Garth Marenghi

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Garth Marenghi
Garth Marenghi.jpg
Matthew Holness as Garth Marenghi
Created byMatthew Holness
Richard Ayoade
Portrayed byMatthew Holness
In-universe information
OccupationHorror author, self-described dream-weaver and visionary, plus actor
ChildrenMeredith, Jocasta, Katrina, one unnamed daughter

Garth Marenghi is a fictional horror author created by English comedians Matthew Holness and Richard Ayoade and portrayed by Holness. He is depicted as a conceited hack writer, who remains blissfully (or even wilfully) unaware of his lack of talent.

The character has appeared in two stage shows, the Perrier Award-nominated Garth Marenghi's Fright Knight[1][2] and Perrier Award-winning Garth Marenghi's Netherhead,[3][4] and the Channel 4 TV series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and Man to Man with Dean Learner.

After winning the Perrier Award, the creators confounded media sources by refusing to speak out of character, or give real names or backgrounds.[5]


Garth Marenghi is a spoof pulp horror author; his act and his works are considered a parody of the horror genre.[5][6] The name "Garth Marenghi" is an anagram of the phrase "argh nightmare."

The character is highly conceited and narcissistic, often describing himself through epithets such as "the dream weaver", "shaman", "titan of terror", "The One Man Fear Factory" and "master of the macabre." In interviews, he compares himself positively with James Joyce, Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, and Jesus.[6][7][8]

Despite this, Marenghi displays a general ignorance of many subjects of which he claims knowledge. He claims to be self-taught,[6] having left school young ("I knew by the age of eight that my education had finished"),[7] and despite his claims to being a literary genius he rarely reads books. When he needs to learn about a subject, he will "hire someone to go and find out about it."[6] In both stage shows, in the official website, and in numerous interviews he claims to have written more books than he has read.[7]

Marenghi displays other traits including sexism, xenophobia, and extreme paranoia. He is depicted as married with four daughters, though disappointed at not having a son. The Darkplace episode "Skipper the Eye Child" explains this, and references this in its plot with Marenghi's character Rick Dagless shown as having a deceased son who was half boy, half grasshopper. During the DVD feature 'Darkplace Illuminatum' Marenghi draws further comparisons with himself and Dagless. He comments "In many ways he is an extension of my own natural abilities. He's got a little more than me. He is a little more tragic than I am, as a character. He's seen the dark side. A little too much."

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace[edit]

The show Garth Marenghi's Darkplace is based on the premise that Garth Marenghi wrote and starred in a 1980s low-budget hospital-based horror show. Within this fictional context, 50 shows were created, but were never shown as they were suppressed by "MI-8" for being "too subversive, too dangerous, too damn scary."[8]

Many jokes are based on the premise that Garth Marenghi not only created and wrote the series, but also plays the central character. As such, characters reflect Marenghi's world-view, and his own character—Doctor Rick Dagless, M.D.—exhibits many characteristics of a Mary Sue.

Other television appearances[edit]

Marenghi also guests in the first episode of Dean Learner's talk series, Man to Man with Dean Learner, where he reveals that he lost an ear in an ambulance crash, has written a total of 436 books, and has filmed a new movie, War of the Wasps,[8] featuring most of the cast of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.

Garth Marenghi's TerrorTome[edit]

Matthew Holness published Garth Marenghi's TerrorTome, written as Garth Marenghi in November 2022; it is available as a hardback, ebook and audiobook.[9] Release of the book was followed by a book tour, where Holness would read extracts of the book in-character of Marenghi and then conduct a Q&A with the audience.


  1. ^ Gardner, Lyn (24 August 2000). "Garth Marenghi's Fright Knight". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  2. ^ "Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2000 – The Perrier Comedy Awards 2000". August 2000. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  3. ^ "Marenghi wins Perrier Award". BBC News. BBC. 26 August 2001. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  4. ^ "Edinburgh Festival Fringe – The Perrier Comedy Awards 2001". Edinburgh Guide. August 2001. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Garth Marenghi uncovered". BBC News. BBC. 21 August 2001. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d Lee, Veronica (21 October 2001). "Garth Marenghi: An audience with the Shakespeare of our time". The Independent. Independent News and Media Limited. Retrieved 14 January 2008.[dead link]
  7. ^ a b c Garth Marenghi (February 2004). "Comic's corner: Garth Marenghi". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  8. ^ a b c Nick Galvin (26 January 2006). "Tales from a dark place". The Age. The Age Company Ltd. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  9. ^ "Matthew Holness - Garth Marenghi's TerrorTome Audiobook, eBook and Hardback". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 18 August 2022.

External links[edit]