Alastair James Hay "Al" Murray
(born 10 May 1968), is a British
comedian best known for his stand-up persona
, "The Pub Landlord
," a stereotypical xenophobic public house
licensee, and indeed earlier in his career he performed in pubs.
In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy and in 2007 he was voted number sixteen on Channel 4's hundred greatest stand-ups.
Born in Stewkley
, the son of Lieutenant Colonel
Ingram Bernard Hay Murray and his wife Juliet Anne Thackeray Ritchie, through whom he is a great-great-great-grandson of William Makepeace Thackeray
, his grandfather was diplomat Sir Ralph Murray
. Murray attended Bedford School
and is a graduate of St Edmund Hall
, where he studied history. There he performed in the elite comedy group, the Oxford Revue
in a show directed by Stewart Lee.
Murray has toured with other comedians including Harry Hill
, Jim Tavaré
and Frank Skinner
. He won the Perrier Award
at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
in 1999, after being nominated in 1996, 1997 and 1998. He started out with an act that involved sound-effect impressions, including of guns, animals and a particularly impressive car boot; a combination that prompted an equal number of plaudits for vocal skill and complaints of tastelessness.
The Pub Landlord
The Pub Landlord is a stereotypical working class British nationalist
with a dislike for anything "un-British". He has a particular dislike of Germans
and the French
; he will challenge the audience to name any country in the world before producing some plausible instance of Britain
bettering it. Catchphrases include "All hail to the ale!", "...beautiful British name!", "Time-waster!", "You DISGUST me!", "Pint for the fella... Glass of white wine/ fruit-based drink for the lady!", "The Point is this..." "if we had no rules where would we be? : France! and if we had too may rules where would we be?: Germany!", "Is your dad proud of you, son? He's never said so, has he?" and "I was never confused", which is an allusion to a supposed gay
interlude in his character's early identity.
The character first appeared in 1994 when Murray was the tour support act for Harry Hill (Murray cut his TV teeth on Hill's TV show playing his 'big brother Alan': "If it's too hard, I can't understand it!"), and subsequently featured in a short film, Pub Fiction (1995). Murray's theatre show with the pub landlord character My Gaff, My Rules was short-listed for an Laurence Olivier Award in 2002, and he has also appeared in character as the central focus of the television series Time Gentlemen Please, as well as a number of other television appearances, including the An Audience with... strand. Subsequent theatre tours, ...A Glass of White Wine for the Lady (another catchphrase) and Giving it Both Barrels also ran to critical acclaim. When asked about the sitcom during live shows, in character as the Pub Landlord, Murray claims to be unhappy with the television series, a joke some have taken literally.
A quiz show, Fact Hunt presented by Murray as the Pub Landlord and named after the fictional quiz machine of the same name from Time Gentlemen Please was shown on late-night ITV in 2005.
From January 2006, Murray filled in for Tim Lovejoy on Virgin Radio on Sunday afternoons, in character as the Pub Landlord, and broadcast his final show on 24 December 2006.
His chat show Al Murray's Happy Hour began airing 13 January 2007 on ITV. The show has won a British Comedy Award and was nominated for a National Television Award. A new series returned on 12 September 2008, and of this Murray said,
In 2004, Murray appeared as a contestant in the first series of Hell's Kitchen
, Gordon Ramsay
's cookery based reality show on ITV
, and in 2005 appeared as a contestant on Comic Relief does Fame Academy
on BBC One
Murray presented Al Murray's Road to Berlin
on the Discovery Channel
. This was a series about the last phase of World War II
, taking him from the beaches of Normandy
, through Arnhem
and up the Rhine
, ending in Berlin
. In the series he drove around in a restored Willys Jeep
, and interviewed survivors from both sides of the war. In the episode about Operation Market Garden
he parachuted, together with veterans, from a plane, to commemorate the battle.
In 2007, Murray published the book The Pub Landlord's Book of British Common Sense. It consists of his opinions and views on a number of topics such as James Bond actors, religion, politics, television, films and Churchill quotes.
Murray and his wife Amber are trustees of the charity CamKids, which gives assistance to children in Cambodia.
- Time Gentlemen Please (2000)
- My Gaff, My Rules (2003)
- ...and a Glass of White Wine for the Lady! (2004)
- Giving It Both Barrels (2006)
- Live at the Palladium (2007)