Roxanne Pallett: The Punchgate Scandal and Other Aspects of Her Life

Who is Roxanne Pallett?

Roxanne Pallett is a famous English actress who has also worked as a broadcaster previously. Roxanne Pallett is renowned for playing the role of Jo Sugden on ITV’s Emmerdale between 2005 and 2008. Roxanne Pallett also became famous for appearing in a string of horror  movies such as Lake Placid 3 (2010), Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (2014) and Devil’s Tower (2014).

Where was Roxanne Pallett born?

Roxanne Pallett was born in Carlisle, Cumbria on December 26th 1982. Roxanne Pallett was raised in the town of Currock by her mother and grandmother. She has Italian ancestry from her mother’s side while her father is from Iran.

What is the name of Roxanne Pallett’s band?

In her last year at university, Roxanne Pallett co-founded the all-girl band Urban Angel, writing songs for them with producer, ex-East 17 member and Ivor Novello award winner Tony Mortimer. Roxanne Pallett landed a recording deal soon after that and spent a year developing her music in London and co-creating a TV show.

When did Roxanne Pallett play Jo Sugden in Emmerdale?

Roxanne Pallett auditioned for several roles in Emmerdale and was offered the role of Jo Stiles (which eventually became Jo Sugden). 

During her three years on Emmerdale, she was nominated for several awards, including Sexiest Female, Best Storyline, and Best Actress at The British Soap Awards, the Inside Soap Awards, and the TV Quick Awards.

Roxanne Pallett played the role of Jo Sugden on Emmerdale  between 2005 and 2009. She made her debut appearance on the show as Jo Stiles. She changed her surname after marrying long time resident and farmer Andy Sugden.

Her show’s storyline involved domestic violence at that time and her relationship with her on-screen husband turned very toxic.

As a part of the story, Andy Sugden sent Roxanne Pallett’s character to the hospital on multiple occasions with broken bones.

On one occasion, Roxanne Pallett’s character, Jo Sugden stood up for herself and fought back valiantly to stop her husband’s physical abuse. In an intense fight, Jo Sugden ended up impaling her husband on some farm tools.

After the accident, Andy Sugden lied and claimed that Roxanne Pallett’s character Jo Sugden attacked him without being provoked. However, the truth came out eventually.

Roxanne Pallett’s character Jo Sugden tried to remain in the village following her split with her husband Andy Sugden. However, he refused to let her go, and she was forced to run away from him.

Jo Sugden also released a statement about Andy Sugden’s physical abuse when they were involved in a dispute regarding the custody of their child, Sarah.

What are the reality shows Roxanne Pallett has appeared in?

Roxanne Pallett is a big star in the world of reality television and she has appeared in several reality TV shows such Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes (2005), Soapstar Superstar (2006–07), Dancing on Ice (2009), Celebrity Big Brother (2018), Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls (2018) and Celebrity Coach Trip (2019).

In November 2005, Pallett won a celebrity edition of Stars In Their Eyes as Gloria Estefan, although the programme was never transmitted. During January 2006, Roxanne Pallett also appeared on the ITV entertainment singing show Soapstar Superstar. Roxanne Pallett finished fourth in the event and ended up raising over £70,000 for the Eden Valley Hospice Jigsaw Appeal. Co-incidentally, Roxanne Pallett also met her then partner, actor Richard Fleeshman while she was competing on Soapstar Superstar,. She was also named in the 2006 100 Most Sexiest Women in the World list by FHM in 2006. Pallett went on to do photoshoots for rival magazines Loaded and Maxim.

After leaving Emmerdale, Roxanne Pallett also participated in the fourth season of ITV’s Dancing on Ice in 2009. Roxanne Pallett’s partner was professional ice-dancer Daniel Whiston. She was voted off unanimously by the judges following a skate-off with former Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon, but went onto take part in the show’s spin-off Bolero Anniversary UK Tour.

Scheduled to play the lead role in 2009 Christmas pantomime Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne, she left three weeks into the run following the death of her best friend.

In 2010, Roxanne Pallett also appeared in a guest role for the BBC’s Casualty show. She also made her professional stage debut in Rock Around The Clock, which toured the country until September. In the same year, she also made her film debut in Lake Placid 3. In September 2010, Pallett toured with Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, opposite Nikki Sanderson and Sue Jenkins. In 2012, Pallett played a troubled 17-year old school girl, Shelby Dixon, in BBC’s Waterloo Road, a role that was twelve years younger than the actress herself in real life. That was followed by another guest appearance in Casualty as the psychotic character of Keeley Hyatt. She was also cast as Sarah McColl in British horror film Devil’s Tower, followed by the urban comedy It’s A Lot, in November 2013. Pallett also played Janet Weiss in the 40th anniversary UK tour of The Rocky Horror Show.

In 2016, Roxanne Pallett began a run in the UK touring production of the eighties musical The Wedding Singer based on the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore film of the same name. Roxanne Pallett co-starred with Ray Quinn and Ruth Madoc in the popular stage musical. In April 2017, Pallett unexpectedly left the production mid-way through its run despite positive reviews. In February 2018, Pallett joined local radio station Minster FM as co-host for its weekday breakfast show, after admitting that she had felt unfulfilled and undervalued as an actress for many years. Pallett left the station after seven months, following her appearance on Celebrity Big Brother.

In August 2018, whilst participating in the twenty-second series of Celebrity Big Brother, Pallett falsely accused fellow housemate Ryan Thomas of punching her. She later slept in the spare bedroom, after she claimed that she felt uncomfortable sleeping in the same room as him. Following the incident, Thomas was given a formal warning, and maintained that he did it with “no malice”. However, Pallett branded him a “liar”, and a “woman beater”. She subsequently decided to leave the house in the early hours of Day 17 (1 September 2018). Two days after leaving the house, on 3 September 2018, she returned for an interview with show host Emma Willis, which was shown during that night’s eviction programme, where she apologised, stating she had made a “horrible mistake” and said that she wanted to be forgiven for her actions. The incident, which generated more than 25,000 viewer complaints to Ofcom, was dubbed “punchgate” by some sections of the press.

In September 2018, Pallett appeared on the third series of Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, which was filmed in May. She left in the first episode after the camp fire smoke reminded her of a childhood house fire and she suffered a panic attack as a result. After waking in the night in a panic, Roxanne Pallett told all her camp mates: “Smoke that nearly killed my family in a house fire when I was 16, the smoke, the smell is taking me back to that time.” Another misfortune on the Island which Roxanne Pallett endured was getting her leg caught in a fishing net and having to be cut free by other camp mates.

