Chris England (born 20 January 1961, Oldham) is an English writer and actor. He is best known for the comedy play An Evening with Gary Lineker, which he wrote with Arthur Smith, and the book Balham to Bollywood. He has three sons, the waviest of whom is John England.
Chris England was educated at Valley Comprehensive School, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, and at Pembroke College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge he was a member of the Footlights, and toured the UK and Australia with them.
After graduating, England formed Bad Lib Theatre Company with fellow ex-Footlights Morwenna Banks, Robert Harley, Neil Mullarkey, Paul Simpkin and David Tyler, co-writing, performing and directing a number of comedy plays and shows. These included Feeling The Benefit, Get Your Coat, Dear, We’re Leaving..., The Preventers and The Return of the New Preventers. The latter two shows subsequently formed part of the BBC radio series Fab TV, and a one-off comedy, The Preventers, for ITV.
With Morwenna Banks, England co-wrote and appeared in two children’s television storytelling series, Revolting Animals and Jellyneck, and devised and wrote All Change, which featured Frankie Howerd, Maggie Steed and Tony Haygarth.
In 1991 England co-wrote (with Arthur Smith) and acted in An Evening With Gary Lineker, which transferred from the Edinburgh Fringe to the Duchess Theatre in the West End, and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Comedy of the Year. The play was made into a television film by Granada, produced by Andy Harries, and starring Clive Owen, Caroline Quentin and Martin Clunes.
In 2000, England spent twelve weeks in Bhuj, India, working on the Oscar-nominated Bollywood cricket epic Lagaan, in which he played a “heavily-bewhiskered bodyline bowler”, an experience which he described in a best-selling book, Balham to Bollywood, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.
England returned to theatre writing and acting in 2006 with Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson, which enjoyed runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and at the Menier Chocolate Factory. The play has been made into a feature film, released in 2013, starring George MacKay, Norman Pace, Nigel Lindsay, Beth Cordingly, Michael Beckley, Gina Varela and the author.
England has also collaborated with the comedian Al Murray on three series of Al Murray's Happy Hour, one series of Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder, and two best-selling comedy books. He now writes for the BBC Radio FiveLive show 7 Day Sunday, which Murray currently hosts.
Most recently he has published two books. How to Enjoy the World Cup is a comedy guide to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Fun Factory is his first novel, set in the world of the Edwardian music hall, when the young Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel were working for the Fred Karno comedy company.
The Fun Factory - Old Street. ISBN 978-1-908699-86-2
How to Enjoy the World Cup - Old Street. ISBN 978-1-908699-91-6
Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson - Josef Weinberger plays. ISBN 0856762962
No More Buddha, Only Football - Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0340825480
Balham to Bollywood - Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 034081988X
What Didn’t Happen Next (with Nick Hancock) - Andre Deutsch. ISBN 023399291X
Breakfast with Jonny Wilkinson
The Back End of Next Week