Peter Serafinowicz

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Peter Serafinowicz
Serafinowicz smirking and wearing a grey suit
Serafinowicz in July 2014
Born (1972-07-10) 10 July 1972 (age 49)
Liverpool, England
Occupation
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • director
  • screenwriter
Years active1993–present
Spouse(s)Sarah Alexander
Children2

Peter Szymon Serafinowicz (/ˌsɛrəˈfɪnəwɪ/ SERR-ə-FIN-ə-witch; born 10 July 1972) is an English actor, comedian, director, and screenwriter. He is best known for his role as Pete in Shaun of the Dead (2004) and as the voice of Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). He has also appeared in many British and American comedy series. He starred as the title character in the 2016 live-action series of The Tick and has received attention for political satire videos in which he dubs over videos of Donald Trump with various comedic voices. He has also directed music videos for acts such as Hot Chip and Kitchen Gun.

Early life[edit]

Peter Szymon Serafinowicz was born in the Gateacre suburb of Liverpool on 10 July 1972,[1][2][3] the son of post office worker Catherine (née Geary) and scaffolder Szymon Serafinowicz.[4] His father, who was born and raised in Surrey before moving to Liverpool, was half Belarusian and half Polish.[4] Serafinowicz has a brother named James, who became a film producer, and a sister named Helen, who became a writer and was married to Irish comedy writer Graham Linehan from 2004 to 2021 after Serafinowicz introduced them.[5]

At the age of three, Serafinowicz moved with his family to the Belle Vale area of Liverpool, where he attended Our Lady of the Assumption Primary School.[6] The family moved back to Gateacre when he was 14, and he attended St Francis Xavier's College in the neighbouring Woolton suburb.[7] He later said, "I had a very happy childhood, but Belle Vale was very rough. I was only about three when we moved there, but I can still remember it looking very shiny, and it was all landscaped. But it was a very poor area, and it became scruffy quite quickly. [...] Gateacre is traditionally seen as one of the posh areas of Liverpool. It wasn't really that much posher!"[6]

Career[edit]

Serafinowicz at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con

Serafinowicz made his broadcasting debut in 1993 on Radio 1 show The Knowledge, a spoof documentary about the music industry. From there he went on to perform in Radio 4 shows Week Ending, Harry Hill's Fruit Corner, Grievous Bodily Radio, The Two Dannys and A Whole New Ball Game.

On 1 May 1997, he appeared in The Election Night Armistice as Moz Bingham, the fictional press secretary to the then shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who verbally abuses the BBC's Nick Robinson in a spoof phone call over the politician's news coverage. In 1998 he appeared on TV in Comedy Nation and You Are Here. He also had a role in the sitcom How Do You Want Me? penned by Simon Nye.

In 1999, he had a few guest appearances in the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, playing protagonist Tim Bisley's (Simon Pegg) nemesis, Duane Benzie. He made another cameo appearance in the series when it returned in 2001.

In 2001, he took the lead in BBC Two sitcom World of Pub, playing the same character as he had done in the show's run on Radio 4. He appeared in The Junkies, an Internet sitcom. In 2002, the critically acclaimed Look Around You, a series of 10-minute 1970s school science video spoofs, debuted on BBC Two in which he played a scientist. He co-wrote the show with Robert Popper, whom he met on the set of Spaced. The show returned in 2005 as a spoof of the 1980s show Tomorrow's World, with Serafinowicz playing Peter Packard, one of the presenters.

In 2003, he appeared in another sitcom written by Nye, Hardware, in which he played the affable Kenny. He reprised this role in the second series in 2004. Also in 2004 he appeared in British romantic zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead, playing Pete, the uptight flatmate of principal characters Shaun and Ed. He appeared in boxing film The Calcium Kid.

In Sixty Six, the 2006 British film about a Jewish boy whose bar mitzvah is scheduled for the same day as the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final, Serafinowicz plays Uncle Jimmy. In the week before the 2006 Academy Awards a video circulated on the Internet of a fake news item (called "O! News", a parody of E! News) about a new Oscar statue, in which Serafinowicz imitated Alan Alda, Paul McCartney and Al Pacino.

