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David Walliams

David Walliams (born David Williams, August 20, 1971) is an English comedian and actor, best known for his partnership with Matt Lucas in the sketch show Little Britain and the spoof interview series Rock Profile.

Biography

Born in Surrey to father Peter Williams-- a London Transport engineer -- and mother Kathleen Williams -- a lab technician, Walliams was raised in Banstead.

Both his parents appeared on The Friday Night Project when their son David was the guest star on the new show. Walliams was educated at Collingwood Primary School and Reigate Grammar School (at the latter he was a contemporary of Robert Shearman). He was a member of the National Youth Theatre, which is where he met Lucas. Walliams studied Drama at the University of Bristol, where he was in the 1989-92 cohort - one year below Simon Pegg.

Walliams changed his name when he joined the actor's trade union, Equity, because there was already a member named David Williams. This was spoofed in a mock interview in Rock Profile, when Robbie Williams is always referred to as 'Robbie Walliams'.

Career

His first known TV appearance was as Lesley Luncheonmeat on Sky1's show Games World in 1993. He appeared alongside Alex Verrey, who played Big Boy Barry, every Tuesday evening. After that he went on to be "The Lift" on the first series of the CBBC gameshow Incredible Games in 1994.

Walliams starred in the video for Charlotte Hatherley single Bastardo along with Pegg, Lucy Davis and Lauren Laverne, along with Matt Lucas in the video of the Fat Les song Vindaloo (the unofficial anthem for the England national football team at the 1998 FIFA World Cup).

Together with The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss, he wrote and appeared in Doctor Who parodies The Pitch of Fear, The Web of Caves and The Kidnappers for BBC2's "Doctor Who Night" in 1999. He later performed in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio play Phantasmagoria, written by Gatiss.

In 2000 he played Jake Plaskow in the BBC's Attachments, set in an internet start-up company. He also appeared as Rats in the surreal comedy by Rob Grant The Strangerers, shown on Sky1.

His guest starring credits include: an episode of Black Books in which he complained about getting second-hand smoke from the main character, who waved him off saying, "Forget about it, you can buy me a drink sometime"; an episode of EastEnders in 2003; the second episode of Marple;and in a 1999 episode of Simon Pegg's Spaced (1x3 "Art") as Vulva, an artist/collaborator from Brian's past and now a self-proclaimed artist of impressionism.

Walliams and Rob Brydon collaborated on a sitcom called Home which has been in development since 2003 as a vehicle for them to star in with Ronnie Corbett.

In 2006, Walliams made an appearance in the movie A Cock and Bull Story. Later in the year he presented a documentary on James Bond, entitled David Walliams: My Life with James Bond.

In 2007 he returned to non-comedic television, garnering excellent reviews for his portrayal of a suave and dangerous manipulator in Stephen Poliakoff's Capturing Mary as well as appearing in the film Virgin Territory. Walliams played comedian Frankie Howerd in the BBC4 TV film Rather You Than Me.

On 26th August, 2008, he made his stage debut at the internationally renowned Gate Theatre in Dublin, opposite Michael Gambon in Harold Pinter's dark comedy No Man's Land (play) , in front of an audience that included Pinter himself.

He has signed a contract with HarperCollins to publish two children's books, the first of which will be released in autumn 2008.

Walliams and Lucas

Walliams and Lucas both worked on Vic and Bob's series Bang Bang, It's Reeves and Mortimer in the late ninties, playing minor roles in sketches such as The Club. Walliams and Lucas played grotesque caricatures of various rock musicians in the series Rock Profile and in the spoof documentary series Sir Bernard's Stately Homes. They were also stars of the Paramount Comedy Channel show Mash and Peas, and it was in this guise that they appeared in the Fat Les video (see above). They both had brief speaking roles in the movie Plunkett And Maclaine as prisoners.

