Tom O'Connor (comedian)

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Tom O'Connor
Birth nameThomas Patrick O'Connor
Born (1939-10-31) 31 October 1939 (age 79)
Bootle, Lancashire, England
Years active1970–present
Notable works and rolesStar of The Comedians and Crosswits on ITV

Thomas Patrick O'Connor (born 31 October 1939 in Bootle, Merseyside) is a retired British comedian, TV presenter and actor. He is best known for presenting game shows such as Crosswits, Pick Pockets, The Zodiac Game, Name That Tune, Password and Gambit.

Early life[edit]

Tom O'Connor attended St Mary's College, Crosby[1] and Saint Mary's College, Twickenham.[2] He became a mathematics and music teacher at the St Joan of Arc School, Bootle.[3] After work he appeared as a comedian in working men's clubs.

Television career[edit]

His television break came when he appeared on The Comedians.[4] During the 1970s and 1980s he was one of the most popular faces on British TV. He was a subject of the television programme This Is Your Life in 1977 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.

He continued to host many shows including Name that Tune, Wednesday at 8, Tom O'Connor Show, Gambit, Crosswits, and many more including the Tom O'Connor Road Show for the BBC.[5] This show ran daily at lunch times and was watched by over 12 million viewers each day, but was a very expensive show to mount as it came live from a different town each week, requiring the production team to move weekly. The show had several young producers who were overseen by executive producer Steve Weddel, and came out of the now defunct BBC Pebble Mill Studios. The script was written by O'Connor and writer Barry Faulkner, who had worked with O'Connor on his previous shows, with up-to-the-minute changes being made just before broadcast. In 1988, though, this former teacher and devout, married Catholic was reported to have fallen in love with an 18-year-old prostitute. Within a year, he'd lost all but one of his shows, Cross Wits.[6]

In 2000 O'Connor made his television acting debut as Father Tom (a Catholic priest) in the BBC series Doctors.[7] On 24 February 2006 he was given an award for having appeared as a guest on the TV programme Countdown 100 times.[8] O'Connor won Celebrity Come Dine with Me, scoring a record breaking 29/30, on 14 March 2010.[9]

In 2011, O'Connor appeared on a celebrity edition of the BBC One gameshow Pointless with his daughter-in-law Denise Lewis (the gold medal winning Olympic heptathlete). They reached the final, eventually winning £500 for charity.[10]

Stage career[edit]

His stage acting debut was as Pike in The Perils of the Pond at the Playhouse, Weston-super-Mare in 1991.[4] O'Connor has also done summer stock theatre, cabaret tours and pantomimes.


  • Tom O'Connor's Book of Liverpool Humour (1987)
  • Tom O'Connor's Book of the World's Worst Jokes (Pestalozzi Children's Village Trust, 1991)
  • From the Wood to the Tees: An Amusing Golf Companion (Robson, 1992)
  • One Flew Over the Clubhouse (Robson, 1993)
  • Take a Funny Turn (Robson, 1994)
  • Follow Me, I'm Right Behind You! (Robson, 1995)
  • Eat Like a Horse, Drink Like a Fish (Robson, 1996).
  • Fit to Travel (Acer Designs, 2004)
  • Where You Find It (Acer Designs, 2005)
  • Is There Anything in that Empty Box? (Acer Designs, 2005)
  • I Remember: the Collected Thoughts of Tom O’Connor (Acer Designs, 2008)


  1. ^ "Friends of St Mary's College". St Marys College.
  2. ^ "News from St Mary's".
  3. ^ "Tom O'Connor – Norwichartistes".
  4. ^ a b "Tom O'Connor". Prime Performers.
  5. ^ Bonner, Neil (12 April 2014). "Whatever happened to Name That Tune's Tom O'Connor?".
  6. ^ "Old comics never die". The Independent. 27 August 2006.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "O'Connor back on song". 9 June 2009.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Tropic of Cancer, BBC One, Celebrity Come Dine with Me, review".
  10. ^ "Series 1, Pointless Celebrities – BBC One". BBC.

"Tom O'Connor." People of Today. Debrett's Ltd., 2007. Biography in Context. Web. Retrieved 2014-5-22

External links[edit]