In 2019, Roxanne Pallett appeared on the fourth series of Celebrity Coach Trip.

Is there a rose named after Roxanne Pallett?

Cheshire-based grower C&K Jones showcased a new rose during the 2007 Southport Flower Show. The deep red hybrid rose was named after Roxanne Pallett and it was known as Rosa Roxanne Pallett.

Why did Roxanne Pallett split from her fiancé?

In January 2019, her fiancé Lee Walton dumped her, according to a report published in The Sun.

According to a source close to Roxanne Pallett: “Roxanne’s whole life appears to have fallen apart in the past six months.

Professionally, no one wants to touch her and now her personal life is in tatters.

“She and Lee got very serious very quickly but it has ended completely. She is gutted.”

Roxanne Pallett got engaged to the steelworker Lee Walton just six days after the pair met in the summer of 2017. The couple started talking on Instagram over a mutual love for Elvis Presley.

Lee Walton famously stood by Roxanne Pallett during her infamous “punchgate” scandal in the Celebrity Big Brother house. While in the CBB house, Roxanne Pallett was involved in an alleged punching row with co-resident Ryan Thomas. Roxane Pallett also became close friends with Married At First Sight star Ben Jardine.

As per various reports, Lee Walton has moved on from Roxanne Pallett and was spotted taking a mystery blonde out for dinner with his parents in his hometown of Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

When was Roxanne Pallett in a car crash?

During a stock car race on July 18th 2018, Roxanne Pallett crashed at high speeds into a concrete wall. Luckily she survived the crash.

The horrific accident occurred at the Hunmanby Raceway near Scarborough, Yorks. Roxanne Pallett blacked out for 30 seconds after the crash.

She was airlifted 41 miles to Hull Royal Infirmary after firefighters spent two hours trying to cut open the wreckage and rescue her.

Roxanne Pallett was involved in a race with Ben Fry, her Minster FM breakfast show co-host. The race was held in promotion for the Outlaw Gold Top Shootout event scheduled on August 11th.

What is Roxanne Pallett up to after the CBB ‘punchgate’ scandal with Ryan Thomas?

After suffering a major blow to her TV and film career after the “punchgate” scandal, Roxanne Pallett has been considering a normal job.

According to a source that spoke to OK! Magazine: “Rox knows a TV comeback is not going to happen anytime soon, if ever.

But eventually she’s going to need to work again and is now thinking about where that next cheque will come from.

She would like to just get a normal job but she’s still too recognisable for that at the moment so she’s having to be a bit more careful with her spending.

Roxanne Pallett’s last TV show appearance was during an episode of Celebrity Coach Trip on E4. However, that episode was filmed before she entered the Celebrity Big Brother house.

21 Unusual Things to See and Do in London

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Excerpt from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

When people think of London and its chief tourist attractions, they usually talk about the Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Trafalgar Square etc. However, the grand old capital of the United Kingdom has far more to offer than the usual tourist hotspots. As the excerpt from the Robert Frost poem says, sometimes taking the road less travelled by, makes all the difference. Similarly, trying out a few or all of the 21 places mentioned in this post will help you experience London in a different manner than most tourists. Oh, and just to point out, this list isn’t only meant for visitors. It can also be used by the Londoners who have been blissfully unaware of the hidden wonders of this great city. 

One of the most interesting things about London is that there’s always something new and interesting to discover. It can range from London’s secret spots such as the hidden noses and ears in Covent Garden or someplace unique restaurant which takes its patrons to a hitherto unknown places, like the coffee shop set up inside a Victorian public toilet.

Here are 21 unusual things to see and do in London:

1. Take a look at some of the world’s best street art

East London has been a hub for some of the world’s best street artists for a long time. While street art keeps changing, the streets around Shoreditch and Hackney are awash with colour and life. If you’re not sure where to start, book a street-art tour and drown in some artistic brilliance.

2. Get spooked at the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

It’s Halloween all year round at the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies. It’s run by the charity Ministry of Stories. It’s a charity which encourages children to write. The shop has everything a horror buff could want – salt made from tears of sorrow, cubed earwax (fudge) and jars of daylight (a solar-cell LED light) – for ‘the monster in your life or afterlife’. It’s a great place to visit for those who want to find unusual gifts and support a good cause at the same time.

3. Drop by the Last Tuesday Society

The Last Tuesday Society is a Victorian wormhole full of unusual curiosities in Hackney. Well, it’s all of those, and it’s where you can learn the art of taxidermy, should you wish to. Otherwise known as Viktor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors, the Last Tuesday Society has an array of strange and quirky items to see, from skulls to dildos. Oh, and there’s a bar as well, since you might be in need of a drink after taking all this eccentricity in.

4. Go kayaking on the river Thames

The river Thames might look murky and brown, and you definitely wouldn’t want to fall in (a lot of the city’s sewage flows in it afterall), but kayaking is a fun way to get up very close to the iconic London river. Kayaking London takes out small groups every day around the Houses of Parliament or in Little Venice in Paddington.

5. Ride on the subterranean railway

No, this isn’t about London’s famous subway system (known as the Tube). This is about the Postal Museum, which has brought back to life one of the railways that snaked under London. These lin3s once used to deliver letters when there were only two deliveries required per day. The journey takes you from the former engineering depot of Mail Rail, the 100-year-old Post Office railway, into the original tunnels, and is combined with a theatrical experience.

6. Glow under the neon lights of God’s Own Junkyard

If you love neon and can’t get enough of it, London’s psychedelic God’s Own Junkyard is a must visit for you. The gallery, which is located inside an industrial estate, contains everything from old Soho sex-shop signs to props used in fashion shoots. Walking around the colourful space is a truly cool experience. If you love sharing cool images on social media, the God’s Own Junkyard is one of the more Instagrammable places in London. It even has its own café, The Rolling Scones Café. God’s Own Junkyard is only open at weekends and entrance is free.

7. Explore the ancient Roman temple dedicated to Mithras (London Mithraeum)

London is a really old city. The roots of this amazing city date back to nearly 2,000 years ago. London was already a town before the Romans descended on Britain. They made it a fortified city and brought their mystical beliefs with them. The temple of one of their gods, Mithras, was discovered in 1954, and today the London Mithraeum has its own museum below Bloomberg’s European headquarters. The temple has been restored to look the way it did when it was first excavated, and is showcased in a presentation that uses lighting design, audio recordings and haze. Entrance is free but prior booking is essential as the place fills up fast.

