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Nigel Planer

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Title: Nigel Planer  
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Subject: Bad News (band), Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Filthy Rich & Catflap, More Bad News ...
Collection: 1953 Births, Alumni of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Alumni of the University of Sussex, Audio Book Narrators, English Dramatists and Playwrights, English Male Comedians, English Male Film Actors, English Male Novelists, English Male Singers, English Male Stage Actors, English Male Television Actors, English Male Voice Actors, English Novelists, Fathers' Rights Activists, Living People, Male Dramatists and Playwrights, People Educated at Westminster School, London, People from Westminster, The Comic Strip
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Nigel Planer

Nigel Planer
Planer after receiving his Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Edinburgh Napier University in 2011
Born Nigel George Planer
(1953-02-22) 22 February 1953
Westminster, London, England
Occupation Actor, comedian, novelist, playwright
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Anna Lea (1988–95)
Frankie Park (1999–2003)
Roberta Planer (2013 - present)

Nigel George Planer (born 22 February 1953) is an English actor, comedian, novelist and playwright who is best known for his role as Neil in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones. He has appeared in many West End musicals, including original casts of Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He has also appeared in Hairspray. He won a BRIT award in 1984 and has been nominated for Olivier, TMA, What's On Stage, and BAFTA awards.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Television 2.1
    • Theatre 2.2
    • Film 2.3
    • Music 2.4
    • Voice acting 2.5
  • Personal life 3
  • Credits 4
    • Discography 4.1
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Planer was born in Westminster, London. He was educated at King's House School and Westminster School[1] and then studied at the University of Sussex and[2] the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).


A founding member of the London Comedy Store and original member of The Comic Strip - pioneers of the alternative comedy movement in the UK. Planer appeared with Peter Richardson as part of the double act 'The Outer Limits'. Planer and Richardson also wrote the That's Life! parody on Not The Nine O'Clock News. Over the next 20 years he went on to star in film, theatre and television. With Christopher Douglas he created the spoof actor character Nicholas Craig, who appears in book, radio, TV and articles as well as live; most recently at the Festival Hall, London in Stewart Lee 's At Last the 1984 show. Planer is also the author of several books, plays, radio plays, and TV scripts as well as a small volume of poetry. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Edinburgh Napier University in June 2011.[2]


Planer is best known for his role as Neil, the hippie housemate in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones, which ran from 1982–84.

He also stars in The Comic Strip Presents... series of short films from 1983–present, invariably in the guise of various strange outsiders, to great comedic effect, most recently, to critical acclaim, he played Peter Mandelson in The Hunt for Tony Blair.

In 2007 he appeared on a BBC 4 programme in the guise of 'Nicholas Craig', interviewed by Mark Lawson.[3] In 2010 he guest starred in "Agatha Christie's Marple: The Pale Horse" [4] In 2003, he played Professor Dumbledore in a Harry Potter parody, Harry Potter and the Secret Chamber Pot of Azerbaijan.[5] 2013 guest starred in Jonathan Creek for a second time. Other leading roles on TV include Shine on Harvey Moon, Filthy, Rich and Catflap, The Grimleys, King & Castle, Bonjour La Classe and Roll Over Beethoven. He also starred in Michael Palin's Number 27, Simon Gray's Two Lumps of Ice, Emma Tennant's Frankenstein's Baby and Blackeyes by Dennis Potter.

Guest appearances include programmes such as The Bill, French and Saunders, Jonathan Creek, Blackadder III, The Last Detective, the Paul Merton Show, the Lenny Henry Show and Gary Wilmot's Songs from the Shows. He also made a guest appearance in an episode of This is Jinsy entitled Nameworm. He also appears in Episodes as Matt le Blanc's lawyer. He is currently appearing in the BBC series "Boomers".


His first break in the theatre was understudying David Essex as Che Guevara in the original West End run of Evita. Planer was in the original London cast of Chicago, as Amos Hart. He was a member of the original West End cast of Ben Elton's Queen musical We Will Rock You as Pop.

In 1990, he replaced Michael Gambon in Alan Ayckbourn's Man of the Moment in the West End. Leading roles followed in other productions at the Bush Theatre, the Lyric Theatre, the Traverse, the Young Vic, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Regent's Park Open-Air Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, Plymouth Drum and the Hampstead Theatre.

