Rhys Thomas (comedian)
Rhys Thomas is a British director, actor and writer. He is most famous for his roles in Star Stories, The Fast Show and Nathan Barley, he appears as Gary Bellamy on Radio 4's Down the Line and its television spin-off, Bellamy's People. Thomas was nominated for the Breakthrough Talent Award at the 2013 BAFTA Awards for producing and directing the acclaimed feature-length documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender and subsequently won Best Arts Documentary in both the 2013 Rose D'Or and International Emmy Awards, he co-wrote, directed and co-starred in the critically acclaimed spoof music documentary series The Life of Rock with Brian Pern on BBC Four and BBC Two. While in the sixth form at Beauchamps High School in Wickford, Thomas made comedy videos with friends, forming a comedy group called Stay Alive Pepi with Stephen Burge, Tony Way and Glynne Wiley. Thomas began his TV career when he phoned the production company for Shooting Stars to ask for studio audience tickets; when they told him that they did not have any he asked.
They happened to need a runner and employed him, sometimes filling in for George Dawes on the drums during rehearsals for the show. His breakthrough came when he showed Charlie Higson and Bob Mortimer some of his comedy tapes and Higson recruited Thomas as a supporting cast member on The Fast Show, in which he made recurring appearances, notably as Paul, the young assistant to the Charlie Higson character, oily used-car-dealer "Swiss Toni", he became script editor on Shooting Stars in a series. In addition to his work on The Fast Show, in 1997 Thomas made a BBC Two pilot with Ulrika Jonsson called It's Ulrika written by Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. In 1998 he starred in Shooting Stars and The Fast Show Live at the Hammersmith Apollo, the sketch show Barking for Channel 4 alongside Mackenzie Crook, Catherine Tate, Peter Kay and David Walliams and appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Stay Alive Pepi, he appeared in Sir Bernard Chumley's Stately Homes and the pilot show Crazy Jonathan's with Matt Lucas and David Walliams.
In 1999 he worked as a team writer on series one of The 11 O'Clock Show and was a radio presenter on the XFM breakfast show with Natasha Desborough. At the age of 20 Thomas wrote a pilot script for Fun at the Funeral Parlour; the producer Simon Lupton was impressed, submitted it to Stuart Murphy, the controller of BBC Choice, a series was filmed in summer 2000 and a second series 2001. Guest stars included Tom Baker, Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Bill Oddie, Christopher Cazenove, Phil Cornwell and Webb, Lucas and Walliams, Simon Day, Mark Williams, Anita Dobson, Art Malik and Dudley Sutton. Music was specially composed by Brian May of Queen. Thomas has appeared in several other comedy series including Happiness, Monkey Trousers, Nathan Barley, the Channel 4 comedy Star Stories playing Jude Law, Andrew Ridgeley, Warren Beatty, Gary Glitter, Daniel Day-Lewis, Kiefer Sutherland and The Fonz amongst others, he appears in the Channel 4 sketch show Blunder. In 2002-2004, he co-wrote and starred in two series of Swiss Toni, writing four episodes and co-writing others.
He toured with The Fast Show for its farewell tour in 2002. He subsequently appeared on several panel shows and talking head programmes including Fanorama with David Mitchell, Does Doug Know with Daisy Donovan on Channel 4, Law of the Playground, Comedian's Comedian, Nathan Barley, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, FAQ U, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe and Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive. From 2006 to 2013 Thomas played the host of BBC Radio 4's spoof late-night phone-in, Down the Line; the programme was the 2007 winner of the Broadcasting Press Guild Radio Programme of the Year Award and in 2008 it received the Sony Gold Award for Best Radio Comedy. In January 2010 Down the Line was adapted into a television format called Bellamy's People starring and co-written by Thomas as Gary Bellamy, it was launched and gained a positive critical reception with The Radio Times praising Thomas for his straight man role and the ability to make those around him seem funnier. Thomas has worked with the rock band Queen, of whom he is a major fan, producing seven of their DVDs: Greatest Video Hits 1, Queen Live at Wembley, Greatest Video Hits 2, Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl, Queen + Paul Rogers: Return of the Champions and A Night at the Opera - 30th Anniversary, making documentaries and directing new videos, including I Was Born to Love You.