8. Sip on some tea at a 300-year old tea shop

No one loves tea more than the Brits, right? London used to practically run on the stuff and the Twinings Café (yes the world famous tea brand ) on the Strand has seen some changes since it opened in 1706. Twining was one of the first merchants to bring tea to the UK and it’s been providing the royal households with brews since 1837.

9. Check out the dreaded cholera pump of Soho

Blink and you’ll miss the water pump in Soho that helped to cure cholera. The water-borne disease caused mass fatalities in London, until local doctor John Snow traced an outbreak back to this pump in 1854. Before this, people believed cholera was transmitted through the air. Pop into the John Snow pub (not related to Game Of Thrones in any way) nearby to raise a pint to the good doctor who saved thousands of lives.

10. Sip on some coffee in a Victorian era toilet at the Attendant

The Attendant chain has a number of cafés in the city, but it’s the Fitzrovia one that is the most eccentric on and the one you wouldn’t want to miss. In Victorian times the space was a public toilet, and the old urinals are now a main focal point of the interior (but don’t worry, they’ve been cleaned). The beautiful wrought-iron entrance is another reason to visit the café, which looks so authentic that baristas say they regularly have to turn away people who think it’s still a functioning public toilet. No, we aren’t taking a piss here, it was indeed a toilet once.

11. Walk along The Line

The Line is a great sculpture and art walk. It stretches from the fresh green spaces of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London down to The O2 in Greenwich, unveils a host of exciting public artworks along the Meridian Line. It’s the perfect way to get some exercise, see London’s waterways (you cross the Thames in a cable car at one point) and enjoy works by artists including Damien Hirst and Antony Gormley. The whole walk takes about two and a half hours, and there’s a whole lotta things to see along the way.

12. Break into England’s oldest prison

The Clink Prison Museum, just off the South Bank, has a long history of locking people up. The clink (a nickname for ‘jail’) operated from the 12th to the 18th century. Today you are free to leave, but not before being shown round by actors in costume who bring the grisly past to life.

13. Swim in the Hampstead Heath ponds

London has a surprising number of outdoor pools and lidos that are perfect for both summer swims to beat the heat and brisk freezing winter dips. Some of the best outdoor pools of the city can be found on Hampstead Heath, where the bathing ponds and the lido are open for swimmers all year round. Taking in the wilderness in the middle of London with an early morning swim is a lovely, calm way to exercise and tune yourself with nature. Opening and closing hours depend on the season, so make sure to check the website, but the ponds usually open for public use at 7am.

14. Check out Europe’s oldest surviving surgical theatre

South London’s Old Operating Theatre Museum is Europe’s oldest surviving surgical theatre.. The charity showcases how surgeries were made before we had anaesthetics and antiseptics, and the attic space also houses herbs that were used for medicines. It’s a fascinating place to visit, and makes you very grateful for modern medicine. To help visitors get a real feel for how operations were done in the 1800s, there are surgical demonstrations every weekend.

15. Spend a night at the London Zoo

Visitors to Zoological Society of London Zoo have the option of staying behind when the gates shut by booking an overnight experience in one of the venue’s new lodges. Guests will get an after-dark tour, a drink, dinner and exclusive experiences (there’s even an early-morning fry-up if you make it through the night).

16. Visit the quirky Leighton House Museum

Escape the typical museum crowds and head for something a little more offbeat. London’s full of quirky museums, and the Leighton House Museum is certainly one of them. Once the home of Sir Frederic Leighton, it’s decorated in an Art Nouveau-meets-East style – complete over-the-top Victorian palatial folly.

17. Explore the tranquil beauty of The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven isn’t just a 1960s Western and a Quentin Tarantino flick, it’s also the collective name of the seven large Victorian cemeteries dotted around London: Kensal Green Cemetery, West Norwood Cemetery, Highgate Cemetery, Abney Park Cemetery, Nunhead Cemetery, Brompton Cemetery and Tower Hamlets Cemetery. Originally introduced to help relieve the city’s small, overflowing burial grounds in the 19th century, today the cemeteries are beautifully overgrown and havens for wildlife. Choose one of them to walk around, and make sure to find out if anyone famous is buried there before visiting. Highgate Cemetery is where you’ll find the grave of Karl Marx.

18. Check out the Wellcome Collection

Described as “the free destination for the incurably curious,” The Wellcome Collection has been fascinating the public since it first opened its doors in 1936, and has a specific focus on the connections between art, life and medicine.

This intriguing museum houses everything from Napoleon’s toothbrush to hearing aids and keyholes, and in the past has hosted exhibits on the natural power of electricity, “adventures in refrigeration” and even mental asylums and quack remedies. Visitors can purchase their own audio guide to listen to as they stroll around the building, and the museum even offers guided tours as well.

19. Visit the House of Dreams

The House of Dreams is an embodiment of the common saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Each and every inch and corner of this unconventional museum is covered with all sorts of different forgotten and unloved objects. These objects include things like old Christmas crackers, broken toys, religious objects from Mexico, and much more.

The museum was founded by the local mosaic artist Stephen Wright (known for his mosaic decoration outside the Blue Mountain Cafe), who decided to transform the ground floor of his home into a dizzying display of countless objects that the average person would consider trash. (Wright still resides in this building to this very day, and often conducts tours for visitors).

The House of Dreams is only opens for visitors on three days in a year, July 25th, August 29th and September 26th. It’s open from 11 AM to 4 PM. Iif you are planning on visiting this incredible place, make sure you arrive extra early as the building can get quite crowded very quickly.

20. Take the Sky Garden Walk

Are you itching to see panoramic views of the London skyline but don’t have the money to shell out on a visit up The Shard? Well you’ll be happy to hear that The Sky Garden lets its visitors enjoy stunning views of London from 155 metres above for literally no cost at all!

In The Sky Garden, all of the views of London are labelled on the glass so you can learn more about the different buildings you can expect to see during your visit, and there’s also a picturesque rainforest garden you can stroll around as well.

Sky Garden itself is open from 10 AM to 6 PM on weekdays, and 11 AM to 9 PM on weekends, but its restaurants are open seven days a week from 7 AM to 1 AM, all of which provide unlimited access to the gardens. Given its popularity, it’s highly recommended that you book a spot online beforehand, and make sure you bring some form of photo ID during your visit as well.

21. Visit the house of Dennis Severs

Travel back in time and immerse yourself with the smells, sounds and sights of historic London in this thought-provoking Spitalfields museum. This incredible museum gives its visitors a bird’s eye view of what life in London would have been hundreds of years ago.