From 10–15 July 2006 he played the part of the narrator in The Rocky Horror Show, taking on the role in Manchester and Bromley. He then starred as The Wizard in the original West End production of Wicked alongside Idina Menzel. The show opened at the Apollo Victoria Theatre on 27 September 2006. Planer ended his run on 7 June 2008 and was replaced by Desmond Barrit.

He took over the role of Wilbur from Ian Talbot in the West End production of Hairspray on 2 February 2009.[6]

In 2010, Planer returned to the role of the Narrator in the UK Tour of The Rocky Horror Show, playing in Captain Hook at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield.

Planer went on to star as Grandpa Joe in the original production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical, which opened in London's West End in 2013.[7]


Planer has appeared in a number of films:- Flood, Virgin Territory, Bright Young Things, Hogfather, The Colour of Magic, Wind in the Willows, Land Girls, Clockwork Mice, Carry on Columbus, Brazil, The Supergrass, I Give It a Year and Yellowbeard.


Planer played Den Dennis, one of the four members of the 1980s spoof rock band, Bad News who made two albums produced by Brian May. They also performed at the Hammersmith Apollo as well as the Donington and Reading Rock Festivals.

As Neil from The Young Ones, Planer gained a number two hit single in 1984 in the form of "Hole in My Shoe", (originally a hit for 1960s band Traffic). A cover of Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" was a less successful follow up, only reaching No.97 in the charts. After that, an album was produced, entitled Neil's Heavy Concept Album. Planer also took Neil's stage act on the road in that year as Neil in the "Bad Karma in The UK" tour. This culminated in a month-long run at St. Mary's Hall at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Young Ones also appeared on Cliff Richard's 1986 charity rerecording of "Living Doll", which spent three weeks at number one in the UK. He has a silver and a gold disc and has a Brit award from his musical career. In 2015 he started a new music project called Rainsmoke with Chris Wade (Dodson and Fogg) and Roger Planer.

Voice acting

Planer is the main reader for the audiobook editions of many of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. He also appeared in the television adaptations of both Terry Pratchett's Hogfather and The Colour of Magic, and performed as a voice artist in the games Discworld 2 and Discworld Noir. Discworld Audiobooks narrated by Planer include (with number in parentheses indicating order of the book in the Discworld series):

Other voice roles include the narrator of Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids, the title character of Romuald the Reindeer, and Dr. Marmalade in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants (alongside Young Ones co-stars Christopher Ryan and Rik Mayall). Planer has also been the narrator of many of BBC Four's Britannia series of documentaries, including Prog Rock Britannia, Blues Britannia and Heavy Metal Britannia. In addition he voiced Frodo in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil from the 1992 radio series Tales from the Perilous Realm. He was also a narrator in a direct-to-video version of Val Biro's Gumdrop book series in 1994. Nigel also narrated two short surreal monologues on the album In A Strange Slumber, by Dodson and Fogg, Chris Wade's progressive folk rock project.

Personal life

Planer's father, George, founded Planer Group PLC, a high-tech medical firm.[1] His mother, Lesley, was a speech therapist.[1]

He has two sons from previous marriages: Stanley, with Anna Lea (married 19 August 1988–95); and Harvey, with Frankie Park (married April 1999 – 2003).


He is arguably best known in Britain for his work in television comedy and satire, including:

He has published several books including the novels The Right Man (2000) (ISBN 0-09-927227-X) and Faking It (2003) (ISBN 0-09-940986-0). Planer also wrote A Good Enough Dad (1992) (ISBN 0-09-929661-6) after his first son was born, talking about coping with becoming a father.



  1. ^ a b c Membery, York (16 April 2011). "Me and my school photo". Weekend (Daily Mail): 6. 
  2. ^ a b "Edinburgh Napier University News: Young Ones star among honorary graduates". Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Mark Lawson talks to ... Nicholas Craig". BBC. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Agatha Christie's Marple: The Pale Horse". ITV. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "French and Saunders: Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan". Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Ball and Jones Extend Run in London Hairspray; Planer and Rushworth to Join Cast
  7. ^ "Cast of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory". Whats On Stage. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 

External links

  • Official Nigel Planer website
  • Nigel Planer at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Times Article September 2006 article about Planer
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