John Bird (actor)
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22 November 1936 |
Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, England
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, satirist|
John Bird was Born in Bulwell, Nottingham, England, and attended High Pavement Grammar School, Nottingham, briefly joining the Socialist Party of Great Britain, while at the school. While studying at King's College, Cambridge, he met John Fortune. He became well known during the television satire boom of the 1960s, appearing in That Was The Week That Was, the title of which was coined by Bird. Bird was intended by Ned Sherrin for David Frost's role in the series, but was committed elsewhere. He also appeared in the television programmes Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life, If It Moves File It, Dangerous Brothers, A Very Peculiar Practice and My Father Knew Lloyd George, as well as in The Secret Policeman's Other Ball.
He has also acted straight and comic roles in several television series and in films such as A Dandy in Aspic (1968), 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia (1968), This, That and the Other (1969), Take A Girl Like You (1970), Jabberwocky (1977), The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), High Tide as "Cyril" with Ian McShane in the highly regarded dramatisation of the P. M. Hubbard suspense thriller (1979) and Yellow Pages (1988).
In 1975, Bird took the part of Mr Rembrandt, described as "Van Gogh's son, also an illegal [Pakistani] immigrant", in The Melting Pot. This was a sitcom written by Spike Milligan and Neil Shand, which was cancelled by the BBC after just one episode had been broadcast. Bird, in blackface, played an African Chief in a commercial for Benson & Hedges cigarettes. Bird played Raymond, a nervous, stuttering boy in Dennis Potter's play Blue Remembered Hills, in 1979.
He played the Director of the British National Theatre in an episode of the BBC situation comedy Yes, Prime Minister broadcast in 1988. In 1989-90 he played opposite Hannah Gordon in the 16-episode bank sitcom Joint Account.
In 1984, Bird played the part of Jack Ormand, a local gang boss, in the tenth episode of the Granada TV series Travelling Man.
From 1990 to 1992, Bird starred in eighteen episodes of the television detective series, El C.I.D., set in Spain. The series was serious rather than comedy-based, and co-starred Alfred Molina in the first two series and Amanda Redman in the third. The series was created by Clapperboard presenter Chris Kelly.
Bird starred as John Fuller-Carp, a barrister, in the BBC radio and television sitcom, Chambers. He also stars in the BBC Radio 4 and BBC Two series Absolute Power with Stephen Fry. Bird has also guest-starred in a number of television series, an example being the Jonathan Creek episode "The Three Gamblers", in which he plays a police inspector.
He is known in the UK for his work with John Fortune and Rory Bremner in Bremner, Bird and Fortune, which has won several awards. In the series of sketches with John Fortune, known as The Long Johns, one of the two men interviews the other in the guise of a senior figure such as a politician, businessman or government consultant, invariably called George Parr. In one of these sketches ("The Last Laugh"), which was recorded for The South Bank Show and broadcast on 14 October 2007, they were credited with being one of the first to predict the seriousness of the financial crisis of 2007–2010.
- Milligan, Spike; Shand, Neil (1983). The Melting Pot. London: Robson Books. introductory pages. ISBN 0-86051-195-2.
- McLean, Adam, ed. (2015). It was Alright in the... (Television production). Series 2 Episode 6 "1970s". United Kingdom: Objective Productions , Channel 4 – via All 4. (Registration required (. ))
- "The Marx Renaissance".
- "The Last Laugh: John Bird and John Fortune Reviews". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011.