The museum was founded by Dennis Severs, who was looking for a spot to serve as a sort of “canvas” for his own artistic imagination. Over the years Severs has redesigned the home with only antique decorations and furnishing, without equipping it with any modern-day technology or electricity.

Visitors can walk around the various rooms inside the home (which include the cellar, kitchen, dining room, smoking room and bedrooms) and look at half-eaten plates of food on the table, jackets thrown over chairs, and even the smell the food cooking in the kitchen. The museum is especially unique in that visitors must stroll around the various areas of the building in silence so they can imagine how the original inhabitants of the house would have lived hundreds of years in the past.

The house offers three separate events for the visitors to choose from, with varying motifs and prices. Those events are:

Sunday “Daytime” events – 12 PM to 4 PM, £10 per person

Monday “Lunchtime” events – 12 PM to 2 PM, £10 per person

“Silent Night” events – These events are really special and only happen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the Christmas and Holiday season. The Silent Night events run between 5 PM and 9 PM and can cost as much as £60 per person.

Timothy Spall: The Life and Career of the Legendary English Thespian

Who is Timothy Spall?

Timothy Leonard Spall OBE is a legendary and revered English character actor. On occasions, Timothy Spall has also served as a presenter on television and award show. After a slew of small but significant roles, Timothy Spall was cast as Barry Spencer Taylor in the hit 1983 comedy-drama show Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. The ITV show went on to become a huge hit, making Timothy Spall a household name all across England.

When was Timothy Spall born?

Timothy Spall, who is the third of four sons, was born in Battersea, London on February 27th, 1957. Timothy Spall’s father, Joseph L. Spall worked in the post office while his mother, Sylvia Spall (née Leonard) worked as a hairdresser. Timothy Spall trained at the National Youth Theatre and RADA, where he went on to win the Bancroft Gold Medal for being adjudged the most promising actor in his year.

Timothy Spall started making a mark in the world of theatre by starting to perform in productions for the Birmingham Rep. Later on, Timothy Spall went on to perform for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Some of the plays that Timothy Spall performed in included The Knight of the Burning Pestle, The Merry Wives of WindsorThree Sisters, and Nicholas Nickleby.

Timothy Spall made his silver screen debut in the film Quadrophenia. That led to a big boost in his popularity. However, Timothy Spall truly became a household name in England after he played the role of the awkward Barry Taylor in all four series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

What are some of Timothy Spall’s career achievements?

Timothy Spall received critical acclaim for his performance in Secrets & Lies (1996), for which he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Subsequently, Timothy Spall starred in many films, including Hamlet (1996), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Enchanted (2007), The Damned United (2009), The King’s Speech (2010), Ginger and Rosa (2012), Denial (2016), and The Party (2017). Timothy Spall also gained international acclaim for his role as Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter films.

Timothy Spall has famously collaborated with director Mike Leigh, making six films together, including Home Sweet Home (1982), Life is Sweet (1990), Secrets & Lies (1996), Topsy-Turvy (1999), All or Nothing (2002), and Mr. Turner (2014). In 2019 he appeared as Lord Arthur Wallington in the acclaimed 6-part BBC Cold War drama “Summer of Rockets”. Between the years 2010 and 2012, Timothy Spall also starred in a television documentary featured around him sailing over the sea. The documentary was aptly named Timothy Spall: …at Sea. Timothy Spall also won the Best Actor award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for portraying the character of J. M. W. Turner in Mike Leigh’s biographical film Mr. Turner.

Timothy Spall also played the role of Kevin in Outside Edge. He also played Aubrey the appalling chef in Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet.

In the year 1991, Timothy Spall also guest starred in the “Back to Reality” episode of the fifth season of Red Dwarf.

In the year 1993, Timothy Spall also played a guest role in Rab C. Nesbitt , the popular Scottish comedy series .

Timothy Spall has also appeared in numerous popular films such as CrusoeSecrets & LiesShooting the PastTopsy-TurvyVanilla SkyRock StarAll or NothingThe Last SamuraiLemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and The King’s Speech.

Which character did Timothy Spall play in Harry Potter?

If Barry Taylor in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet made Timothy Spall a household name in England, his role as Peter Pettigrew/Wormtail in the multi billion dollar Harry Potter film series made him a household name worldwide.

Timothy Spall performed lead vocals on the song “The Devil is an Englishman” from the Ken Russell film Gothic (1986), in which Spall portrayed John William Polidori.

Timothy Spall was also cast to play the starring role of Albert Pierrepoint in the popular 2005 film Pierrepoint. That movie was released with the alternate title of The Last Hangman in the United States of America.

Which character did Timothy Spall play in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories?

Timothy Spall also voiced a video game character in the famous video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. Timothy Spall voiced the manager of legendary British singer Phil Collins, Barry Mickelthwaite.

In 2007, Timothy Spall starred as Nathaniel in Disney’s Enchanted and Beadle Bamford in Tim Burton’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Timothy Spall also made an appearance in an one-off television drama The Fattest Man in Britain on ITV 1 as Georgie Godwin. The feature premiered on December 20th, 2009. The feature presentation also starred Bobby Ball, Frances Barber, Aisling Loftus and Jeremy Kyle.

When was Timothy Spall given the OBE?

Timothy Spall was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours.

Which character did Timothy Spall play in The King’s Speech?

In the year 2010, Timothy Spall was cast as Winston Churchill in the critically revered movie, The King’s Speech. As a part of the movie’s ensemble cast, Timothy Spall won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

During the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London, Timothy Spall reprised the role of Winston Churchill.

In the year 2012, Timothy Spall starred alongside Vanessa Kirby and Matthew Lewis in Wasteland (which was released as The Rise in Britain).

The movie was screened in April 2013 during the Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach, California.

Timothy Spall was also cast to play the role of Charlie Morgan in the 2012 movie Comes a Bright Day.

For his role as J.M.W. Turner in the Mike Leigh directed film Mr. Turner, Timothy Spall was awarded the Best Actor Award during the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

Between March 29th and May 14th 2016, Timothy Spall appeared as Davies during the performance of Harold Pinter’s play, The Caretaker. The play was performed at the Old Vic theatre in London opposite George MacKay and Daniel Mays. The play was directed by Matthew Warchus.

What age is Timothy Spall?

Timothy Spall is 62 years old.

How many children does Timothy Spall have?

Timothy Spall and his wife Shane Spall have three children: Pascale (born 1976), Rafe (born 1983), who is also an actor, and Mercedes (born 1985). He lives in Forest Hill, south east London.

