Phill Jupitus

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Phill Jupitus
Phill Jupitus.jpg
Phill Jupitus in Edinburgh, 2006
Pseudonym Porky the Poet
Birth name Phillip Christopher Swan
Born (1962-06-25) 25 June 1962 (age 52)
Newport, Isle of Wight, England
Influences Steve Martin
Website Official website

Phillip Christopher Jupitus (/ˈpɪtəs/; born 25 June 1962) is an English stand-up and improv comedian, actor, performance poet, cartoonist and podcaster.

Jupitus has been a team captain on BBC Two's popular music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks since its inception in 1996 and also appears regularly as a guest on several other panel shows, including QI and BBC Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.

Early life[edit]

Born Phillip Swan in Newport on the Isle of Wight, he took his stepfather Alexander's surname, Jupitus, when he was 16.[1] The shortening of his first name to 'Phill' arose due to his mother's reminders that the name 'Phillip' is spelt with two Ls, something he carried over to the shorter form.

'Jupitus' is an anglicised version of the original surname Šeputis (pronounced [ʃəputis]) ascribed to the Jupitus family by an immigration officer when they emigrated to Britain from Lithuania in 1917.

Jupitus attended Northbury Infants and Junior schools in Barking and later attended Woolverstone Hall School near Ipswich as a boarder on a scholarship.

He took eight O-Level exams, passing four, and enrolled at a technical college briefly to study at A-Level.

After dropping out of college, he became a civil servant for the then Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) (now the Department for Work and Pensions) working in a Jobcentre.

He now lives with his wife and daughters in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.[2]

Jupitus discussed his arachnophobia with the writer and broadcaster Suzy Klein on the BBC Radio 4 programme I'm Suzy, and I'm a Phobic, which was broadcast in January 2013.[3]

Career[edit]

During his five years at the DHSS, Jupitus began writing political poetry and drawing cartoons in distracted moments. He quit his employment there in 1984, hopeful of a career move into the music industry.

Using the moniker Porky the Poet, he became associated with Anti-Fascist Action and the ranting poetry scene alongside fellow acts Kool Knotes, Swift Nick and Attila the Stockbroker and approached local bands to offer himself as a support act for their tours:

I thought it looked easy, I was very cheap. If you got another band to support you, there are probably four of them and roadies and managers. But me — I just turned up and read poems.

— Phill Jupitus, [4]

Both Mark Lamarr and Sean Hughes, with whom he appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, also started their careers as performance poets. Jupitus toured the student scene of colleges, universities and student unions supporting bands such as Billy Bragg, the Style Council and the Housemartins.

He supported Billy Bragg once more on the Labour Party sponsored Red Wedge tour in 1985: "In the early '80s, I got involved with Red Wedge, in which Neil Kinnock got various bands to stage concerts for Labour. The reason I got involved was 20% because I believed in the cause, 30% because I loved Billy Bragg, and 50% because I wanted to meet Paul Weller".[5]

After Red Wedge, he found it difficult to get other bookings due to the decline of political poetry as a mainstream art. He joined indie record label Go! Discs as a runner, which had signed Billy Bragg and other bands, such as the Housemartins.

Bragg has since said: "We ended up managing to get him a job at Go! Discs, which was brilliant. I was concerned that the cut-throat nature of the record business would make him jaded — underneath that rhino exterior there is quite a sensitive person — but that was before I realised that he was going to come back and do gigs again. Working at Go! Discs got his confidence up."[6]

His performances of two of his poems, "Beano" and "Nobby", were included in the 1986 album Not Just Mandela (released on Davy Lamp Records, with all proceeds going to the Anti-Apartheid Movement) alongside tracks by Billy Bragg and Attila the Stockbroker amongst others.[7]

Jupitus became press officer and compere for the Housemartins (appearing in the music video for "Happy Hour" in 1986), using the role to continue being in front of an audience, whilst also taking support slots for other artists. During this time he worked as a warm-up act on the Channel 4 TV show The Show. He quit working for Go! in 1989 and fell back on his poetry and compering to try and gain a foothold on the London comedy circuit.

He conceived and directed the Brit-nominated video for Billy Bragg's track "Sexuality" in 1991 and wrote a parody version about bestiality. He also made an appearance alongside R.E.M. in Bragg's "You Woke Up My Neighbourhood" video and on Searchlight magazine's 2006 "Hope Not Hate" campaign tour with Bragg, singing the parody.[citation needed] He has also appeared numerous times at the Glastonbury Festival acting as DJ and compere in the Left Field tent.