A second "O! News" video later appeared, parodying the 2006 Apple Corps v. Apple Computer lawsuit. This attracted the interest of the BBC, and a pilot was commissioned for The Peter Serafinowicz Show. A full series was broadcast on BBC Two in 2007 (with a Christmas special in 2008). For his performance, Serafinowicz was presented with the Best Entertainer prize at the 2008 Rose d'Or ceremony.[8] The series was also nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the 2009 BAFTA Television Awards.[9]

Serafinowicz made guest appearances on television, including the comedy shows Smack the Pony and Hippies (both 1999), Black Books (2000), I'm Alan Partridge (2002) and Little Britain (2003), comedy-drama Murder Most Horrid (1999), ITV drama series Agatha Christie's Marple (2006) and Parks and Recreation (2013).

He made a number of guest appearances on both television and radio panel shows. He regularly appeared on The 99p Challenge and appeared on Have I Got News for You in 2005, 2006 and 2008, 8 Out of 10 Cats in 2005, and QI in 2003. He also appeared on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 19 October 2007, Would I Lie to You? on 8 August 2008 and 30 July 2010 and Never Mind the Buzzcocks on 15 October 2009.

In 2008, Serafinowicz was working with Robert Popper on a new television series and website, based on a spoof religion "Tarvuism" for US network Adult Swim.[10] In 2009, he appeared in Universal Films' Couples Retreat as Sctanley, the manager of the Eden Resort, directed by Peter Billingsley.

In 2010, Serafinowicz directed the music video for Hot Chip's song "I Feel Better", their second single from the album One Life Stand. He followed this up in 2012 when he directed the music video for the band's song "Night & Day", the first single from their album In Our Heads.

In 2010, he co-starred with Will Arnett in the FOX sitcom Running Wilde, devised by Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz. It premiered on Fox on 21 September 2010,[11] but was cancelled by the network after 13 episodes.

In June 2013, Serafinowicz provided the English language audiobook recording for the Roald Dahl novel Danny, the Champion of the World.[12] In July 2013, he made his film directing debut with the dark comedy film I See What You Did There,[13] which he wrote, along with Danny Wallace.[14]

In 2014, it was announced that Serafinowicz would play the role of Crowley in the BBC Radio 4 adaption of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's novel Good Omens.[15]

That same year, he was featured in Guardians of the Galaxy; playing Garthan Saal, a Denarian ranking pilot of the Nova Corps. He appeared in Series 9 of Doctor Who as the voice of The Fisher King.[16]

Since the 2016 presidential campaign, Serafinowicz frequently posts a series of YouTube videos entitled "Sassy Trump", in which he redubs speeches from Donald Trump with a camp voice.[17] He has also created parodies dubbing Trump with a Cockney accent and a posh English accent.[18]

Due to Serafinowicz's impersonation of Paul McCartney, Matt Berry sang a duet with him on Berry's 2009 album Witchazel. The track in question was "Rain Came Down", where he was billed as "Paul Mcartney".[19]

He stars in the title role of Amazon's The Tick, the pilot for which premiered on 19 August 2016.[20] In 2020 Serafinowicz guest starred in the second season of TBS' Miracle Workers.

Personal life[edit]

Serafinowicz met actress Sarah Alexander sometime around 2002, while she was in a relationship with actor Gerald Harper.[21] She left Harper for Serafinowicz in 2002, and the two later married.[21] They live in West London, and have a son and a daughter.[22]

