Henry Naylor

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Henry Naylor
Birth nameHenry James Naylor
Born (1966-01-19) 19 January 1966 (age 58)
Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
Alma materDowning College, Cambridge
Notable works and rolesSpitting Image
Parsons and Naylor's Pull-Out Sections

Henry James Naylor (born 19 January 1966)[citation needed] is a British comedy writer, director and performer.[1] He is also a playwright.

Early life[edit]

Naylor read history and history of art at Downing College, Cambridge.[2][3]


Naylor was head writer for Spitting Image,[citation needed] and has written for many TV and radio programmes, including Alas Smith and Jones, Dead Ringers and Alistair McGowan's Big Impression.[citation needed] His work helped these shows to win numerous awards, including a British Comedy Award and the Sony Gold.[citation needed]

With his comedy partner Andy Parsons, he has performed satirical shows in live venues in Australia and as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.[citation needed] Parsons and Naylor's Pull-Out Sections broadcast its ninth season on BBC Radio 2 during Spring 2007.[citation needed] A compilation CD was released in 2003.[citation needed] The duo also set up London's first comedy sketch club, TBA, at the Gate Theatre (London) in the 1990s, and in the process helped discover many of Britain's leading sketch performers, including Armstrong and Miller, Tony Gardner and The Cheese Shop.[citation needed]

In 2008 he created, directed and executive-produced Headcases, a satirical ITV show very similar to Spitting Image but made with CGI rather than puppets.[4] The show won numerous prestigious TV awards - including the RTS for Design and Innovation, and the C21 Award for Best New Sketch Show at Cannes' Mipcom - and was nominated for Best New Programme in the Broadcast Awards.[citation needed]

On the live circuit, Naylor has been a regular at the Edinburgh Festival, performing, writing and directing numerous sketch shows and plays (15 in total).[citation needed] In 2014 he was awarded one of the Festival's highest accolades, the Fringe First. He was also one of the international acts invited to perform at the Melbourne and Sydney Comedy Festivals.[citation needed]

He played Rowan Atkinson's sidekick Bough in a series of 17 commercials for Barclaycard.,[5] and in 1993 appeared in the children's television series Press Gang as the acerbically-drawn host (on roller skates) of a Saturday-morning kids' show alongside a puppet cat.

In 2003 he was in the news for throwing a full English breakfast at David Blaine during his Above the Below stunt on the South Bank of the River Thames in London.[6]


Naylor has written and directed award-winning plays for the Edinburgh Fringe, usually playing in The Gilded Balloon Teviot. Finding Bin Laden (2003) was a satire about media representation of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, which also featured co-producer Sam Maynard's documentary photography.[7]

Hunting Diana, his 2004 Fringe offering, was about conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.[8]

In 2007 he directed Sarah Kendall's Fringe show My Very First Kidnapping.[citation needed]

In 2014 he wrote his first drama-tragedy, The Collector, which won one of the leading awards at the Edinburgh Festival, the Fringe First.[9][10][11] Set in an Iraqi gaol during the occupation of Iraq in 2003, the play attacked brutality on both sides of the conflict. The show transferred off-London's West End and played a sell-out season at the Arcola Theatre in November 2014 to critical acclaim.[12][13] In autumn of 2016, the show will be going on an extensive 3-month tour of the UK.[citation needed]

In 2015, he premiered the second part of his Arabian Nightmares - Echoes. Opening at the Gilded Balloon, it won the Spirit of the Fringe Award at Edinburgh.[14] Exploring the surprising parallels between the Jihadi adventurers of today and early Victorian pioneers, the play was a provocative and brutal examination of colonialism, and the resonances of history. Echoes received many highly favourable reviews, including one from The Guardian's lead critic Mark Lawson, who described it as a "hugely impressive play".[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24] The play transferred both off-West End and off-Broadway - to the Arcola Theatre in London (November 2015) and the 59e59 Theater in New York (April 2016).[citation needed] Its world tour commenced in early 2016, and at the world's second-largest fringe - Adelaide - the show became one of the most decorated at the festival's history, winning five major fringe awards, including for Best Theatre, Critics' Choice and Pick of the Fringe.[25][26][27] Again, it scored five-star reviews.[28][29][30][31][32][33] In 2016 Naylor was due to premiere the third instalment of the Arabian Nightmares at the Gilded Balloon - its working title being Angel.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Dessau, Bruce (5 April 2008). "ITV's satire show Headcases to be more than Spitting Images lookalike". The Times. London. Retrieved 5 May 2008.
  2. ^ Maxwell, Dominic (14 August 2017). "Henry Naylor: from Spitting Image to Syria". The Times. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  3. ^ "LA: Echoes at the Broadwater Second Stage". cantab.org. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  4. ^ "A Spitting Image for the digital age : News 2007 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
  5. ^ Maxwell, Dominic. "Henry Naylor: From Spitting Image to Syria".
  6. ^ Standard.co.uk
  7. ^ "Finding Bin Laden".
  8. ^ The Scotsman Archived 25 January 2005 at the Wayback Machine Hunting Diana review
  9. ^ http://www.wow247.co.uk/blog/2014/08/08/scotsman-fringe-first-awards-first-winners-of-2014-announced/ "Fringe First Winner" announcement
  10. ^ http://www.wow247.co.uk/blog/2014/08/07/cuckooed-the-collector-sochi-2014-the-trial-of-jane-fonda/ "The Collector" review
  11. ^ "SG2014 Review: The Collector | SGfringe". Archived from the original on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  12. ^ "The Collector @ The Arcola Theatre - THE GIZZLE REVIEW".
  13. ^ http://gingerhibiscus.com/review-the-collector-at-the-arcola-theatre/
  14. ^ "2015 Award Winners - Edinburgh Festival Fringe".
  15. ^ Mark Lawson (12 August 2015). "Echoes at Edinburgh festival review – dark and daring look at colonial cruelty". The Guardian.
  16. ^ Maxwell, Dominic. "Echoes at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Festival". The Times.
  17. ^ "Theatre review: Echoes by Henry Naylor". WOW247. 31 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Timely drama finds echoes of the past - The Sunday Times". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 2 October 2015.
  19. ^ "ECHOES". thequotidiantimes. 24 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Echoes". FringeReview. 19 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Echoes by Henry Naylor". Broadway Baby. 9 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Echoes Edinburgh, festival".
  23. ^ "theatreextra: Echos".
  24. ^ "Echoes by Henry Naylor". Arts Award Voice.
  25. ^ "Adelaide Fringe - 12 February - 14 March 2016".
  26. ^ "Adelaide Fringe - 12 February - 14 March 2016".
  27. ^ "Security Check Required". Facebook.
  28. ^ "No Cookies | The Advertiser". adelaidenow.com.au.
  29. ^ "Adelaide Theatre Guide: South Australia's Comprehensive Internet Guide to Local Arts".
  30. ^ Samela Harris. "Echoes by Henry Naylor".
  31. ^ "review-echoes_by_henry_naylor".
  32. ^ "Fringe Review: Echoes". Glam Adelaide - The Best South Australian News. 13 February 2016.
  33. ^ "Review: Echoes". InDaily. 11 February 2016.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Roland Kenyon
Footlights President
Succeeded by