In 2003, he wrote, starred and co-directed a commercial for Queen Greatest Video Hits 2 starring Roger Taylor and Brian May. In July 2010, Thomas was asked by Jim Beach, manager of Queen to write the sleeve notes for all 15 studio albums by the band, due for re-release in 2011 to coincide with the band's 40th, he produced the critically acclaimed two-part Queen documentary Days of Our Lives, broadcast on BBC2 in May 2011. In 2012, he produced and directed a feature-length documentary about Freddie Mercury, The Great Pretender, released in September. On 31 December 2010, Thomas appeared on and won Celebrity Mastermind with a specialist subject record score of 21 points and a total 36 points, his specialist subject was Queen. In 2009 Thomas appeared in a mockumentary film Beyond the Pole starring with Stephen Mangan, Helen Baxendale and Mark Benton; the film was premiered at the Prince Charles Cinema as part of the London Film Festival on 5 December 2009, was released nationwide in February 2010.
In April 2009, Thomas appeared in BBC switch's show, Winging it, playing the character of a music mogul, wrote and starred in A
Edgar Howard Wright is an English director and producer. He began making independent short films before making his first feature film A Fistful of Fingers. Wright directed the comedy series Asylum in 1996, written with David Walliams. After directing several other television shows, Wright directed the sitcom Spaced, which aired for two series and starred frequent collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. In 2004, Wright directed the first film in the Three Flavours Cornetto, "a romantic comedy with zombies" Shaun of the Dead, starring Pegg and Frost; the film was co-written with Pegg—as were the next two entries in the trilogy, Hot Fuzz and The World's End, which Wright directed and starred the pair. In 2010, Wright co-wrote and directed the comedy action film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Along with Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat, he co-wrote. Wright and Cornish co-wrote the screenplay for the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Ant-Man in 2015, which Wright intended to direct but abandoned, citing creative differences.
His latest film, the action film Baby Driver, was released in 2017. Wright has directed numerous music videos, including The Bluetones' "Keep the Home Fires Burning", The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster's "Psychosis Safari", Mint Royale's "Blue Song", Pharrell Williams' "Gust of Wind", Beck's "Colors". Wright was born in Poole and grew up predominantly in Wells in Somerset, he attended The Blue School, Wells from 1985 to 1992, is honoured by a plaque at the school. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, he directed many short films, first on a Super-8 camera, a gift from a family member and on a Video-8 camcorder that he won in a competition on the television programme Going Live; these films were comedic pastiches of popular genres, such as the super hero-inspired Carbolic Soap and Dirty Harry tribute Dead Right. From 1992 to 1994, Wright attended the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and received an ND in Audio-Visual Design. In June 2018, Arts University Bournemouth awarded Wright an Honorary Fellowship alongside graphic designer Margaret Calvert, costume designer Jenny Beavan and dancer Darcey Bussell.
On receiving the award Wright said "I'm thrilled to accept my honorary fellowship from AUB, or as I knew it back in 1992, the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design. I still think fondly of my time spent there." Wright made his feature film debut in 1995 with a low budget, independent spoof western, A Fistful of Fingers, picked up for a limited theatrical release and broadcast on the satellite TV channel Sky Movies. Despite Wright's dissatisfaction with the finished product, it caught the attention of comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams, who subsequently chose him as the director of their Paramount Comedy channel production Mash and Peas. During this time he worked on BBC programmes such as Is It Bill Bailey?, Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round and Sir Bernard's Stately Homes. In an interview with journalist and author Robert K. Elder for The Film That Changed My Life, Wright attributes his edgy and comedic style to his love for An American Werewolf in London: I've always been fascinated by horror films and genre films.
And horror films harboured a fascination for me and always have been something I've wanted to watch and wanted to make. I'm fascinated by comedy. I suppose the reason that this film changed my life is that early on in my film-watching experiences, I saw a film, so sophisticated in its tone and what it managed to achieve. In 1998 writer/actors Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes were in the early stages of developing their sitcom Spaced for Channel 4 and thought of asking Wright to direct having fondly remembered working with him on the 1996 Paramount comedy Asylum. Wright gave Spaced an unusual look for the sitcom genre, with dramatic camera angles and movement borrowed from the visual language of science fiction and horror films. Instead of shying away from these influences Wright makes an active effort to show his referencing, adding a'Homage-O-Meter' to all of his releases, a device that displays each directorial nod he has made during shooting. In 2002, he made appearances as a scientist and a technician named Eddie Yorque during both series of Look Around You, a BBC programme created by a member of the Spaced cast, Peter Serafinowicz.
