Alistair McGowan: Biography highlights
Alistair McGowan is probably best known to British audiences for The Big Impression which was, for four years, one of BBC1’s top-rating comedy programmes – winning numerous awards, including a BAFTA. In 2017, he releases ‘Alistair McGowan ; The Piano Album’ with Sony Classics.
Full biography of Alistair McGowan
Alistair McGowan’s Background
- Comedian, actor, impressionist and singer, Alistair McGowan is a born entertainer
- A star of the stage who has played leading roles in TV shows such as Mayo on the BBC
- A true sports fan, he wrote and hosted You Cannot Be Serious
- An ambassador to WWF-UK, McGowan is outspoken about his views concerning environmental protection
- McGowan brings laughter to awards ceremonies and after dinner events and presents in English
As a comedian, he has appeared on countless shows since 1992 including : Des O’ Connor Tonight, Auntie’s Sporting Bloomers, Standing Room Only, Oddballs, Sports Personality of The Year, Hangar 17, Comedy Rocks, The Comedy Annual, Packing Them In, The Clive James Television Show, Under The Moon, and Football Focus. From 1992-1996, he provided the voices for many of the characters on Spitting Image.
He was a regular feature on Radio 4 comedy shows including: Elvenquest, Weekending, The Nick Revell Show, Life, Death and Sex With Mike and Sue, First Impressions, The Young Postmen, Hair In The Gate, The Harpoon and he co-wrote and starred in four series of The Game’s Up (a satirical sports show) on Radio Five.
His interest in sport saw him release two football comedy videos which became cult-viewing in the nineties : Football Backchat and The Second Leg. And, in 2011, he acheived a life-long ambition when he was part of Five Live’s commentary team at Wimbledon.
He has also taken part in several one-night gala performances including Our House at The Savoy and Follies at The Royal Albert Hall and took part in the BBC Proms in 2016 reading the work of Erik Satie, alongside French pianist, Alexandre Tharaud.
As an actor, on television, he played Spock in Tim Firth’s Preston Front, Mr Kenge in Bleak House and the title role in the quirky detective show Mayo (co-writing several later episodes). He featured in Skins as a South African rugby teacher and as the evil Piero de Medici in 13-part CBBC drama Leonardo. He appeared alongside Dougreay Scott in The Words of Captain Scott and also narrated The Falklands Most Daring Raid for Channel 4.
He has hosted Have I Got News For You? appeared as one of the grumpy old men in Grumpy Guides , has presented features on The One Show, sat in Dictionary Corner on Countdown, was a winning contestant on ‘Bake Off For Comic Relief’ and ‘Pointless Celebrities’ and has also taken part in ‘The Chase’, ‘A Question of Sport’,’Celebrity Mastermind’ and represented Leeds University on ‘Celebrity University Challenge’. He took part in ’24 Hours In The Past’ (alongside Colin Jackson and Anne Widdicombe) in which he had to live for a week as a Victorian, consigned children and tattoos to the vaults on ‘Room 101’, and has been featured on the hugely popular Who Do You Think You Are?
He has written A Matter of Life and Death ; How To Wean A Man Off Football with Ronni Ancona – an autobiographical comedy self-help book about football as an addiction.
His first stage-play, Timing, received a nomination for ‘Best New Comedy’ in the whatsonstage.com awards 2010. He has also directed Semi-Monde by Noel Coward at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2008, The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance for Raymond Gubbay. He devised the show Cocktails With Coward which he performed with his wife, Charlotte Page, for a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival in 2009 and at the Riverside Studios in 2010. The show was later revived under the name Sincerely Noel, toured and enjoyed a week at The Crazy Coqs in 2013.
As a pianist, he has performed in an all-night performance of Erik Satie’s Vexations in the 2016 Cheltenham Music Festival and played Grieg and Satie at Birmingham Town Hall in their 2017 ‘All-nighter’ and he has played at King’s Place in three concerts for Lucy Parham with whom he has also twice performed as Rachmaninov in her words and music show, ‘Elegy’.
A keen environmentalist, Alistair has never yet owned a car. He also played a key part in the saving and restoration of the art-deco cinema, The Regal, in his home-town of Evesham.