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Tom Allen (comedian)

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Tom Allen
Thomas Paul Allen

1982 or 1983[1]
Bromley, Greater London, England
EducationNational Youth Theatre
Occupation(s)Comedian, actor, writer and presenter
Years active2005–present
Known for

Thomas Paul Allen (born 1982 or 1983)[1] is an English comedian, actor, writer and presenter. In 2005, he won the So You Think You're Funny contest[2] at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Early life and education


Allen attended Coopers School in Chislehurst.[3] He trained with the National Youth Theatre,[4] performing with the company in London and Manchester, in addition to working on outreach projects, films and also forming part of their Company Management Team.



In 2005, at the age of 22, Allen won the UK comedy newcomer award, So You Think You're Funny. The same year, he won the BBC New Comedy Award.[5][6] In 2016, he supported Sarah Millican on her sold-out tour of Australia, New Zealand and the UK. He has also supported Josh Widdicombe, Romesh Ranganathan and Michael McIntyre.[7]

After a sell-out run of his show Indeed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2016, he returned to The Pleasance in Edinburgh the following year with his show Absolutely. Allen subsequently embarked on his first solo tour around the UK in September 2017, and extended the tour into 2018, including two London runs at the Soho Theatre.

Film and television


Allen's film work includes Colour Me Kubrick with John Malkovich, Starter for Ten with James McAvoy and Mark Gatiss and Tamara Drewe.[4]

For the BBC, he has appeared in the series Sensitive Skin and The Cut, as well as biopics of Fanny Cradock (Fear of Fanny) and Frankie Howerd (Rather You Than Me). In 2008, Allen made his own documentary about identity for E4, titled Who Is Tom Allen?.[8] In 2009, Allen appeared on Channel 4's weekly TNT Show, writing and presenting Dictionary Corner. He also appeared on Law of the Playground for the same broadcaster. In August 2015 and March 2016, Allen appeared on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown as a Dictionary Corner guest. In October 2016, he appeared as a guest on BBC2's The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice, and in January 2017, he made his debut on Live at the Apollo in an episode hosted by Sarah Millican. The following month, he appeared as a panellist on the CBBC show The Dog Ate My Homework. In July 2017, he appeared on a celebrity special version of gameshow The Crystal Maze[9] and – an hour later the same night – on Mock the Week.[10]

He has also appeared on Big Brother's Big Mouth and Big Brother's Little Brother.

In 2018, Allen appeared on the BBC One comedy quiz show Ready or Not. He hosted Bake Off: The Professionals with former contestant from The Great British Bake Off Liam Charles, but left before season 5 where he was replaced by Stacey Solomon.[11] He joined the 2018 series of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice as a regular contributor.

In 2019, it was announced that he would become the new host from Series 15 of The Apprentice: You're Fired!, taking over from Rhod Gilbert.[12] Allen also appeared in an episode of Josh Widdicombe's show Hypothetical.

Allen competed on Richard Osman's House of Games in 2020,[13] alongside Chizzy Akudolu, Charlie Higson, and Kate Williams.[14] He also made two appearances on QI in the same year, and appeared again on Hypothetical.

In December 2020, Allen co hosted The Great Christmas Bake Off alongside Matt Lucas as a replacement for Noel Fielding due to his paternity leave following the birth of his second child.[15]

On 20 February 2021, Allen appeared as a contestant on the ITV game show Celebrity Catchphrase.[16] On 11 April 2021, Allen appeared as a contestant on the ITV quiz show Tipping Point.[citation needed]

Also in 2021, Allen presented Tom Allen's Quizness for Channel 4 (a five-part series, first shown on 14 May 2021)[17][18] and was signed up to present ITV/Marks & Spencer's Cooking with the Stars, a competitive cookery show which aired its first episode on Tuesday 13 July.[19][20][21]

In late 2021, Allen was signed up to be the host of the first National Comedy Awards, a new annual awards ceremony which Channel 4 hopes will be the successor to the British Comedy Awards. Allen was going to present the awards at the London Roundhouse[22] on 15 December 2021 (with a Channel 4 transmission date of 17 December 2021), but the first ceremony was postponed by the channel a week before it was due to be staged, due to the concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19.[23][24] On 8 December 2021, Channel 4 said that event will be rescheduled for another time, though they did not give an indication to what date it would be or whether Allen would still be the host.[24][25]

In 2023, it was announced that Allen would be involved in the BBC's programming around the 10th anniversary of same-sex marriage in Great Britain[26] Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen was first shown on BBC One on 27 March 2024.[27]



Allen has co-written and recorded two series of The Correspondent for BBC Radio 4. In 2009, he made guest appearances on Loose Ends and The Richard Bacon Show.

He took the lead role of young Pip Bin in the BBC Radio 4 comedy Bleak Expectations, which has so far run to five series (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012), co-starring with Anthony Stewart Head and Richard Johnson.[28]

In 2008, he recorded a radio adaptation of The Wooden Overcoat with Julia Davis and David Tennant, written by Mark Gatiss.

Allen has also guested as a panellist on BBC Radio 4's Just a Minute, in August 2015 and February 2017.[29] He was also a guest presenter on the 9th episode of the 86th series broadcast in April 2021.[30]

In 2018, as part of a series of comedy stand-up specials on BBC Radio 4, a programme titled Tom Allen Is Actually Not Very Nice was broadcast on 22 April.[31][32] The show was then extended to a series with four episodes broadcast in December 2019.[33]

In 2024, Allen joined Virgin Radio UK and presents Sunday afternoons 12:30 pm–4:00 pm.[34]

Audio dramas and podcast


Allen portrayed Oliver Harper, the travelling companion of the First Doctor and Steven Taylor during a limited three-story arc in the Big Finish Productions audio dramas based on the Doctor Who series, released in 2011. His character is a city trader from 1966, who joined the First Doctor and Taylor in the audio plays The Perpetual Bond, The Cold Equations and The First Wave. Harper was the first ongoing companion created for the Companion Chronicles range.