He made two brief appearances in Spaced, one in which he can be seen, along with other crew members on the series, lying asleep in Daisy Steiner's squat as she prepares to leave for her new house. The other is a brief appearance during the montage in the episode "Gone" where Daisy describes to Tim what she thinks would be a fun night out for the two. Edgar is sitting on the subway next to Daisy; the critical success of Spaced paved the way for Wright and Pegg to move to the big screen with Shaun of the Dead, a zombie comedy which mixed a "Brit flick" romantic comedy style with homages to the horror classics of George A. Romero and Sam Raimi; the film was a success critically and financially, its rooting in American genre cinema helped to make it a international hit. The pair subsequently planned out a trilogy of British genre-comedies which were connected not by narrative but by their shared traits and motifs; the trilogy was named "The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy" by the pair due to a running joke about the British ice cream product Cornetto and its effectiveness as a hangover cure.
Wright explained to Clark Collis in an interview for Entertainment Weekly, "We put that joke in Shaun of the Dead where Nick asks for a Cornetto first t
Rock Profile is a British television comedy show written by and starring comedy partnership Matt Lucas and David Walliams, both widely known for the sketch show Little Britain. Rock Profile first appeared on the channel UK Play in 1999, directed by Michael Cumming, before moving to BBC Two in 2000; the show comprises a series of spoof interviews, involving Jamie Theakston questioning Lucas and Walliams who play famous musicians. The interviews are bizarre and involve broad, unflattering caricatures or just downright fictional characteristics, they are interspersed with videos by the featured artist, including humorous captions and congratulations from other impersonated celebrities. The first series was broadcast in 1999, on digital channel UK Play; the series was picked up by BBC Two, with a second series of 13 episodes following in 2000. Series one was shown on BBC Two. In Christmas 2000, a special 45-minute episode of the series was entitled Rock the Blind; the episode followed Ronan Keating as they recorded a charity single.
Ted Robbins appeared as Pete Waterman, Sara Cox as herself. Following the episode, the series saw a break of two years. In October 2001, several sketches were comprised for the re-launch of Top of the Pops, entitled The All-New Top of the Pops. All of the sketches were filmed backstage, featuring characters which had appeared in the previous two series. Fans of the series were happy to see its brief return, people who were unaware of the show at the time did not understand the segments. Complaints were sparked regarding the sketch featuring Lucas as Elton John, being interviewed about his appearance on TOTP, in which he performed The Lion King's main theme, "Circle of Life". A member of the audience verbally harassed Lucas during the sketch, which resulted in the entire feature being cut from all future repeat screenings of the episode, meaning only the DVD release is the only existent source to the public to view these. In 2009, a third series was recorded by Walliams and Lucas and was made available on the website Funny or Die for free viewing.
The third series replaced host Jamie Theakston with new host Dermot O'Leary. The first episode aired virally on 11 May 2009, featured a mock interview with Jordan and Peter Andre. Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones – Shirley Bassey is portrayed as claiming to have more hits than she does. Jones is portrayed as a befuddled has-been who confuses the names of other artists who have told him he was "the greatest singer of his generation." Abba are reluctantly reunited after interviews with Benny Bjorn Ulvaeus. Boy George and Marilyn – Both characters are portrayed as thinking they are female and Marilyn claims the interviewer has made him pregnant and that he needs to provide for his baby, which leads to the interviewer stealing Ringo Starr – Ringo Starr is portrayed as believing himself to be Thomas the Tank Engine's representative on Earth, he claims that Thomas has asked him to do both bad things. Simon & Garfunkel – Simon and Garfunkel are portrayed as hating each other, both try to prove that they are more successful than the other.