Jupitus also produced the music video for Kirsty MacColl's 1991 single release "All I Ever Wanted" from the album Electric Landlady.[8] He appeared at her tribute concert in 2002 as compere and also sang "Fifteen Minutes", one of her songs.[9]

He began hosting his own show on BBC GLR in 1995, a regular job that would last until 2000. After which he embarked on his first stand-up tour of the UK, Jedi, Steady, Go, performing the Star Wars story in a comedic fashion.[10]

Jupitus performed at the Reading and Leeds festivals in 2008. In October 2009, he joined the West End cast of Hairspray, playing the role of Edna Turnblad at the Shaftesbury Theatre.[11] He joined the 2011 tour of Spamalot, playing the role of King Arthur.[12]

Jupitus was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Essex in South Essex College's congregation ceremony in Southend on 30 September 2010 in recognition of his achievements.[2]

Jupitus attended the "I Do To Equal Marriage" event which celebrated the introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales in March 2014.[13]

Television[edit]

Jupitus was one of the panellists on the first TV episode of the show Loose Talk, which made a brief transition to television in 1994. His break came in 1996 when he joined BBC Two's pop quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks as a regular team captain - having appeared in every single episode, except for series 25, episode 6. He also frequently appears on QI as a guest panellist; during the vodcast for one 2007 episode, he provided a Dalek impersonation and also has a history of mimicking the host of QI, Stephen Fry, while on the show.

In December 1999, he had the lead role in Dark Ages, an ITV sitcom parodying preparations (and fears) for the year 2000 in the setting of Essex 999 AD.

Since its first series in the summer of 2013, Jupitus has played Councillor Cowdrey in CITV children's series Bottom Knocker Street.[14]

Other works[edit]

Phill Jupitus at the 2009 Glastonbury Festival.

Phill Jupitus' first vinyl recordings were part of the live Newtown Neurotics album Kickstarting a Backfiring Nation as Porky the Poet in 1987.

He was the breakfast DJ on BBC Radio 6 Music from 2002 until 30 March 2007 (the last song played, by listener request, was "Broadway" by the Clash), and made brief returns to the station during the summer of 2007, sitting in for Stephen Merchant on Sunday afternoon and Liz Kershaw on Saturday mornings. In 2010 he publicly criticised the BBC's announcement that it was to discontinue the station, describing the decision as "not only an act of cultural vandalism, it's also an affront to the memory of John Peel and a slap in the face to thousands of licence-payers."[15] Jupitus has since written a book about his time on 6 Music, entitled Good Morning Nantwich: Adventures in Breakfast Radio.[16] In February 2010, as part of his research for the book, Jupitus presented the breakfast show for one week on Bournemouth University student radio station, Nerve* Radio, produced by Mog McIntyre and co-presented by regular student presenters 'Guy Larsen & Jess Bracey'.[17] He subsequently revisits the university as an occasional guest lecturer.

Away from his comedy and DJ work, Jupitus has also worked on Radio 4 as a regular contributor to Loose Ends, The News Quiz (where his performances are notable for a range of parody voices), I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and Just a Minute. He also presented Best Sellers — a series on the life and work of Peter Sellers — and wrote and presented Disneyfied, a documentary on the work of Walt Disney.

Jupitus has presented several editions of the popular Top Ten series for Channel 4, while also joining another comedy panel game — It's Only TV But I Like It — as a team captain, alongside Jonathan Ross and Julian Clary.

He has made one appearance in an episode of Holby City as a patient (in "Men are from Mars"). As a voice actor he has provided the voices for Dandelion in an ITV adaptation of Watership Down and also performing a selection of voices for Rex the Runt by Aardman Animations.

He appeared as a sports journalist in the film Mike Bassett: England Manager.

Jupitus made a guest appearance on the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band 40th anniversary DVD performing with the band on the track "Mr. Apollo" and has toured with them around the UK. He appears on the Bonzos' 2007 album, Pour l'Amour des Chiens.

He performed with the Blockheads on their 30th anniversary tour in 2007 and has done so sporadically since Ian Dury's death, also appearing in Dury's place for "Drip Fed Fred" during the Madness concert at Wembley Arena shortly before Dury's death.

He co-wrote and starred in the play Waiting for Alice with Andre Vincent which had a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The world premiere took place on 16 July 2007 at the St. Ives Theatre in St Ives, Cornwall.