Since October 2015, Allen has co-hosted the podcast Like Minded Friends with comedian Suzi Ruffell.[35] He also guested on Ruffell's other podcast, Out with Suzi Ruffell.[36]



Allen has published two memoirs as of May 2023.

  • No Shame (2021) Hodder Studio. ISBN 978-1-5293-4894-1
  • Too Much (2022) Hodder Studio. ISBN 978-1-5293-9743-7

Awards and nominations


Personal life


Allen is gay[26][37] and has spoken of his difficulties growing up as "closeted, working-class kid in Bromley" and homophobic bullying at school,[37] saying "'Why do you talk about being gay all the time?' Well, it's because people wouldn't let me talk about it for the first half of my life!"[37] Allen lived with his parents until May 2021.[38] His father died on 1 December 2021, aged 80, of a sudden heart attack.[39][37]

He is close friends with comedian Rob Beckett. They have discussed their time at Coopers School and their friendship during appearances on 8 Out of 10 Cats, The Great British Bake Off, Sunday Brunch, and elsewhere. They have frequently promoted each other's work.


  1. ^ a b Rubenstein, Shelley (27 May 2024). "Tom Allen: 'I was in Grenada when my dad died — my whole life changed'". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 27 May 2024.
  2. ^ Trickett, Amanda (20 August 2008). "Tom Allen: A Voyage Round My Mother". Metro. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  3. ^ Maxwell, Dominic (19 December 2020). "Bake Off's Tom Allen: 'It's amazing that some of the bakers haven't smashed that cake in my face'". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  4. ^ a b Gilbey, Ryan (12 November 2020). "Bake Off Extra's Tom Allen: 'I wanted to be an actor – but it turned out I was just gay'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  5. ^ "22-year-old newcomer scoops this year's BBC Talent New Comedy Award". BBC - Press Office. 13 December 2005. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Tom takes BBC crown". Chortle. 13 December 2005. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  7. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (2 October 2019). "How old is You're Fired's new host Tom Allen and where have you seen the comedian before?". Metro. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  8. ^ Guide, British Comedy. "Who Is Tom Allen? – E4 Comedy – British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide.
  9. ^ The Crystal Maze: Celebrity Specials via 26 July 2017 snapshot at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Mock the Week – Series 16: Episode 6". BBC.
  11. ^ "Stacey Solomon has taken over from Tom Allen as Bake off: The Professionals presenter". 31 May 2022.
  12. ^ "The Apprentice: You're Fired replaces Rhod Gilbert as host". Digital Spy. 12 August 2019.
  13. ^ "BBC Two - Richard Osman's House of Games". BBC.
  14. ^ ""Richard Osman's House of Games" Episode #2.25 (TV Episode 2018)". IMDb. 29 June 2018.
  15. ^ "When are The Great British Bake Off Christmas and New Year specials on TV?". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  16. ^ "Catchphrase Celebrity Special Episode 8". Press Centre. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  17. ^ "Tom Allen's new Channel 4 show Quizness - rules explained". Radio Times.
  18. ^ "Tom Allen's Quizness - All 4". Channel 4.
  19. ^ "Celebrities and chefs confirmed for ITV's Cooking With The Stars". Press Centre.
  20. ^ "ITV commissions new entertainment series Cooking With The Stars". Press Centre.
  22. ^ "C4's new National Comedy Awards postponed". British Comedy Guide. 7 December 2021.
  23. ^ "About the show". National Comedy Awards.
  24. ^ a b "C4 Postpones National Comedy Awards Ceremony". 8 December 2021.
  25. ^ Bennett, Steve. "Omicron halts National Comedy Awards : News 2021 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". chortle.co.uk.
  26. ^ a b Christian-Sims, Ella (30 June 2023). "Tom Allen to celebrate equal marriage with new BBC special My Big Gay Wedding". Royal Television Society. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  27. ^ "Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  28. ^ "Bleak Expectations moves to telly". Chortle. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  29. ^ "Just a Minute – Available now – BBC Radio 4". BBC.
  30. ^ "Just a Minute – Available now – BBC Radio 4". BBC.
  31. ^ "BBC Radio 4 confirms 35 comedy commissions". British Comedy Guide. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  32. ^ "13 questions for Tom Allen". BBC - Funny in Four.
  33. ^ "Radio 4 reveals new comedy shows for 2019". Chortle. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  34. ^ "Tom Allen announced as new Virgin Radio weekend host". 2 January 2024.
  35. ^ "Like Minded Friends with Tom Allen & Suzi Ruffell on acast". acast. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  36. ^ "Out with Suzi Ruffell: S1 EP4: Tom Allen on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  37. ^ a b c d Brown, Helen. "Tom Allen: 'Why do I talk about being gay all the time? Because I wasn't allowed for half of my life!'". i.
  38. ^ Taylor, Jeremy (7 July 2021). "Tom Allen and his mum, Irene, on coming out and living at home until he was 37". The Sunday Times Magazine. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  39. ^ Bashforth, Emily (2 December 2021). "Comedian Tom Allen in 'total shock' as dad dies after heart attack, aged 80". Metro. Retrieved 30 December 2021.