They use a curtain and a brick wall to separate themselves. Bono – Bono is portrayed as an irritating Englishman who loves to phone Salman Rushdie and can't understand why his fellow U2 bandmates persist in speaking with an Irish accent; the Edge points out. Elton John – Elton John is portrayed as a moody, temperamental prima donna. George Harrison – George Harrison is portrayed as speaking with a strong Indian accent and keeps a poppadum in his top pocket, yet cannot understand why people keep talking about his Indian influences, he produces bizarre films plots. Lee and H from Steps are portrayed as five-year-olds. Liam Gallagher – Liam Gallagher is portrayed as a foul-mouthed house husband whose wife, Patsy Kensit embarrasses him and ruins his'hard-man' image by exposing him as a friend of Mary and Jeffrey Archer. Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees is portrayed as a bully who bosses his brothers Robin around. In the episode, Barry resembles the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, he has a tail. Damon Albarn of Blur is portrayed as a Cockney working-class hero, who says his life is like the musical Oliver.
Geri Halliwell – Geri Halliwell is portrayed as a patronising moron who stalks and has delusions about marrying George Michael. According to Geri, everything is "Girl Power". "All base metals, Girl Power. The River Nile, Girl Power. Clive Anderson, dictionary definition of Girl Power". Paul McCartney – Paul McCartney is portrayed as fed up with people asking about his solo career, he announces "People keep asking me... What's the hidden message at the end of'Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time'?... Y'know, 30 years ago I was in a band called The Beatles... but no one wants to talk about that!" When Theakston, overjoyed at Paul's apparent willingness to talk about the Beatles, questions him on John Lennon, McCartney soberingly muses "Y'know the saddest thing? No one mentions him." Dave Stewart – David Stewart of Eurythmics is portrayed as a mad scientist who claims to have created Annie Lennox —, portrayed as a creature similar to that from Mary Shelley's'Frankenstein' — from parts of corpses.
Bez of Happy Mondays – Bez is portrayed as a professionally trained dancer who went to the Ramhurst School, claiming that he was in the year above Darcey Bussell. Gary Barlow
David Edward Walliams is an English actor, comedian and television personality. He is best known for his partnership with Matt Lucas on the BBC One sketch comedy shows Little Britain and Come Fly With Me. Since 2012, he has been a judge on the ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent, he is a writer of children's books, having sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. Walliams grew up in Surrey, he was educated at Reigate Grammar School in Reigate, before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Bristol. He began performing with the National Youth Theatre in the 1990s, where he met his comedy partner Matt Lucas. From 2003 to 2005, Walliams co-wrote and co-starred in three series of the BBC sketch show Little Britain alongside Lucas; the programme first aired on BBC Three before moving to the more mainstream BBC One, being deemed a critical success and hit with viewing figures. Since 2012 Walliams has been a judge on the ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent alongside Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Simon Cowell.
In 2015, 2018, 2019, he was recognised at the National Television Awards as Best Judge for his involvement in the series. Walliams wrote and starred in two series of the BBC One sitcom Big School, playing the role of chemistry teacher Keith Church. In 2015, he starred as Tommy Beresford in the BBC series Partners in Crime based on the Tommy and Tuppence novels by Agatha Christie, his other acting credits include scenes in the Stephen Poliakoff film Capturing Mary in 2007. Walliams' began writing children's novels in 2008 after securing a contract with the publisher HarperCollins, his books have been translated into 53 languages, he has been described as "the fastest growing children's author in the UK", with a literary style compared to that of Roald Dahl. Seven of his books have been adapted into television films. Walliams was awarded an OBE, for his services to charity and the arts, in 2017, his charity work includes swimming the English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar and River Thames, raising millions of pounds for the BBC charity Sport Relief.
Walliams was born at St Teresa's Maternity Hospital in Wimbledon, in the London Borough of Merton, in 1971. He is the son of Peter Williams, a London Transport engineer, Kathleen Williams, a laboratory technician who worked at Sutton Grammar School. Walliams grew up in Banstead, Surrey in the residential area of Nork, with his mother and sister Julie, he was educated at Collingwood Boys' School in Wallington, Reigate Grammar School in Surrey, where he was a contemporary of writer Robert Shearman. From 1989 to 1992, he studied at the University of Bristol, where he resided at Manor Hall and graduated with Bachelor of Arts. During university holidays in 1990, Walliams performed with the National Youth Theatre, where he met future comedy partner and friend Matt Lucas, he changed his stage name to David Walliams when he joined college Equity, as there was a member named David Williams. Walliams performed in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio play Phantasmagoria, written by Mark Gatiss in 1999.