Timothy is the proud owner of a Dutch barge that he and his wife used to sail around the British Isles as a part of the BBC Four TV series Timothy Spall: Back at Sea.

What illness did Timothy Spall have?

In 1996, Timothy Spall was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, but has since been in remission. He has said of his illness:

I didn’t know what made me ill but stress had something to do with it and the point is now to head off stress at the pass. It made me aware of things and become more selective. I am less worried about employment. I really do my homework so I am not getting stressed on the set because I don’t know what I’m doing.

Timothy Spall weight loss

Timothy Spall weight loss

Timothy Spall has spent a majority of his professional career as a person who was slightly overweight. However, Timothy Spall was photographed looking extremely slim in the year 2017. The change was so drastic that a lot of his fans were concerned about his health. Timothy Spall attributed his weight loss to a desire to be healthier and regulating his food and alcohol content. Speaking on the matter, Timothy Spall said:

“I wanted to change my lifestyle and lose weight. And it’s done what I’d always hoped it might.

As a character actor, it’s put me in a position where I’m not hobbled by being a certain shape. 

I’m no longer that avuncular round bloke. It does feel liberating on many levels.”

The great thing is that you get more time and can be a lot more creative. You get more time to develop the character, and really be part of the centre of the piece.

When you’re seriously ill, it gives you a certain sense of profundity.

“All the day-to-day inconveniences and annoyances count for nothing when you might not make it through.

“When you come out the other side, however, you realise that all those little daily aggravations are actually the texture of life, so you need to make the most of them.

“Even when it’s people continually asking me, ‘Are you all right now?’ Which I am, of course.

Famous Timothy Spall quotes:

It doesn’t bother me one iota that most of my career has been playing people who are not that – well, let’s say that people wouldn’t aspire to be like them.

“Life is not all about profundity. Life is about little things that piss you off, little triumphs, little defeats. So, you can’t spend all your time being profound.”

“You can make as many films as you like, but if nobody wants to put them on, what’s the point?”

“You can’t live your life in a state of profundity, because you’re never going to get anything done, and you’re just profound.”

“There’s nothing like the knowledge of being hanged in the morning to concentrate the mind wonderfully.”

“There’s nothing like a little bit of unemployment to kick the stuffing out of you when things are going well.”

“I was always insecure about the way I looked.”

“I know what I like when I see it, but no way have I ever become interested in learning about it.”

“Imagination is a beast that has to be put in a cage.”

“Never fear being a petty fool it means you ain’t dying”

“I’m working class, and want people to know I’m not unintelligent and all the other clichés that come with it.”

“I know I work quite hard at making people like me.”

Peter Andre: Who is He, Who was He Married To and What Did He Say About the Brit Awards?

Who is Peter Andre?

Peter Andre, born Peter James Andrea is a famous English-born Australian singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, and television personality.

Peter Andre first shot to fame as a singer. He released superhit singles such as “Mysterious Girl” and “Flava ” and became one of the most popular singers in the world. Peter Andre is also renowned for making an appearance on the third season of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, along with the thirteenth season of Strictly Come Dancing, during which he partnered with Janette Manrara.

Who was Peter Andre Married to?

While Peter Andre appeared on I’m A Celebrity, he developed an on-screen romantic relationship with fellow contestant, glamour model Katie Price aka Jordan. Peter Andre and Katie Price tied the knot two years after the show’s finale. The couple went on to have two children. While they were married, Peter Andre and Katie Price released the album A Whole New World together in 2006. Sadly, the couple divorced in the year 2009.

After his divorce in the year 2009, Peter Andre released the album Revelation with the single “Behind Closed Doors”. The single peaked at No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart. He followed that album’s success with his sixth album Accelerate, which was released in 2010.

Where was Peter Andre born?

Peter Andre was born on February 27th 1973 in the Harrow locality of London. Peter Andre’s descent is from the countries of Greece and Cyprus. During the year 1979, when Peter Andre was six years old, his family relocated to Sydney, Australia. Three years later, Peter Andre’s family settled on Australia’s Gold Coast.

When he was 11 years old, Peter Andre finished second behind Wade Robson in a dancing competition. The winner got a chance to meet the King of Pop Michael Jackson.

During the year 1989, a 16-year-old Peter Andre participated in an Australian talent show called New Faces. After winning that talent show, Peter Andre was rewarded with a recording contract for $146,000. Around the time that he received his first record deal, Peter Andre used to live in a beachside apartment in Surfers Paradise. He was a student of the Benowa State High School on the Gold Coast during that time as well. Peter Andre was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but he doesn’t follow it anymore.

How did Peter Andre start his music career?

During the early 90s, Peter Andre started establishing himself in the Australian music scene. Peter Andre released his debut single, “Drive Me Crazy” in the year 1992. The single went on to peak at number 72 on the Australian singles chart. However, Peter Andre achieved his musical breakthrough with the help of his second single, “Gimme Little Sign”. That song climbed all the way to number 3 on the Australian singles chart and spent a grand total of 31 weeks on the charts. During the year 1993, Peter Andre won an ARIA Award for the highest-selling Australian single of the year. Peter Andre’s second studio album was released worldwide on September 30th 1996. The album was a hit and it topped the UK Albums Chart. The super hit album included the hit single (and Peter Andre’s most famous song) “Mysterious Girl”. That song peaked at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. After achieving such incredible success in the UK, he re-located over there during the mid-90s.

How did Peter Andre meet Katie Price?

Peter Andre started dating British glamour model Katie Price aka Jordan after meeting her on the set of the famous reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! during the early part of the year 2004. Peter Andre and Katie Price decided to get engaged in secret in May. Their engagement wasn’t announced to the public until months later. Peter Andre and Katie Price formally tied the knot on September 10th 2005 in Highclere Castle, Hampshire. During their marriage, Peter Andre and Katie Price had two children: son Junior Savva, who was born on June 13th 2005, and daughter Princess Tiaamii Crystal Esther, who was two years later on June 29th 2007. Prior to her marriage to Peter Andre, Katie Price had a son Harvey, from a previous relationship with English Premier League football player Dwight Yorke. Peter Andre served as Harvey’s stepfather while he was married to Katie Price.

After three and a half years of marriage, the couple became estranged in May 2009 and started living separately. They signed on the divorce papers in September 2009.

