast Show, Harry and Paul and Harry Enfield and Chums. He also appears in AVIVA insurance adverts. Johnny Depp described Paul Whitehouse as "the greatest actor of all time".[3]

Early life[edit]

Whitehouse was born in Stanleytown in the Rhondda Valley, Rhondda-Cynon-Taf, Wales.[1] His father worked for the National Coal Board and his mother was a singer with the Welsh National Opera.[4] The family moved to Enfield[5] in North London, England when he was four years old, which led to his discovering his talent for mimicry:[1]

"At school I didn't say a word for the first four weeks – I called it my Silent Month. I think it was because everyone was speaking so differently from how it had been in Wales. Then, after four weeks, I came home one day and said, 'Muumm, I wanna go to Sarfend!' For her that was the end because I had lost my lovely Welsh lilt. So I became very conscious of speech and the effects it can have. But when I went back to Wales I would start talking all Welsh, 'lyke that you see' before going all Alf Garnett while coming back the other way."

Career[edit]

Whitehouse attended the University of East Anglia in Norwich from autumn 1977, where he made friends with Charlie Higson.[6] The pair spent little of their first year studying, instead playing guitar and performing with their punk rock combo, the Right Hand Lovers, along with other university friends Duncan Beamont, Kevin Buckland and Dave Cummings.

Whitehouse dropped out and lived with other drop-outs in a council flat in Hackney, east London and occasionally worked as a plasterer. After Higson graduated in 1980, he moved in with Whitehouse, working by day as a decorator and performing at night and the weekends with his new punk-funk group The Higsons.[7]

Whitehouse (right) as Smashie

The pair began working as tradesmen on a house shared by comedians Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, which inspired them to start writing comedy. They moved to an estate where in a pub they met Harry Enfield, a neighbour with a stage act,[7] and after he gained a place on Channel 4's Saturday Live, the pair were invited to write for him.[6] Whitehouse created Enfield's character Stavros a London-based Greek kebab shop owner, and then Loadsamoney an archetypal Essex boy made good in Margaret Thatcher's 1980s; he also appeared as Enfield's sidekick Lance on Saturday Live.

This success turned Whitehouse and Higson's career, and they began to appear on shows such as Vic Reeves' Big Night Out and extensively for the BBC, with Whitehouse appearing on A Bit of Fry and Laurie as a man with a clinical need to have his bottom fondled, and Paul Merton: The Series, then as performer on shows such as Harry Enfield's Television Programme, where he developed numerous characters including DJ Mike Smash of Smashie and Nicey alongside Harry Enfield as Nicey.

TV career[edit]

While watching a preview tape of highlights from Enfield's show, Whitehouse and Higson were inspired to create a rapid-fire delivery comedy show, The Fast Show. (When shown in the United States on BBC America, the show was titled Brilliant.) Whitehouse's characters included:

Due to his array of comedy characters, Johnny Depp has said Whitehouse is one of the best actors he has seen. Depp is a fan of The Fast Show and made a guest appearance on the programme.

An online series of The Fast Show commissioned by Fosters led to six weekly episodes launched on 10 November 2011.[8]

Whitehouse as Unlucky Alf

In 2001 and 2002 Whitehouse wrote and performed in two series of the BBC comedy drama Happiness, in which he played a voice-over actor with a mid-life crisis.

Whitehouse wrote, produced and appeared with Chris Langham in the 2005 comedy drama Help, also for the BBC. In this show he took 25 roles, all patients of Langham's psychotherapist (except one, who is Langham's psychotherapist's psychotherapist). The pair's collaboration resulted in Whitehouse taking the witness stand on 24 July 2007 in the trial of Langham, in regard to the charge of holding explicit images and videos of minors. Langham claimed he downloaded this material as research for a character in the second series of Help, but Whitehouse's testimony only partially corroborated this explanation.[9]

Whitehouse appeared in the BBC sketch show Harry & Paul (formerly Ruddy Hell! It's Harry and Paul), starring alongside Harry Enfield.[10]

Whitehouse stars alongside Charlie Higson in a new BBC2 comedy series called Bellamy's People, the first episode was broadcast on 21 January 2010. The comedy evolved from the BBC Radio 4 show Down the Line.[11] The show originally had the working title of Bellamy's Kingdom.