In 2005, Simon Pegg, Lucy Davis and Lauren Laverne starred in the video for Charlotte Hatherley's single "Bastardo". In the year, Walliams presented a documentary on James Bond, entitled David Walliams: My Life with James Bond. In 2007, he returned to non-comedy television, garnering positive reviews for his portrayal of a suave and dangerous manipulator in Stephen Poliakoff's Capturing Mary. Walliams portrayed comedian Frankie Howerd in the BBC Four television film Rather You Than Me. In 2010, Walliams appeared with Steve Carell in the comedy Dinner for Schmucks. Walliams played the strange mole-like alien Gibbis in the sixth series of Doctor Who, in the episode "The God Complex", broadcast on BBC One in 2011. In April 2012 Walliams appeared in an episode of ITV's Perspectives programme entitled "David Walliams: The Genius of Dahl". In 2012, he narrated Are You Having a Laugh? TV and Disability on BBC Two, the ITV2 series Top Dog Model. In 2013, Walliams appeared in two episodes of the comedy series Blandings as Rupert Baxter, an efficiency expert hired to serve as Lord Emsworth's secretary.
That year, in 2014, Walliams starred as chemistry teacher Keith Church in the BBC One sitcom Big School, which he created and co-wrote. The series starred Catherine Tate, Frances de la Tour and Philip Glenister. In June 2015, it was announced. In March 2014 Walliams narrated a short video for the charity, Electrical Safety First, featuring the character Charley from the Charley Says educational films of the 1970s. For Comic Relief 2015, Walliams appeared as Lou Todd and Stephen Hawking in the Andy Pipkin role along with Catherine Tate as a nun. In 2015, coinciding with the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth, Walliams played the role of Tommy Beresford in Partners in Crime, a six-part BBC series. In September 2015, Walliams began filming for his BBC sketch show Walliams & Friend, which starred Joanna Lumley and Morgana Robinson and premiered on Christmas Eve in 2015; the show returned for a full series in November 2016, a second series has been announced. Walliams hosted the final comedy show Thrills and Spills in December 2016.
The final was held in Kentucky. In December 2016, Walliams presented the Royal Variety Performance and a Christmas special episode of Blankety Blank, both shows for ITV. In 2017, Walliams guest presented five episodes of The Nightly Show for ITV. Walliams and Matt Lucas first met at the National Youth Theatre. At their first meeting, Lucas did an impression of Jimmy Savile and Walliams an impression of Frankie Howe
Little Britain is a British character-based sketch comedy, first broadcast on BBC radio and turned into a television programme. It was performed by comic duo David Walliams and Matt Lucas; the programme's title is an amalgamation of the terms'Little England' and'Great Britain', is coincidentally, the name of a Victorian neighbourhood and a modern street in London. The programme consists of a series of sketches involving exaggerated parodies of British people from all walks of life in various situations familiar to a British audience; each of them is introduced with a voice-over narration in a manner which suggests that the programme is a guide – aimed at non-British people – to the ways of life of various classes of British society. Despite the narrator's description of "great British institutions", the comedy arises from the British audience's self-deprecating understanding of either themselves or of people known to them; the programme's title is in part an elaboration of the term Little England: a reference to narrow-mindedness and complacent insularity – as exhibited, to humorous effect, by many of the subjects of the sketches.
The programme was a huge ratings success, receiving 9.5 million viewers following its move to BBC One in 2005. Little Britain appeared as a radio show, produced by Edward Flinn, which ran on BBC Radio 4 from 2000 until 2002. Radio 4 began a rerun of all nine episodes in February 2004. Unusually, this overlapped with a rerun, beginning in mid-March, of the first five programmes on the digital radio channel BBC 7. In June–July 2004 BBC 7 broadcast the remaining four. Like several other BBC comedies, Little Britain made the transition from radio to television. All the episodes for the series were filmed at Pinewood Studios. Much of the TV material was adapted from the radio version, but with more emphasis on recurring characters and catchphrases. Series One, 2003The first TV series was one of the new programmes in the launch line-up for digital channel BBC Three, the replacement for BBC Choice, which launched in February 2003; as a result of its success, the first series was repeated on the more available BBC Two.