They have appeared together in a music video for the Pet Shop Boys single "I'm with Stupid", in which the two are apparently auditioning their version of the song's video for Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, who are tied up and appear to be hostages. Among the characters played by Walliams in Little Britain are Emily Howard, the "rubbish transvestite", the mad Scottish hotel owner, Ray McCooney, and Sebastian Love, a camp aide (or aide de camp) to the Prime Minister, on whom he has a huge crush.

In 2006, as the pair toured Britain with a stage show, Little Britain Live, Walliams managed to fit in two hours of swimming training every morning in preparation for his cross-channel swim. On 3 April 2005, the swimming pool scene featuring Lou & Andy was hailed as the greatest comedy sketch of all time in a Channel 4 poll, on the show The 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches. (Vicky Pollard's swimming pool sketch came fourth.)

Charity swims

English Channel

On 4 July 2006 Walliams swam the English Channel for the charity Sport Relief (part of Comic Relief).

He successfully completed the swim in 10 hours and 34 minutes to cover the 35 km (22 miles) stretch of sea, the equivalent of 700 lengths of an Olympic standard swimming pool. This was wrongly reported as one of the top 50 recorded times for an unaided Channel crossing;. In reality Walliams actually placed 167th at the time of crossing in only the CSA listings, excluding the CSPF listings. However, he did raise over £1,000,000 in donations. It took nine months of training to prepare for the swim. The training had to coincide with Walliams and Lucas's Little Britain Live tour, so every morning before performing he had to complete several hours of training before performing on stage in the evening. Walliams first swam from Lee-on-the-Solent near to the City of Portsmouth Hampshire to the Isle Of Wight in around 2 hours and he also completed an eight hour swim off the coast of Croatia before embarking on the cross-channel attempt. Walliams has insisted that prior to his challenge he had never seriously taken part in any sport.

The Bluetones, whose lead singer Mark Morriss is a friend of Walliams, wrote a song in honour of his achievement. Entitled "Fade In/Fade Out", it can be found on their self-titled album which was released on 9 October 2006. Walliams was awarded a special award in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in recognition. Matt Lucas made a documentary of this, entitled Little Britain's Big Swim, which can be found on the Little Britain Live DVD.

On 6 November 2006, he won The Mirror's "Pride of Britain" Award for the Most Influential Public Figure as he raised more than £1 million swimming the channel for the charity Sport Relief. Although initially tipped as a contender for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year poll for 2006, he failed to make the final shortlist of 10 contenders. Instead, Walliams was given a special award during the ceremony for his achievement. In July 2006, Walliams also became a Patron of the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Strait of Gibraltar

On 7 March 2008, Walliams along with James Cracknell swam the 12 mile Strait of Gibraltar, from Spain to Morocco, again for Sport Relief. He successfully completed the swim in just over 4 and a half hours.

The swim was the last leg of Cracknell's 10-day trip from the UK to Africa in which he rowed the Channel and cycled through France and Spain.

Personal life

Walliams has had a long running joke questioning his sexuality and humorous references to this are made on the DVD commentary of Little Britain. On 8 out of 10 Cats on 20 July 2007, Walliams humorously said: "You've got me all wrong. I'm gay." However, in an interview with "Queerday", Walliams asserted that his life would be easier if he were attracted to men. Previous rumours (mostly perpetuated by the red top press) that Walliams and Lucas were in a relationship were proved unfounded when Lucas registered his civil partnership with his male partner in 2006. Walliams did also enter a brief relationship with Australian-born model, Emily Scott.

Walliams was harassed from 2005 to date by Sarah Bartholomew, 29, who has sent him erotic poems, gifts such as underwear and secretly photographed him in his house. The woman has been banned by the BBC from their London studios. A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed the force was aware of the harassment allegation. On 28 July 2008 she was ordered by a District Judge to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Walliams is left-handed.

Selected credits

Bibliography

  • Neil Simpson: Yeah but No But: The Biography of Matt Lucas and David Walliams: London: John Blake: 2006: ISBN 1-84454-258-0
  • Boyd Hilton, Matt Lucas, David Walliams: Inside Little Britain: London: Ebury Press: 2006: ISBN 0-09-191231-8

References

External links

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