Radio[edit]

Whitehouse and Charlie Higson produced and appeared in a spoof phone-in show Down the Line on BBC Radio 4. The first series was broadcast May–June 2006. A second series was broadcast 16 January – 20 February 2007, during which they won a Sony Radio Academy Award.[12] A third series was broadcast in January 2008, a fourth in January 2011 and a fifth in May 2013. In February 2014, Radio 4 broadcast Nurse, written by Whitehouse and David Cummings and starring Esther Coles in the title role, with Whitehouse playing a variety of characters, including Graham Downs who had previously appeared in Down The Line.

Other[edit]

He also starred alongside James Corden and Mathew Horne in episode 4 of Horne & Corden. Comic Relief 2011 contained a new parody video of Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind) directed by MJ Delaney featuring Whitehouse and other Welsh celebrities lip-syncing to the song.[13] It is available to download via iTunes.

Personal life[edit]

Whitehouse is divorced and has three daughters – Molly, Sophie and Lauren. He lives in Islington, is a supporter of English Premiership football team Tottenham Hotspur and has appeared on fellow comedian Phil Cornwell's Spurs Show podcast.[14] Whitehouse has also claimed to have a soft spot for Everton: when asked on the Danny Baker radio show broadcast on 13 February 2010 to describe his childhood bedroom, Whitehouse responded, "There's an Everton and Tottenham poster on the wall. I'm a Tottenham fan but I quite like Everton 'cause they were the champions when I was a kid. If I wasn't from Tottenham I think I'd have been an Everton fan as they're my second team if you like."[15]

Influences[edit]

Whitehouse's main early influences were the sketches of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and the Monty Python crew. Tommy Cooper made him laugh, as did Morecambe and Wise and the television show Dad's Army. He cites his modern influences as Harry Enfield (who he says without meeting he would not have been doing what he does now), and the approach of Reeves and Mortimer who he thinks are "far and away the best comedians that we have had in this country for a long while."[16]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role
2000 Kevin and Perry Go Large Bouncer
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Sir Cadogan
Finding Neverland Stage Manager
2005 Corpse Bride William Van Dort
Mayhew
Paul the Head Waiter
2010 Alice in Wonderland Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare
Burke and Hare Drunk Gentleman
2016 Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare

Television[edit]

Year Television Role Notes
1990 A Bit of Fry and Laurie Man at the Bottom Fondled in Audience Episode: "Episode #2.3"
Vic Reeves Big Night Out David Rowells
Jean-Paul Gaultier
Mr. Popkins
Episodes: "Episode #1.1"
"Episode #1.5"
"Episode #1.6"
1991 Comic Relief Mike 'Smashie' Smash TV movie
Paul Merton: The Series Carver Episode: "Episode #1.6"
1990–1992 Harry Enfield's Television Programme Mike Smash
Alf Git
Lance
1994–2000 The Fast Show "Unlucky" Alf
Anyone fancy a pint?
Archie
Arthur Atkinson
Brilliant Kid
Poutremos Poutra-Poutremos
Chris the Crafty Cockney
The 13th Duke of Wymbourne
Lindsey
Ron Manager
Rowley Birkin QC
Ted
Various roles
Also co-creator and screenwriter
1992 Bunch of Five Spencer Pendel Episode: "The Weekenders"
1993–1995 The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer Jimmy Lea from Slade
Heinrich Himmler
1994 Smashie and Nicey, the End of an Era Mike Smash TV movie
1994–1997 Harry Enfield and Chums Julio Geordio
Lance
Self-Righteous Brother George
Fred Git
Various roles
Also screenwriter
1998 Ted & Ralph Ted
Rowley Birkin
Kevin Brown
TV movie
1999 You Ain't Seen All These, Right? Various roles
David Copperfield Pawnbroker
Hooves of Fire Prancer (voice)
2000 Randall & Hopkirk Sidney Crabbe Episode: "A Blast from the Past"
2001–2002 Fun at the Funeral Parlour Harrison Ford The News Agent Episode: "Death in the Valleys"
"The Heron Incident"
"Dead Aid"
2001 Jumpers for Goalposts Ron Manager
Comic Relief: Say Pants to Poverty Ted TV movie
We Know Where You Live Smashie
George
2001–2003 Happiness Danny Spencer Also screenwriter
2002 I Love the 100 Best Top Ten Lists of the Fast Show Ever! Various characters
Legend of the Lost Tribe Prancer (voice)
2004 The Ultimate Pop Star Mike Smash TV movie
Swiss Toni' Brickabrack Lennard Episode: "Fothergill 2000"
2005 Help Various characters
The Catherine Tate Show Dad Episode: "Episode #2.5"
2007 Close Encounters of the Herd Kind Prancer (voice)
2007–present Harry and Paul Various characters Also co-creator and screenwriter
2009 Comic Relief 2009 Evan Davis
Theo Profiterole
Duncan Guillotine
TV movie
Horne & Corden Episode: "Episode #1.4"
2010 Bellamy's People Various characters Also director and screenwriter
2014 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern Pat Quid
Mike Smash