Although reactions were mixed, many critics were enthusiastic, the programme was commissioned for another run. Part of the series was filmed in Kent at Herne Bay - Emily Howard the Lady, the Lou and Andy sketches. Series Two, 2004The second series, featuring several new characters, began on BBC Three on 19 October 2004, its continued popularity meant the repeats moved to BBC One, starting on 3 December 2004. The episodes were edited for their BBC One run, to cut out any material that may be too offensive for the more mainstream BBC One audience. Series Three, 2005A third series began on 17 November 2005, for the first time on BBC One and not BBC Three, ended six weeks later. After its transmission, it was unclear whether there would be another, as many sketches were given dramatic twists and "wrapped up" —. Lucas and Walliams were in talks for a fourth series with the BBC. Furthermore, they admitted in an interview they preferred to "kill off" certain characters in order to make way for new ones.
Little, Little Britain, 2005In 2005, to raise money for Comic Relief and Lucas made a special edition of the show, dubbed Little, Little Britain. The episode included a variety of sketches with celebrities including George Michael, Robbie Williams and Sir Elton John; this was released on a limited edition DVD and was released in the United States as Little, Little Britain on the region 1 version of the Little Britain: Season 2 DVD. Little Britain Abroad, 2006In 2006, a two-part Christmas special was released, in which characters from the programme were depicted as visiting other countries; as a success of the television series and Walliams created a travelling stage show based upon their series. Comic Relief Does Little Britain Live, 2007A special live version, featuring appearances from celebrities such as Russell Brand and Dennis Waterman was filmed in 2006 and appeared on 2007's Comic Relief show. In 2007, Matt Lucas and David Walliams announced that there would be no more of the British Little Britain, but they taped an American continuation of the programme entitled Little Britain USA, which featured both returning characters from the British series as well as new American characters.
According to David Walliams, the new show is "effectively Little Britain season four". The show debuted on HBO at 10:30 pm EST Sunday 28 September 2008 the following week on BBC One in Britain, it started airing on The Comedy Network in Canada in January 2010. Little Britain Comic Relief Special, 2009Crossover between the UK and USA versions. Last episode to feature Matt Lucas. Little Britain Comic Relief Sketch, 2015David Walliams reprises the role of Lou Todd for Comic Relief. Guest stars include Catherine Tate. Matt Lucas does not feature. Little Britain Does 2016The latest instalment of the series. Features David Walliams reprise the role of Emily Howard. Matt Lucas does not feature As a sketch show, Little Britain features many characters with varying degrees of costume and makeup. Matt Lucas and David Walliams play all the main characters in the show. Tom Baker narrates and Paul Putner, Steve Furst, Sally Rogers, David Foxxe, Samantha Power, Yuki Kushida, Stirling Gallacher appear as several different characters.
Other regular cast include: Anthony Head as the Prime Minister, Ruth Jones as Myfanwy, Charu Bala Chokshi as Meera, Joann Condon as Fat Pat. A two-part Christmas special, Little Britain Abroad, was broadcast in December 2006 and January 2007. Th
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Jim'll Fix It
Jim'll Fix It is a long-running British television show, broadcast by the BBC between May 1975 and June 1994. It was devised and presented by Jimmy Savile and produced by Roger Ordish and encouraged children to write in to have their wishes granted; the show was hosted by Savile, who would "fix it" for the wishes of several viewers to come true each week. The producer throughout the show's run was Roger Ordish, always referred to by Savile as "Doctor Magic"; the standard format was that the viewer's letter, which described their wish, would be shown on the screen and read out aloud by Savile, but in series by the viewer himself as a voice-over. Savile would introduce the Fix, which would either have been pre-filmed on location or take place "live" in the studio. At the end, the viewer would join Savile to be congratulated and presented with a large medal with the words "Jim Fixed It For Me" engraved on it. Other people featured in the "Fix It", might give the viewer an extra gift somehow relating to the Fix.
