|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2015)|
December 26, 1954 |
Lambeth,South London, England
The duo met at Clapham College and joined a theatre club in 1972. They wrote and starred in a show which parodied much of the other shows being held in London that year. Then they formed their own theatre company and wrote and toured productions around the UK for the rest of the 1970s. Steen and Sweeney appeared on television together for the first time in 1981 with the ITV children's show CBTV, followed by one of Channel 4's first comedies, Little Armadillos and a role for Steen in Ben Elton's comedy Happy Families.
Rory Bremner recruited them[when?] as resident support performers on his first sketch show for the BBC, and shortly afterwards they starred as poets Byron (Steen) and Coleridge (Sweeney) in an episode of Blackadder the Third.
Steen had a major roles in Sweeney's award winning play, Danny's Wake, which was subsequently adapted into a sitcom for Radio 4. Steen continued to play Billy throughout the two series. Steen played Liam in another radio play, Any Bloke. He also starred as flamboyant jazz singer and art critic George Melly in radio 4's autobiographical adaptation Owning Up. Along with Sweeney, Steen was soon summoned for the Channel 4 improvisation show, and was a runaway success in his six episodes. He also guested on Have I Got News for You in 1992 (without Sweeney). He has combined one-off acting roles on TV with taking improv tours and solo theatre shows playing Bill Bryson in three adaptations by Brighton based writer/director Paul Hodson plus a solo show as John Belushi written by the aforementioned Hodson. In 2005 Steen appeared at the National Theatre, London, as Dickens in Theatre of Blood with Jim Broadbent. A gore fest affair based on the 1970 film starring Vincent Price. Steen continues improvisation work with the Comedy Store Players, Paul Merton's Impro Chums and Stephen Frost's Impro All Stars.