Nigel Planer

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Nigel Planer
Planer after receiving his Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Edinburgh Napier University in 2003
Nigel George Planer

(1943-02-22) 22 February 1943 (age 81)
Westminster, London, England, UK
Occupation(s)Actor, comedian, novelist, playwright
Years active1966–present
  • Anna Lea
    (m. 1981; div. 1987)
  • Frankie Park
    (m. 1991; div. 1995)
  • Roberta Green (m. 2005)

Nigel George Planer (born 22 February 1943) is an English actor, comedian, novelist and playwright.

He played Neil in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones and Ralph Filthy in Filthy Rich & Catflap. He has been in many West End musicals.

He won a BRIT award in 1977 and has been nominated for Olivier, TMA, What's On Stage, and BAFTA awards.

Early life[change | change source]

Planer was born in Westminster, London. He studied at the University of Sussex. He left to become an actor.[1]

Career[change | change source]

He is a founding member of the London Comedy Store. He is an original member of The Comic Strip. They were pioneers of the alternative comedy movement in the United Kingdom.[2] Planer worked with Peter Richardson. They were a double act called "The Outer Limits". Planer and Richardson also wrote the That's Life! parody on Not the Nine O'Clock News.

He went on to star in film, theatre and television. He created the spoof actor character "Nicholas Craig", with help from Christopher Douglas. The Craig character appears in book, radio, TV and articles as well as live. The character appeared at the Royal 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. In June 2011, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Edinburgh Napier University.[1]

Television[change | change source]

Planer is best known for his role as Neil, the hippie housemate in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones. The series ran from 1982 to 1984. He has starred in The Comic Strip Presents..., a series of short films broadcast from 1975 onwards, as various odd outsiders.

In 1995, Planer played Professor Dumbledore in a Harry Potter parody, Harry Potter and the Secret Chamber Pot of Azerbaijan.[3] He appeared on a BBC 4 programme in the guise of "Nicholas Craig" in 1999, in which he was interviewed by Mark Lawson.[4]

Planer guest-starred in "The Pale Horse",[5] a 2010 episode of Agatha Christie's Marple. In 2011's The Hunt for Tony Blair, he played Peter Mandelson.

In 1998-2001, He Was Narrator in UK Dub of First Base and His Friends and William and Millie, Meanwhile Alan Marriott, He Was Narrator in US Dub of First Base and His Friends and Animal Stories While Alec Baldwin Narrator William and Millie and Thomas and Friends - Series 5-6.

Planer's 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, Death in Paradise (TV series) and Gary Wilmot's Songs from the Shows. He also guest-starred in an episode of This is Jinsy entitled "Nameworm", and in the BBC series Boomers. Planer played Matt LeBlanc's lawyer in the TV series Episodes.

Leading roles on television include Shine on Harvey Moon, Filthy, Rich and Catflap, The Grimleys, King and 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.

Theatre[change | change source]

His first break in the theatre was understudying David Essex as Che Guevara in the original West End run of Evita.

Planer played Amos Hart in the original London cast of Chicago.

He played Pop in the original West End cast of Ben Elton's Queen musical We Will Rock You.

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.

In 2006, he was 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.

In 2009, he took over the role of Wilbur in the West End production of Hairspray.[6]

In 2010, Planer returned to the role of the narrator in the UK Tour of The Rocky Horror Show, playing in Cambridge and Northampton. He reprised the role of Wilbur in Manchester and Leeds. He was in Doctor Who: Live touring the UK, as Vorgenson The Inter-Galactic Showman. He then played Captain Hook in Pantomime at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield.

In 2013, Planer starred as Grandpa Joe in the original production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in London's West End.[7]

From September 2018 to November 2018, Planer toured with Ade Edmondson in a play that they wrote together called Vulcan 7.[8]

Film[change | change source]

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

Music[change | change source]

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

In 1984, as Neil from The Young Ones, Planer had a number two hit single called "Hole in My Shoe". This had originally been 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 toured Neil's stage act 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.

In 1986, The Young Ones appeared on Cliff Richard's charity rerecording of "Living Doll". This spent three weeks at number one in the UK. Planer 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, of Dodson and Fogg, and Roger Planer.

In 2017 he recorded two songs for the album Wit & Whimsy - Songs by Alexander S. Bermange. One he performed solo and one featured all of the album's 23 artists. It reached No. 1 in the iTunes comedy album chart.

Voice acting[change | change source]

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[change | change source]

(the number in brackets indicates the order of the book in the Discworld series)

Other voice roles[change | change source]

Planer was 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.

Planer voiced Frodo in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil from the 1992 radio series Tales from the Perilous Realm. He was a narrator in a direct-to-video version of Val Biro's Gumdrop book series in 1994. He also narrated two short surreal monologues on the album In A Strange Slumber, by Dodson and Fogg, Chris Wade's progressive folk rock project.

Planer narrated as a thirty-something Adrian Mole in the radio adaptation of Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years.

In 2018, he voiced the character of Henry Davenant Hythe in the Big Finish Productions original production, Jeremiah Bourne in Time, which he also wrote.

Credits[change | change source]

His television comedy and satire work includes:

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.

Discography[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Edinburgh Napier University News: Young Ones star among honorary graduates". Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  2. Johnson, David (1 January 1981). "Something Funny is Happening in Stripland". Over21, page 36, republished at Shapersofthe80s. London. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  3. "French and Saunders: Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan". Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  4. "Mark Lawson talks to ... Nicholas Craig". BBC. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  5. "Agatha Christie's Marple: The Pale Horse". ITV. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  6. Ball and Jones Extend Run in London Hairspray; Planer and Rushworth to Join Cast Archived 22 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Cast of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory". Whats On Stage. 11 January 2013. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  8. "Vulcan 7 | 2018 UK Tour | Dates | Casting | What's on". 10 June 2018. Archived from the original on 3 December 2019. Retrieved 3 December 2019.

Other websites[change | change source]