While they were married, Peter Andre and Katie Price launched the Katie & Peter franchise on ITV2. The franchise documented all the aspects of the couple’s life together. The franchise went on to include several fly-on-the-wall reality series which comprised When Jordan Met PeterJordan & Peter: Laid Bare and Jordan & Peter: Marriage and Mayhem (2004–05); Katie & Peter: The Next ChapterKatie & Peter: The Baby Diaries and Katie & Peter: Unleashed (2007); Katie & Peter: Down Under; and Katie & Peter: African Adventures (2008); and Katie & Peter: Stateside in 2009. Following their divorce in the year 2009, the couple recorded individual shows: Peter Andre: The Next Chapter continued on ITV2 until 2011, followed by Peter Andre: Here 2 Help (2011) and Peter Andre: My Life (2011–13).

Three years after his divorce with Katie Price, Peter Andre started a relationship with a young medical student named Emily MacDonagh. On January 8th, 2014, she gave birth to Andre’s third child, a daughter, Amelia aka ‘Millie’. On July 11th 2015, Peter Andre and Emily Macdonagh got married at the Mamhead House in Exeter. A year and a half later, Macdonagh gave birth to the couple’s son, Theodore James aka ‘Theo’ on November 22nd 2016.

What other things has Peter Andre done?

Peter Andre and Jason Manford served as team captains on the popular ITV series Odd One In in July 2010.

Peter Andre also served as a guest judge on the popular ITV entertainment series, Your Face Sounds Familiar in the year 2013.

During the year 2013, Peter Andre also served as a guest-presenter for five episodes of ITV’s Sunday Scoop. Since November 11th 2013, Peter Andre has also been a presenter of 60 Minute Makeover. The show was eventually re-named as Peter Andre’s 60 Minute Makeover.

In 2014, Peter Andre’s lead single from his album Big Night, “Kid” was used in the soundtrack for the film Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

On October 8th 2014, Peter Andre and Jamelia served as co-hosts of the the ITVBe opener.

In the year 2014, Peter Andre also became the new face for the TV commercials of Supermarket Iceland.

Peter Andre has also appeared on the ITV weekly show Give a Pet a Home. The show worked alongside Birmingham’s RSPCA to rescue and rehabilitate abandoned pets.

In September 2015, he appeared in the 13th season of Strictly Come Dancing with Janette Manrara. The team of Andre and Manrara finished seventh in the competition.

What are some of Peter Andre’s most famous albums and songs?

The complete discography of famous British-Australian pop star Peter Andre consists of eleven studio albums, three compilation albums and twenty eight singles. Peter Andre has sales of over 920,000 albums and 1.4 million singles in the UK, making his total UK sales 2,320,000 according to the BPI. His current Australian sales stand at over 1,000,000.

Peter Andre’s debut album Peter Andre was released worldwide on 28 November 1993. The album peaked at number 27 on the Australian Albums Chart. Peter Andre released “Drive Me Crazy” as the Australian lead single in 1992. The album also includes the singles “Gimme Little Sign”, “Funky Junky”, “Let’s Get It On / Do You Wanna Dance?” and “To the Top”. Peter Andre’s second studio album, Natural, was released on 30 September 1996. The album went on to climb to the top spot on the UK Albums Chart. The album spawned the blockbuster superhit single “Mysterious Girl”, which ended up peaking at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. The album also spawned hit singles such as  “Turn It Up”, “Only One”, “Get Down on It”, “Flava”, “I Feel You” and “Natural”. Time, Peter Andre’s third studio album, was released on 17 November 1997. It went on to peak at number 28 on the UK Albums Chart. The album spawned hit singles such as “All About Us”, “Lonely” and “All Night, All Right”. The Long Road Back, Peter Andre’s fourth studio album, was released on 7 June 2004, peaking at number 44 on the UK Albums Chart. He re-released his 1995 single “Mysterious Girl” it peaked at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart. The album also includes the singles “Insania” and “The Right Way”.

A Whole New World, Andre’s fifth studio album, was released on 27 November 2006, peaking at number 20 on the UK Albums Chart. He joined forces with his former wife English model and celebrity Katie Price aka Jordan for the release of the album. Revelation, Peter Andre’s sixth studio album, was released on 14 September 2009, peaking at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart. For the album’s promotion, “Behind Closed Doors” was released as its lead single during August 2009. The single climbed all the way up to number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. That single was followed by the release of “Unconditional” in November 2009. Accelerate, Peter Andre’s seventh studio album, was released on November 1st 2010, debuting at number 10 on the UK Albums Chart. The album marked a distinct change in Peter Andre’s sound and a move towards the urban direction. In October 2010, the song “Defender” was released as the album’s lead single. It went on to peak at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart. “Perfect Night”, the album’s second single peaked at number 48 on the UK Singles Chart after being released in July 2011. Angels & Demons, Peter Andre’s eighth studio album, was released on October 29th 2012 and reached number 18 on the UK Albums Chart. To promote the album, “Bad As You Are” was released as the lead single 22 October 2012. It didn’t chart very well. Big Night, Peter Andre’s ninth studio album, was released on May 26th 2014, peaking at number 23 on the UK Albums Chart. To promote the album, “Kid” was released as the lead single on February 9th 2014. The song only managed to reach number 144 on the UK Singles Chart. Despite its lukewarm performance on the charts, he song was chosen for the DreamWorks animated movie Mr. Peabody & Sherman. It was also used for the Autumn Iceland TV commercials. The album’s second single, “Big Night” was released on April 13th 2014. Come Fly with Me, Peter Andre’s tenth studio album, was released on 15 October 2015. The album debuted at No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart. White Christmas, Andre’s eleventh studio album, was released on 30 October 2015.

Why has Peter Andre criticised the Brit Awards?

After famous music artist Sam Smith decided to self identify as a non binary individual (neither male nor female), the Brit Awards have decided to scrap its gender based award categories from the year 2021. The Brit Awards have traditionally had ‘best male artist’ and ‘best female artist’ categories. However, since Sam Smith came out as non-binary via an Instagram post, the Brit Awards organizers have decided to get rid of the male and female category to accommodate for people like Sam Smith.

This decision didn’t go down very well with Peter Andre. He was fuming at the organising committee’s decision of getting rid of the best male and female artist in favour of a non-gendered category.

Peter Andre said: “I’m fine with Sam and other people identifying themselves however they like, but I don’t agree with getting rid of best male and female categories.

I think it’s all going way too far now. By all means add a brand new gender-neutral category, but what’s wrong with celebrating the exceptional people in the music industry who identify as men and women?

“I don’t get it. The problem is people get offended way too easily nowadays.”