In October 2007, Serafinowicz dropped his attempt to use the Human Rights Act against the national newspapers; he had sought to prevent the publication of details revealing that his grandfather, Szymon Serafinowicz, was a Nazi who became the first man in the UK to be tried under the War Crimes Act.[23] Szymon was charged with direct involvement in three murders and personal involvement in the destruction of the Jewish populations of Mir and Minsk, but found unfit for trial on grounds of dementia in 1997 and died later that year at the age of 86.[4]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Darth Maul (voice) Also provided the uncredited voices of Battle Droid commander and Gungan scout
2001 Calcium Scientist Short film
Writer, producer
2003 Hello Friend Email Voice-Over (voice) Short film
2004 Shaun of the Dead Pete
The Calcium Kid Dave King
2005 Ripley Under Ground Nigel
2006 Sixty Six Uncle Jimmy / Mr. Reubens Sr. / Football Commentator
2007 Grindhouse Screaming Man Fake Don't trailer
2007 Run Fatboy Run Sports Commentator
2008 Tales of the Riverbank Various Characters (voice)
2009 Couples Retreat Sctanley
2010 The Best and the Brightest Clark
2011 Killing Bono Hammond
2013 Underdogs Loco (voice)
The World's End Knock-a-Door Run Home Owner Uncredited
2014 SOS: Save Our Skins Andrew (voice)
Food Club Narrator (voice) Short film
Pudsey the Dog: The Movie Edward the Horse (voice)
Muppets Most Wanted Gulag Guard Uncredited
Guardians of the Galaxy Denarian Garthan Saal
2015 Spy Aldo
2016 Sing Big Daddy (voice)
2017 John Wick: Chapter 2 The Sommelier
Going in Style Murphy
An Ordinary Man Miro
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story Darth Maul (voice) Lines redubbed by Sam Witwer[24]
2019 Last Christmas Theatre Producer
TBA The Bubble Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Spitting Image Jacques Chirac (voice) 6 episodes
1998 Comedy Nation Various Characters
ITV Panto Second Henchman Episode: "Jack and the Beanstalk"
Europigeon Terry Wogan (voice) Television film
Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round Narrator (voice) 6 episodes
1998–1999 How Do You Want Me? Dean Yardley 9 episodes
1999 The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns George Fitzpatrck Television film
Murder Most Horrid Tony Frost Episode: "Dinner at Tiffany's"
Smack the Pony 2 episodes
Sermon from St. Albion's Alastair Campbell 1 episode
Hippies Narrator / Robin 2 episodes
1999–2001 Spaced Duane Benzie 3 episodes
2000 Black Books Howell Granger Episode: "The Big Lock-Out"
The Junkies Big Al / Narrator Pilot
2001 World of Pub Garry / Various Characters 6 episodes
2002 I'm Alan Partridge Tex Episode: "Never Say Alan Again"
15 Storeys High 2 episodes
What a Cartoon! Butch (voice) 1 episode
2002–2005 Look Around You Scientist / Peter Packard Creator, writer, producer
2003 Little Britain Interviewer at Prime Minister's Questions Episode: "Biggest House of Cards"
2003–2004 Hardware Kenny 12 episodes
2006 Agatha Christie's Marple Walter Fane Episode: "Sleeping Murder"
The IT Crowd Newsreader / Lift / Voice-Over 3 episodes
2006–2015 South Park Various Characters (voice) Creative consultant
2007–2008 The Peter Serafinowicz Show Various Characters Creator, writer, producer
2009 Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle Narrator (voice) 6 episodes
2010 Whitechapel DCI Torbin Cazenove 3 episodes
‘’Driver Dan’s Story Train’’ Driver Dan (voice) 2 seasons 103 episodes
2010–2011 Running Wilde Fa'ad Shaoulian 13 episodes
2011 This is Jinsy Eric Dunt Episode: "Cupboards"
Funny or Die Presents Puppet (voice) Segment: "The Terrys"
2011–2013 Archer George Spelvin, Benoit, James Mason 3 episodes
NTSF:SD:SUV:: S.A.M. / Sagan 21 episodes
2012 The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Tito the Cycling Lawyer 1 episode
The Secret Policeman's Ball 2012 Paul McCartney Special
Watson & Oliver Various 2 episodes
Bad Sugar Rolph Cauldwell Pilot
Childrens Hospital Michael Caine (voice) Episode: "British Hospital"
American Dad! Goran the Mutilator (voice) Episode: "Killer Vacation"
2013 It's Kevin Bill Grundy 1 episode
Fit Brian Butterfield 13 episodes
Playhouse Presents Roger Episode: "Hey Diddly Dee"
Father Figure Karl Episode: "Chin Chin"
Anatole's Island Narrator (voice) Television film
2013–2015 Axe Cop Various Characters (voice) 8 episodes
Parks and Recreation Edgar Covington 3 episodes
2014 Mr. Sloane Ross 6 episodes
The Britishes Lord British 4 episodes
Adventure Time Lumpy Space Prince (voice) Episode: "The Prince Who Wanted Everything"
Gravity Falls Blind Ivan (voice) Episode: "Society of the Blind Eye"
2015 Moonbeam City Nocturne von Groff (voice) Episode: "The Strike Visualizer Strikes Again"
Doctor Who Fisher King (voice) Episode: "Before the Flood"
Hunt the Truth Black Box 6 episodes
2015–2016 The Adventures of OG Sherlock Kush OG Sherlock Kush (voice) 20 episodes
TripTank Various Characters (voice) 5 episodes
2016–2019 The Tick The Tick Also producer
2017 At Home with Amy Sedaris Turtleneck Man Episode: "Making Love"
Mickey and the Roadster Racers Agent Chauncey Chips / Dr. Waddleton Crutchley (voice) 2 episodes
People of Earth Eric the Cube (voice) 8 episodes
Rick and Morty Agency Director (voice) Episode: "Pickle Rick"
Neo Yokio Various Characters (voice) 6 episodes
2018 The Simpsons Corporate CEO (voice) Episode: "Krusty the Clown"
2019 Bob's Burgers Scottjohn Dansteve (voice) Episode: "Bed, Bob & Beyond"
His Dark Materials Iofur Raknison (voice) 2 episodes
2020 Miracle Workers King Cragnoor
Sassy Justice Fred Sassy (voice)

