Dara Ó Briain
Irish comic and television presenter Dara Ó Briain has become one of the most recognisable and highly sought after figures on our screens in recent years, and is best known in the UK for presenting topical panel show Mock The Week and
Dara Ó Briain’s School of Hard Sums on Dave. Having studied Mathematical Physics at University College, Dublin, Dara started out in television as a children’s presenter, whilst working the comedy circuit at the same time.
In 2002 Dara sold out the entire run in Edinburgh i, a feat he was to repeat for the next three years. By 2005, he was the biggest selling solo stand-up comedy show on the Edinburgh Fringe. Having hosted nine successful series’ of Mock the Week, O’Briain also regularly hosts BBC 2′s The Apprentice: You’re Fired. Other notable television work include Three Men in a Boat, alongside Griff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath and co-hosting BBC1′s astronomical show Stargazing Live alongside Professor Brian Cox. Dara is also a published author; his first book Tickling the English was released in 2009.
Perrier Award-winning comic Al Murray is probably best known for his brash alter-ego, The Pub Landlord, who has been entertaining audiences with his boozy banter since 1994 when supporting Harry Hill on tour in his early days. He has since garnered a British Comedy Award, the coveted Perrier, and an Olivier Award nomination for his unique brand of humour.
Out of character, Murray is the host of 7 Day Sunday on BBC Radio 5, and presented Al Murray’s German Adventure (BBC Four), an historical series about the art and culture of Germany, showing a different view to the German Nation that the Pub Landlord protrays. Other appearances as himself include QI, Frank Skinner’s Opinionated, Have I Got News For You and The Road To Berlin, a 10 episode documentary series on WWII for Discovery.
The master of deadpan humour Jack Dee has been performing stand-up since 1986, when he attended an open mic at the Comedy Store. He garnered a British Comedy Award in 1991 for Best Stage Newcomer, which led to him bagging his own Channel 4 show, The Jack Dee Show, a year later.
Since then he has played to sell-out crowds at high-profile venues such as London Hammersmith Apollo and the London Palladium, as well as being a regular face on our screens appearing as a team captain on the BBC’s Shooting Stars, QI, and starring in his own sit-com, Lead Balloon. He is now the regular host of BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, filling the shoes of the late Humphrey Littleton.
Quick-witted comedian Jeremy Hardy started out in 1984, and in 1988 won The Perrier Award at the Edinburgh fringe. He is perhaps now best known for his radio work, which includes Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, The News Quiz, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and You’ll Have Had Your Tea for BBC Radio 4. He made his television debut in Blackadder Goes Forth in 1989, and other notable television work includes Now Something Else with Rory Bremner, Saturday Live, Loose Talk, Jack and Jeremy’s Real Lives with Jack Dee and If I Ruled the World with Graeme Garden and Clive Anderson.
Known for his outspoken views on politics, Hardy was the subject of Leila Sansour’s feature documentary, Jeremy Hardy v the Israeli Army in 2003. He has written columns for The Guardian and Red Pepper and has written three books: When Did You Last See Your Father, a spoof childcare guide; Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, based on the radio series; and My Family and Other Strangers, an examination of his lacklustre ancestry.
Tony Hawks is a TV and radio comedian and bestselling author. He is a regular guest on radio programmes including The News Quiz, Would I Lie to You, Just a Minute, and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, and recently has presented his own series on Radio 4, Tony Hawks’ Lost Weekends. He has also appeared on screen on Have I Got News For You, They Think It’s All Over, A Bit of Fry and Laurie and in various episodes of Red Dwarf.
Hawks is the author of the bestseller Round Ireland with a Fridge – the story of his absurd quest to hitch round the circumference of Ireland within a month… with a fridge. The book became a top 10 Sunday Times bestseller, was serialised on BBC Radio 4, and led to a six month TV advertising campaign for HARP Irish Lager. His second book Playing the Moldovans at Tennis, was also serialised on BBC R4. The story charts his latest foolhardy attempt to win a bet, which involved tracking down all the members of the national football team of Moldova and beating them at tennis one by one. Tony’s book was shortlisted for both the Samuel Johnson Prize (2000) for non-fiction writing and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize (2000). Both books have now been made into films.
Semi-local lad (he grew up in Cheddar) Richard Herring has always been a fan of comedy, citing Monty Python as one of his early favourites. He was discovered by Stewart Lee while studying at Oxford University and performed in the Oxford Revue with presenter Emma Kennedy.
Between 2001 and 2013 Herring produced 12 new stand-up shows, including Someone Likes Yoghurt, Hitler Moustache and Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming. He’s also a regular on radio and podcasts, and performed in a number of plays in the ’90s.
Jo Caulfield has come a long way since her first open spot 12 years ago. She was working as a waitress in an Italian Restaurant when she found herself drunkenly entering the weekly open mike competition at The Comedy Café in East London. She won the competition and was asked back for a 10 minute booking the following week. Having got the stand-up bug right and proper, she opened her own comedy club in the basement bar of The White Horse in Hampstead.
Now Jo Caulfield is well known for her legendary one-woman shows, but is also no stranger to our screens, having appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You, and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, to name but a few. Not only that, Jo is the star of her own Radio 4 show, the hugely popular ‘Jo Caulfield’s Speakeasy’, and she is also Graham Norton’s head writer.