Peter Andre’s opinion is shared by Good Morning Britain’s host Piers Morgan. When Sam Smith had come out as non binary/gender-queer, Piers Morgan had said: “I think it’s just great that time-honoured traditions should be scrapped because one guy can’t decide if he is male or female.

So they are saying they want to accommodate non-binary performers like Sam Smith. Now he’ll enter the non-binary categories.

“The whole point of having gender categories is to make it fair, to make it equal. Now we are going to go the other way.”

Piers Morgan said that he thinks it’s a load of nonsense and suggested that every category at the awards ceremony will need to change now as “that is the way it goes”.

Piers Morgan added: “Well I think it is a load of nonsense. The idea you have to change entire award categories for one guy, it’s nonsense.”

However, a source within the organizers committee told The Sun : “Bosses are listening to changes happening in the industry. The categories will evolve in the coming years.

The male and female categories will still be in place next February but changes are being planned for the following year.

Organisers will be consulting labels and artists alike to work out what is best for the future of the Brits ceremony.”

Who is Sandra ‘Sandi’ Toksvig, How Tall is She and Who is She Married To?

Who is Sandi Toksvig?

Sandra Birgitte ‘Sandi’ Toksvig, is a British-Danish (born in Denmark, acquired British citizenship later) writer, broadcaster, actor and producer on British radio, stage, and television. Sandi Toksvig is also very well known for being a political activist. She is the co-founder the Women’s Equality Party. Throughout her career, Sandi Toksvig has written numerous plays, novels, and books for children. She became the first British public figure to come out as a lesbian in the year 1994.

During the year 2016, Sandi Toksvig took over the hosting duty of the BBC television quiz show QI from Stephen Fry. Prior to that, Sandi Toksvig had spent ten years hosting The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4. In the year 2017, Sandi Toksvig joined comedian Noel Fielding as a co-presenter of The Great British Bake Off.

Sandi Toksvig was installed as Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth in October 2012, and is the president of the Women of the Year Lunch. For her lifelong contributions in the field of broadcasting, Sandi Toksvig was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours.

Where was Sandi Toksvig born?

Sandi Toksvig was born in Denmark on May 3rd 1958. Her father, Claus Toksvig, was a prominent Danish journalist, broadcaster, and foreign correspondent. As a result of her father’s job, Sandi Toksvig spent most of her childhood and youth outside Denmark, with a majority of that time being spent in New York City. Her mother, Julie Anne Toksvig (née Brett), is a British citizen. She has an older brother Nick and a younger sister Jenifer. During the year 1969, Sandi Toksvig’s father covered the Apollo 11’s moon landing mission from the mission control room in Houston. During the landing, Sandi Toksvig tightly clutched the hand of Neil Armstrong’s secretary to fight her nerves. She went to school in Guildford, while her father was based in London. Sandi Toksvig landed her first job at the age of 18, as a follow spot operator for the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

She went to university and studied law, archaeology and anthropology at Girton College, Cambridge. She graduated with a first-class degree and her outstanding achievements were rewarded with The Raemakers and the Theresa Montefiore Awards. During her time at college, one of her law supervisors was Lord Denning.

How tall is Sandi Toksvig?

All avid viewers of The Great British Bake Off must’ve noticed a distinct height difference between Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig.

Sandi Toksvig stands at a diminutive five feet tall. However, in an interview with The Telegraph, she said that she was confused by why so many people were obsessed with her small stature.

She said: “I am five feet tall myself and it is rare that I meet someone new who doesn’t comment on my height. I am curious that the world is so interested but it was ever thus.

What all is Sandi Toksvig known for?

Beginnings

Sandi Toksvig kickstarted her comedy career at Girton. Sandi Toksvig wrote and performed in the historic first all-woman show at the Footlights. Sandi Toksvig was a part of that around the same time as fellow members who went on to become entertainment stars such as Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tony Slattery, and Emma Thompson. Sandi Toksvig also contributed additional material for the Perrier award-winning Footlights Revue. Sandi Toksvig also served as a member of her university’s Light Entertainment Society.

Sandi Toksvig’s television career started with a children’s series. She  presented No. 73 (1982–1986), the Sandwich QuizThe Saturday StarshipMotormouthGilbert’s Fridge, and factual programmes such as Island Race and The Talking Show. The program was produced for Channel 4 by Open Media.

Comedy

As a part of Players, an improvisational comedy team of the Comedy Store in London, Sandi Toksvig performed on the first night.

In television, she appeared as a panellist in comedy shows such as Call My Bluff (a regular as a team captain), Whose Line Is It Anyway?Mock the WeekQI, and Have I Got News for You, where she appeared on the very first episode in 1990. Sandi Toksvig also hosted What the Dickens, a Sky Arts quiz show.

For all BBC Radio 4 listeners, Sandi Toksvig is an extremely familiar voice. Sandi Toksvig has been a part of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a ClueThe Unbelievable Truth, and has served as the chair of The News Quiz, where she replaced Simon Hoggart in September 2006. Sandi Toksvig left the show in June 2015 so that she can focus on entering politics and championing for women’s rights. The first broadcast of her final show took place on June 26th 2015. Sandi Toksvig also served as the presenter for BBC 4’s travel programme Excess Baggage until its cancellation in 2012.

Drama and Factual

In 1993, Sandi Toksvig wrote a musical for the Nottingham Playhouse called Big Night Out at the Little Sands Picture Palace. The musical featured Anita Dobson and Una Stubbs with Sandi Toksvig. In 2002, it was re-written, with Dilly Keane, for the Watford Palace Theatre, in which they appeared with Bonnie Langford.

Toksvig and Elly Brewer wrote a Shakespeare deconstruction, The Pocket Dream, which Toksvig performed at the Nottingham Playhouse and which transferred to the West End for a short run. The aforementioned pair also wrote the 1992 TV series The Big One. Sandi Toksvig starred in that show as well. Sandi Toksvig has made an appearance on numerous stage plays as well. Some of them are Androcles and the LionMuch Ado About Nothing, and The Comedy of Errors.

In the year 1996, she was the narrator for the Dragons! interactive CD-ROM published by the Oxford University Press. The software’s development was carried out by Inner Workings, along with inputs from Harry Enfield. The Dragons! interactive software was mainly aimed towards children and featured numerous songs and poems associated with dragons. Sandi Toksvig was also the narrator for Winnie the Witch CD-ROM. She also made an appearance in the 2006 Doctor Who audio drama Red produced Big Finish Productions. I n December of 2006, she hosted and sang at Make the Yuletide Gay, a London Gay Men’s Chorus sold-out Christmas show, performed at the Barbican Centre. During Christmas and New Year 2007-2008, Sandi Toksvig narrated the pantomime Cinderella at London’s Old Vic Theatre. In October 2011 at the Queen’s Theatre, London, Sandi Toksvig narrated the new musical Soho Cinders. In the year 2011, Sandi Toksvig went on to host the second season of BBC Two’s Antiques Master.