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film/series Result[17]
1995 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award TV – Light Entertainment
Shared with Harry Enfield, Simon Greenall, Ian Hislop, Geoffrey Perkins, Nick Newman, Harry Thompson & Kay Stonham
Harry Enfield and Chums Won
1996 British Comedy Award Top Male Comedy Performer The Fast Show Won
1997 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment (Programme or Series)
Shared with Charlie Higson, Sid Roberson & Mark Mylod
Nominated
Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award TV – Light Entertainment
Shared with Dave Cummings, Harry Enfield, Ian Hislop, Gary Howe, Graham Linehan, Arthur Mathews, Nick Newman, Geoffrey Perkins & Richard Preddy
Harry Enfield and Chums Won
1998 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment (Programme or Series)
Shared with Charlie Higson & Mark Mylod
The Fast Show Won
Best Light Entertainment Performance Won
1999 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actor Ted & Ralph Nominated
2002 BAFTA TV Award Situation Comedy Award
Shared with David Cummings, Declan Lowney & Rosemary McGowan
Happiness Nominated
2006 Best Comedy Programme or Series
Shared with Jane Berthoud, Chris Langham & Declan Lowney
Help Won
2008 Banff World Media Festival Award Best Comedy Program
Shared with Harry Enfield
Harry & Paul Nominated
2009 British Comedy Award Best Sketch Show
Shared with Harry Enfield
Won
2010 Nominated
2011 BAFTA TV Award Best Comedy Program
Shared with Harry Enfield, Sandy Johnson & Izzy Mant
Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Comic Paul tells of talent change Wales on Sunday – 28 October 2007
  2. ^ http://www.checksure.biz/Director/PAUL+JULIAN+WHITEHOUSE-16591493.htm
  3. ^ Mitchison, Amanda (27 September 2002). "That was a joke I made". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  4. ^ "South East Wales Showbiz – Paul Whitehouse". BBC. 27 April 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "My team. Paul Whitehouse on Tottenham Hotspur". London: Guardian media. 4 March 2001. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Bio:Paul Whitehouse BBC Comedy
  7. ^ a b On the move: Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson The Times – 2 December 2007
  8. ^ http://www.fosters.co.uk/tagged/the_fast_show
  9. ^ "England | Kent | Co-star 'did not know about porn'". BBC News. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "Comedy – Harry and Paul – Homepage". BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  11. ^ Sanghera, Mandeep (15 January 2010). "Ray to star in Bellamy's People". BBC News. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  12. ^ Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson: Making (radio) waves The Independent – 1 October 2007
  13. ^ Comic Relief cast
  14. ^ "iTunes Store". Phobos.apple.com. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  15. ^ Danny Baker show broadcast Saturday 13 February 2010, Radio Five Live and BBC website
  16. ^ BBC Forum: Comedian Paul Whitehouse quizzed BBC Forum
  17. ^ "Paul Whitehouse (I) – Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 

External links[edit]