Jupitus is also a continuity announcer for the UKTV channel Dave during the channel's evening schedule. During 2008 he did the voice over work for the Dave show Batteries Not Included. He also took part in the Dave show Comedy Exchange, where he went to America, while Eugene Mirman came to Britain. Here they each performed different routines in various events. He has appeared in Argumental for the same channel, where team captain Marcus Brigstocke made him laugh so hard he fell off his chair and took a long time to recover. Jupitus and Brigstocke were reunited on the Radio 4 show (hosted by Brigstocke) I've Never Seen Star Wars, in which Jupitus tried out things that he'd never attempted before, such as eating a Findus Crispy Pancake, undergoing a colonic irrigation, and shaving another person's head. They appeared together again in the UK tour of Totally Looped, performing at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, the King's Theatre, Southsea, Portsmouth and the Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent in spring 2009.

Jupitus has also twice appeared on the Radio 4 show The Unbelievable Truth and is a regular guest with the Comedy Store Players.

Since August 2008 he has become the new host of The Times football podcast "The Game", replacing the previous co-hosts Gabriele Marcotti and Guillem Balague, although Marcotti will still be the regular pundit on the show.

Between September 2008 and June 2011 Jupitus produced a podcast along with Phil Wilding, who produced his BBC 6Music show, called Phill and Phil's Perfect Ten. Initially being released fortnightly it later became more sporadic due to the pair's work commitments. In April 2009, archive episodes were made available for purchase on audible and iTunes as audiobook bundles of four with bonus 'perfect ones' attached. Since ending the podcast in June 2011 the pair have indicated that all back-episodes will be released free at some point in the future.

In December 2008 Jupitus took part as a guest presenter on RTE's comical topical discussion show The Panel.[18]

In 2002, Phill Jupitus was a stand-in presenter on BBC Radio 2 for Steve Wright while he was away on holiday.

During the 2008 Major League Baseball season, Jupitus presented a feature during the seventh inning stretch of Channel Five's featured Sunday night game. Each week he would read a section or quote from one of his favourite baseball-related books. He is a fan of the Boston Red Sox and has their logo tattooed on his arm.

On 13–14 February 2009 Jupitus co-hosted the first BadMovieClub[19] on Twitter. At midnight exactly, over 2,000 Twitter users simultaneously pressed 'Play' on the film The Happening and continued to 'tweet' whilst watching, creating a collective viewing experience that generated 40,000 'tweets' in under two hours. The first showing took place at 9:00pm, hosted by Graham Linehan.

On 9 September 2009 Jupitus narrated a half-hour documentary on BBC Radio 4 about the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes created by Bill Watterson.[20]

On 6 October 2010 Phill (along with Emma Kennedy) hosted a special comedy evening at the Canterbury Animation Festival 'Anifest'.[21] He will be returning to Anifest 2011[22] on 1 October 2011.

Stand-up DVDs[edit]

  • Live - Quadrophobia (20 November 2000)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Phill Jupitus: You ask the questions". London: The Independent. 13 March 2002. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Phill Jupitus to receive honorary degree"
  3. ^ BBC Radio 4, 2 January 2013, I'm Suzy, and I'm a Phobic by Suzy Klein
  4. ^ Giving It Large standupcom Magazine Chris Wilson 1999
  5. ^ Home Entertainment - Phill Jupitus The Guardian 1 December 2000
  6. ^ How we met - Billy Bragg & Phill Jupitus The Independent on Sunday Tony Naylor 18 April 2004
  7. ^ [1]Not Just Mandela accessed 25 May 2009
  8. ^ Connections - J is for.. kirstymaccoll.com accessed 19 November 2006
  9. ^ The whole story from Kirsty's tribute. kirstymaccoll.com 23 September 2002
  10. ^ Who is Phill Jupitus uktv.co.uk accessed 19 November 2006
  11. ^ Photo Flash Belinda Carlisle and Phill Jupitus are west end Hairspray Bound
  12. ^ Phill Jupitus Announced to Play Arthur In 2011 SPAMALOT Tour
  13. ^ "Thousands help comedian Sandi Toksvig renew vows after introduction of gay marriage". Herald Scotland. 29 March 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  14. ^ http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/bottom_knocker_street/
  15. ^ Jupitus, Phill (26 February 2010). "Killing BBC 6 Music would be a slap in the face to licence-payers". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  16. ^ The Guardian: Phill Jupitus interview
  17. ^ Guy joins Phill Jupitus for breakfast, Echo, 23 February 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  18. ^ http://www.rte.ie/tv/thepanel/host.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  19. ^ BadMovieClub website
  20. ^ Jupitus, Phill (22 September 2009). "Calvin and Hobbes". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  21. ^ Anifest website
  22. ^ Jupitus, Phill (12 September 2011). "Canterbury Anifest". Animate & Create. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 

External links[edit]