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Z: Steel Soldiers Lassar Voice
2003 Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior Space Marine Captain Ardius
2013 Lego City Undercover Forrest Blackwell / Cornelius Burns / Jethro Hayes
2014 Dark Souls II Mild-Mannered Pate
LittleBigPlanet 3 Dr. Maxim / El Jeff / Papal Mâché
2016 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided MacReady
2017 Lego Worlds Narrator Voice
Lego Dimensions Cornelius Burns / Forrest Blackwell / Jethro Hayes Voice
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 Kang the Conqueror

References[edit]

  1. ^ "In Conversation with Peter Serafinowicz at St. Georges Hall". SevenStreets. 17 March 2011. Archived from the original on 29 September 2020.
  2. ^ Raphael, Amy (14 October 2007). "A comedy giant in the making". The Observer.
  3. ^ Philby, Charlotte (30 August 2008). "My Secret Life: Peter Serafinowicz, Actor and comedian, age 36". The Independent. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "BBC star's grandfather faced Nazi war crimes trial". Evening Standard. London, UK. 20 October 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  5. ^ Molony, Julia (20 November 2017). "The mother of all comedies". Irish Independent. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b Jones, Catherine (25 March 2011). "Peter Serafinowicz on his Liverpool childhood and how he'd like to play all four Beatles in an animation". Liverpool Echo.
  7. ^ "Exclusive Interview – Peter Serafinowicz". HeyUGuys.com. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Rose d'Or Winners 2008" (PDF). Rose d'Or AG. 6 May 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  9. ^ "Television Awards Nominations in 2009". BAFTA. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  10. ^ "Say 'Hebbo' to Tarvuism!". Chortle. 14 October 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (11 July 2010). "Peter Serafinowicz Joins 'Running Wilde'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  12. ^ "Danny, the Champion of the World". Penguin Books. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  13. ^ Anderton, Ethan (15 July 2013). "Peter Serafinowicz Moves to Directing with 'I See What You Did There'". Firstshowing.net. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  14. ^ White, James (16 July 2013). "Peter Serafinowicz Directing I See What You Did There". Empire Online. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  15. ^ Brown, Brigid (5 September 2014). "BBC Radio Brings Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens to Life". BBC America. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  16. ^ McEwan, Cameron K. (26 September 2015). "Peter Serafinowicz joins Doctor Who – more Star Wars actors who have done the same". Metro. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  17. ^ Flint, Hanna (14 August 2016). "Sassy Trump is the internet's favourite version of Donald". Metro. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Peter Serafinowicz has dubbed a Donald Trump speech with a cockney accent and it's hilarious". The Poke. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  19. ^ Berry, Matt (2011). Witchazel (Liner notes). UK: Acid Jazz Records. AJXCD251.
  20. ^ Goldman, Eric (18 August 2016). "The Tick: 'Pilot' Review". IGN. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  21. ^ a b Scott, Peter (6 August 2002). "New Man For Coupling Star". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 31 May 2020 – via The Free Library.
  22. ^ "Mutual Friends: Sarah Alexander plays Liz". BBC Press Office (Press release). 13 August 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  23. ^ Luckhurst, Tim (2 September 2001). "Why won't Britain jail this war criminal?". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  24. ^ Collider Podcasts (1 April 2019). "Peter Serafinowicz Tells the Story of How He Was Cut Out as Darth Maul in Solo". Archived from the original on 14 April 2020 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]