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|Born||December 26, 1954|
The pair met at school in London [Clapham College] and joined a theatre club in 1972. The two then wrote and starred in a show which parodied much of the other shows being held in London that year. They then formed their own theatre company and wrote and toured productions around the UK for the rest of the 1970s.
The two have worked together as writers, guest comics, support acts and improvisers ever since, although Steen has done his share of straight acting, including a part in the movie version of BBC sitcom Porridge in 1979. Although he had lines to say as young convict Wellings, the final cut showed him frequently onscreen yet without saying a word. He was, however, credited.
Steen and Sweeney appeared on television together for the first time in 1981 with the ITV children's show CBTV, followed by one of Channel 4's first comedies, Little Armadillos and a role for Steen in Ben Elton's idyllic comedy Happy Families. Rory Bremner then recruited them as resident support performers on his first sketch show for the BBC, and shortly afterwards they starred as poets Byron (Steen) and Coleridge (Sweeney) in an episode of Blackadder the Third.
Steen had a major roles in Sweeney's award winning play "Danny's Wake", which was subsequently adapted into a sitcom for Radio 4. Steen continued to play Billy throughout the two series. Steen also played Liam in another radio play "Any Bloke".
Sweeney was recruited as a solo performer thereafter for Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but Steen was soon summoned for the Channel 4 improvisation show, and was a runaway success in his six episodes. He also guested on Have I Got News for You in 1992 (without Sweeney, who to date has never been on that programme) and combined one-off acting roles on TV with taking improv tours, with Sweeney and others, around the UK and beyond.
Along with Sweeney, Steen appeared in a series of language teaching videos made by Oxford University Press.
Their performing partnership has now effectively ended due to Sweeney's continuing battle with multiple sclerosis, which forced him to retire from stage work.
Steen is a fan of Fulham football club.