Colin Sell playing piano for the I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue Christmas Special 2007 at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue
1 December 1948|
|Known for||Whose Line Is It Anyway?, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue|
Colin Sell (born 1 December 1948) is a British pianist who has appeared on the radio panel games Whose Line Is It Anyway? and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. He has become famous mostly for his long service on the latter show, where the opening credits are "At the piano is Colin Sell, and your chairman is Humphrey Lyttelton/Jack Dee", in the manner of the show none of the panelists are credited in the opening credits, but are introduced by the chairman, usually in a sarcastic manner ("the foremost available comedians. I'm sorry. The four most available comedians"). He is frequently the butt of the host's jokes, and cannot reply because as he said in an interview with the BBC "I can't answer back, I don't have a microphone". The jokes usually refer to the alleged poor quality of his piano playing and suggest other roles he takes as part-time jobs to make up for this.
Sell became Head of Music at East 15 Acting School, Essex in 1998, and remained on staff until at least April 2015. Until 1998 he was Head of Music at Rose Bruford College, Sidcup, and was instrumental in the creation of the BA (Hons) Actor-Musician course there. He occasionally provides live musical accompaniment for The Comedy Store Players, a comedy improvisation group based in The Comedy Store, London.
Sell was born in Purley, Surrey, and grew up in Croydon, attending Trinity School. He did not get a degree in music. He instead received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the University of Bristol in 1971. He wrote music for the University's revues in the early 1970s, leading to performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where Simon Brett saw Sell perform and offered him the pianist position on Clue. He also appeared with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre TIE company in the early 1970s, which also included two other well-known names, Elizabeth Estensen and Clive Hornby, both long-standing members of the Emmerdale cast.
Sell has also accompanied Barry Cryer and Willie Rushton in their stage show Two Old Farts in the Night. After the interval he played (and sang) a solo: "We are the Boys in the Band". In 2013 he appeared with Barry Cryer in Richmond, Yorkshire, as part of the Swaledale Festival, performing jazz and blues and songs of his own composition.
- Roberts, Jem. The Clue Bible: The Fully Authorised History of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue from Footlights to Mornington Crescent. Preface, 2009.
- "The Pianist – Colin Sell". BBC. January 2003.
- "Colin Sell, Head of Music". East 15 Acting School. Archived from the original on 2014-04-08.
- "International Teaching Faculty". East 15 Acting School. Archived from the original on 2015-04-26.
- "Colin Sell - Laughter in the One and Nines" All Electric Productions Retrieved 14 February 2016
- "Quarta Sax - About Us". Archived from the original on 2009-12-13. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
- "l'8 quintet >> Rob Sell".[permanent dead link]