Savile himself played no part in the filming or recording of the "fix-its", unless requested as part of the letter writer's wish. Some children thought that Savile's first name was "Jim'll", so some letters shown on the programme started "Dear Jim'll". Early series saw Savile distributing medals from a "magic chair" which concealed the medals in a variety of compartments; the "magic chair" was invented by Tony Novissimo and was built for the BBC by him at his workshops in Shepherd's Bush. The chair had first appeared on Savile's earlier Saturday night TV series, Click; the chair was replaced by a new computer-controlled robotic "magic chair", the brainchild of Kevin Warwick, built for the BBC by his team at the University of Reading. The arm for the chair was an RTX, designed by Roy Levell at Universal Machine Intelligence in Wandsworth around 1985. Internally, the BBC were concerned that the show was providing excessive product placement for corporations. Eighteen years after the show ceased airing, allegations of child sex abuse were made against Savile, including claims that special episodes of Jim'll Fix It were devised by Savile in order to gain access to victims.
In 1976 Muhammad Ali was on a world tour to promote The Greatest. Landing in London, catching the BBC by surprise, with no time to bring the thousands of hopeful letter writers to a meeting with the legend, the TV company nipped next door "borrowing" three schoolboy boxers from the school. Vince and Nigel were whisked off to meet Ali. A group of Cub Scouts from the 2nd Sutton St Mary’s troop, wrote to the programme asking to have a meal in an unusual place; the show opted to send them, complete with packed lunch, to ride the Revolution rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach — the result, thanks to the force of gravity and momentum, being lots of little faces full of food and drink. This was repeated with the same former Cubs in 2007 for Jim'll Fix It Strikes Again, with similar results; the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, appeared in the second episode, where he tore off and handed away the frayed ends of his scarf to girls visiting the studio. Ten years a young Doctor Who fan, Gareth Jenkins, was able to take part in a short adventure titled A Fix with Sontarans with Colin Baker and Janet Fielding.
Veteran actor Peter Cushing wrote to the show in 1986 to ask if a variety of rose could be named after his late wife. In the 1980s a young girl wrote to ask if she could "accidentally" drop and smash a valuable vase on an edition of Antiques Roadshow; this was broadcast as part of a regular edition of Antiques Roadshow, with many of the crowd at the Roadshow looking on, until the antiques expert explained the ruse. In the 1980s a young boy called Dom Lawson, who now works for Kerrang! and Metal Hammer magazines, got his wish to be Iron Maiden's tech for the day and meet the band. The incident was described in Iron Maiden's A Matter of Life and Death tour book, where Dom Lawson speaks about Iron Maiden and his history on the band; this new series saw the return of Savile and began on 5 April 2007 on UKTV Gold, was titled Jim'll Fix It Strikes Again. The series showed classic moments from the original shows,'re-fix' it for some of the original participants, make dreams come true for a number of new people.
The BBC announced on 14 November 2011, following Savile's death, that the show would return for a one-time Christmas special on 26 December 2011, featuring Shane Richie as the programme's host. Only letters for'fix-its' from children under 14 were eligible for the revived format. Lewis Hamilton guest-starred in this episode, as well as Girls Aloud member Kimberley Walsh; the theme song was sung by voice-over artist Lynda Hayes. The closing theme was sung by the group Good Looks who competed in the 1982 A Song for Europe competition. Savile "fixed it" for a young viewer to perform the song with the group on an edition of the show. Claims surfaced in 2012 that some of the children who took part in Jim'll Fix It were sexually abused by Savile. Ordish said: "I didn't see anything and nothing was reported to me", but added that he knew Savile had a "predilection for younger females". Series 2 Compilation: 17 April 1976 Series 3 Compilation: 26 February 1977 Series 4 Compilation: 25 March 1978 Series 5 Compilation: 24 March 1979 Series 6 Compilation: 22 March 1980 Children in Need Compilation: 23 November 1984 Series 13 Compilation: 27 August 1988 Series 14 Compilation: 28 August 1989 Series 15 Compilation: 25 August 1990 Series 16 Compilation: 24 A