Simon Farnaby

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Simon Farnaby
Simon Farnaby at the Children's BAFTAs, 27 November 2011.jpg
Farnaby at the 2011 Children's BAFTAs
Born (1973-04-02) 2 April 1973 (age 49)
OccupationActor, comedian, writer
Years active1994–present
Spouse(s)Claire Keelan

Simon Farnaby (born 2 April 1973) is an English actor, comedian and writer. He is a member of the British Horrible Histories troupe in which he starred in the TV series Horrible Histories, Yonderland and Ghosts. He has written and appeared in films such as Mindhorn and Paddington 2, and in the BBC sitcom Detectorists.

Early life[edit]

Farnaby was born on 2 April 1973 in Darlington, County Durham[1] and attended Richmond School, North Yorkshire.


Farnaby is a long-time member of The Mighty Boosh supporting cast, having had roles both in their series and co-starring in the quasi-spinoff film Bunny and the Bull. He is also well known for his similarly offbeat characters in the CBBC live-action series of Horrible Histories, such as Caligula and the Grim Reaper. Other notable television work includes a recurring role on the sitcom Jam & Jerusalem and co-starring as eccentric neighbour Sloman on The Midnight Beast's TV series. He previously had a very brief role in Coronation Street in the 1990s.

Along with journalist Scott Murray, Farnaby co-wrote The Phantom of the Open, a biography of Maurice Flitcroft, a would-be professional golfer whose unsuccessful attempts to qualify for the Open Championship led to his being described as "the world's worst golfer". The book was published in 2010.[2]

Along with the five other principal members of the cast of Horrible Histories, Farnaby is also the co-creator, writer and star of Yonderland, an eight-part family fantasy comedy series that premiered on Sky One on 10 November 2013. The show ended in 2016, with three series and a Christmas special.[3] He co-starred with the same troupe in Bill, a 2015 BBC comedy film based loosely around the early life of William Shakespeare.[4][5]

In 2013, Farnaby presented a documentary entitled Richard III: The King in the Car Park, tracing the discovery and identification of the remains of the last Plantagenet king. The next year, Farnaby presented another Channel 4 documentary series entitled Man Vs Weird, in which he travelled the world investigating people who claim superhuman abilities.

In mid-2014, Farnaby narrated a series on Channel 5 called On the Yorkshire Buses, following East Yorkshire Motor Services.[6]

L-R: Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Mathew Baynton, Laurence Rickard, Ben Willbond and Jim Howick at the 2011 Children's BAFTAs.

In 2016, Farnaby co-wrote Mindhorn with Julian Barratt, a comedy about Richard Thorncroft (Barratt), a faded television actor drawn into negotiations with a criminal who believes his character Detective Mindhorn is real. Farnaby also has a small acting role as Clive Parnevik.

In December 2016, Farnaby had a small role in Rogue One, as an X-Wing pilot.

In February 2017 Farnaby stated that he was working on a film script based on his biography of Maurice Flitcroft.[2]

In 2017, Farnaby co-wrote Paddington 2 with Paul King. Farnaby had a small role in both the first film and its sequel.

In 2020, Farnaby wrote The Wizard In My Shed.

In 2021, Farnaby and King were reported to have to signed on to co-write, with King directing, Wonka, a prequel based on the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Personal life[edit]

Farnaby is married to actress Claire Keelan (his second wife) with whom he has a daughter, Eve, born in 2014.[7]



Year Title Role Notes
2004 Fat Slags Ventriloquist
Blake's Junction 7 Terry Short film
2009 Bunny and the Bull Bunny
2010 Burke & Hare William Wordsworth
2011 Your Highness Manious the Bold
2013 All Stars Foreman
2014 Paddington Barry
2015 Bill Various
2016 Mindhorn Clive Parnevik Also writer
Rogue One X-wing pilot Farns Monsbee
2017 Paddington 2 Barry Also writer
2018 Christopher Robin Taxi Driver
2021 The Phantom of the Open Writer
2023 Wonka Also writer


Year Title Role Notes
1994 The House of Windsor Sean Sutcliffe 1 episode
1996 Coronation Street Greg Bamfield 1 episode
2004–2007 The Mighty Boosh Various characters 3 episodes
2005 The Lenny Henry Show Twyford 1 episode
Spoons Various Characters 6 episodes
2006 Blunder 6 episodes
2006–2009 Jam & Jerusalem Samuel "Spike" Pike 12 episodes
2007 Comedy Cuts Werewolf 1 episode
The Yellow House Henri TV movie
Strutter Various 2 episodes
2008 M.I. High James Blond 1 episode
The Golf War Stuart Ogilvy Failed pilot
Angelo's Kris 6 episodes
LifeSpam: My Child is French Various Failed pilot
2009–2013 Horrible Histories Various characters 65 episodes
2010 The Persuasionists Keaton 6 episodes
Comedy Lab Old Man 1 episode
2011 Dick and Dom's Funny Business Various characters 1 episode
Horrible Histories' Big Prom Party Various characters One-off special
2012 Dave Shakespeare Dave Shakespeare Failed pilot
2012–present The Midnight Beast Sloman 10 episodes
2013 Utopia Marcus 1 episode
2013 Not Going Out Scott 1 episode
Richard III: The King in the Car Park Presenter Documentary
Richard III: The Unseen Story Narrator Documentary
2013–2016 Yonderland Various characters 25 episodes
2013 Crackanory Robert Pickle 1 episode
2014 Man Vs Weird Himself 3 episodes
On the Yorkshire Buses Narrator 8 episodes
Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy George Orwell 1 episode
2014–2015 Detectorists Art 7 episodes
2015 House of Fools Health Inspector 1 episode
Horrible Histories Various characters 12 episodes
Top Coppers Dr Schäfer 2 episodes
2017 Quacks Dr Flowers 1 episode
2019–present This Time with Alan Partridge Sam Chatwin 3 episodes
2019–present Ghosts Julian Fawcett MP Also co-creator
2021–present Britbox advert Narrator 2 adverts


  1. ^ Simon Farnaby at IMDb
  2. ^ a b Richardson, Jay (24 February 2017). "The world's worst golfer, coming to cinemas". Chortle. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Sky1 to visit Yonderland". Sky1 website. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Stars of Horrible Histories to make Shakespeare film". BBC Media Centre. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Bill: production details". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  6. ^ "On The Yorkshire Buses". Ear ache voices. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  7. ^ Bennion, Chris (17 September 2020). "Simon Farnaby interview: 'Doing another Paddington film was just too much to bear'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2021.

External links[edit]