Sandi Toksvig also wrote a play on post-traumatic stress among members of the British military. The play was called Bully Boy. The play premièred at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton in May 2011, and starred Anthony Andrews. The play then launched the debut season of St James Theatre in September 2012, the first new West End theatre to open in 30 years.

In the 2013 Christmas Special of BBC’s Call the Midwife, Sandi Toksvig made a cameo appearance as grumpy ward nurse Sister Gibbs.

On 28 April 2015, Sandi Toksvig’s departure from BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz was announced. She was going to leave the show in June at the end of the 28th series, which was scheduled to begin on May 15th of that year. She said: “I have decided it is time to move on and, of course, I feel sad but I think it’s the right moment. The show is in great shape and, like a good house guest, you should always depart when people still wish you’d stay a bit longer.” According to the BBC, Sandi Toksvig had made the “difficult decision” to leave so that she can “embark on a new and exciting stage of her career”. On April 30th 2015, Sandi Toksvig announced that her decision to quit The News Quiz was been made to help her focus towards setting up a new political party called the Women’s Equality Party.

In November 2015, Sandi Toksvig appeared a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Some of her selected artists includee Joe Nichols (“What’s a Guy Gotta Do”), Gustav Winckler, The Weather Girls, Barbra Streisand, and Bonnie Langford. The book of her choice was The Ashley Book of Knots, and for her luxury item, she chose an endless supply of the Daily Mail.

Her most recent play Silver Lining premiered on February 11th 2017 at the Rose Theatre Kingston. The play then went on to tour Portsmouth, Oxford, Cambridge, Ipswich, Keswick, York, and Salford. The plot of the play centred around five elderly ladies and a young carer who lived in a retirement home about to be flooded by a storm. The play starred Rachel Davies, Keziah Joseph, Maggie McCarthy, Joanna Monro, Sheila Reid, and Amanda Walker. Sandi Toksvig’s son, Theo Toksvig-Stewart, also made his professional stage debut with this play.

Writing

Sandi Toksvig has written more than twenty fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults as well. She started in 1994 with Tales from the Norse’s Mouth, which was a fiction story for children. In 1995, she joined John McCarthy, who had been held hostage in Beirut for a voyage around the coast of Britain. In 2003, Sandi Toksvig published a memoir Gladys Reunited: A Personal American Journey, chronicling her travels in the USA and retracing her childhood. Sandi Toksvig writes columns on a regular basis for Good Housekeeping, the Sunday Telegraph and The Lady. In October 2008, she published a history book for girls entitled Girls Are Best.

Sandi Toksvig’s columns for The Sunday Telegraph were collected and published in book form under the title The Chain of Curiosity. In 2012, she published a historical novel set in the Boer War, Valentine Grey,

Television Presenter

During 2012–13 Sandi Toksvig presented the show 1001 Things You Should Know for Channel 4’s daytime telecast. In April 2014, Sandi Toksvig also presented the revival edition of the daytime game show Fifteen-to-One. Compared to the original half-hour edition presented by William G. Stewart, Sandi Toksvig’s version lasted for an hour. After two successful seasons, Channel 4 announced renewed the show for three more seasons, with Toksvig as a host.

When Sandi Toksvig took over presenting duty from Stephen Fry as host of QI, it made her “the first female presenter of a British mainstream TV comedy panel show”. Sandi Toksvig was the host of the first episode of the show’s series “N”, which was broadcast on 21 October 2016

On March 16th 2017 Sandi Toksvig was announced as one of the new co-presenters of Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off, alongside Noel Fielding. They duo replaced the out going hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc.

Political Activism

Sandi Toksvig surfaced to wider public prominence in the year 1994. After she came out as a lesbian, the charity Save the Children dropped her services as the host of its 75th anniversary celebrations. However, the charity was forced to apologise after a direct action protest by the Lesbian Avengers.

Sandi Toksvig is an avid supporter of the charity and pressure group Liberty, she even hosted its 2012 awards ceremony. Sandi Toksvig also served as the President of the Women of the Year Lunch. Sandi Toksvig is an atheist and humanist. She is also an active patron of the Humanists UK movement.

During the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal in October 2012, Sandi Toksvig said that she was groped by a “famous individual” on air in the 1980s. This led to more people claiming that the BBC’s culture in the 60s, 70s and 80s tolerated sexual harassment. According to Sandi Toksvig, the allegations of inappropriate behaviour at the BBC “did not surprise her at all”. In September As the BBC gender pay gap controversy continued to unfold in the year 2018, Sandi Toksvig reported that her salary was only 40% of what Fry made before her. Before she got the job, Sandi Toksvig had spoken with Radio Times and said that it would be “absurd” if she did not receive the same salary as him for chairing QI.

In the year 2003 Sandi Toksvig also stood as a candidate for the election of University of Oxford’s Chancellorship. She supported a campaign against the high student fees. However, she lost in the first round of voting itself, acquiring only 1,179 first-place votes out of a total of about 8,000 votes that were cast. The election was eventually won by Chris Patten. Ten years later, she became the successor of Sheila Hancock as Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth.

Sandi Toksvig’s party-political sympathies have changed over the years. During the 1980s, she was a part of Red Wedge’s comedy tour, which supported the Labour Party. During the 2004 elections, she was one of the high-profile celebrity supporters of Britain’s Liberal Democrats. Sandi Toksvig introduced frontbencher Menzies Campbell at the party’s conference in 2004. She was also named as a possible parliamentary candidate from the party. 

Over the years, Sandi Toksvig has come under fire for joking about the Tories in 2011 (they’ve “put the ‘N’ into cuts” to child benefit). However, she called former Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May “a good person”. She also went on to joke about UKIP leader and nationalist figure Nigel Farage. In 2012, she said “I don’t think there’s a party that represents anything I believe in”.

Women’s Equality Party

In April 2015, Sandi Toksvig served as the chairperson of the first, informal, conference of a new political party, the Women’s Equality Party. Soon after that, she left her job as presenter of The News Quiz and formally co-founded the party. In a later explanation behind her decision, she said that she had decided that it was “not too late to fight the good fight, after all. Later that year in September, Sandi Toksvig announced the dates for a comedy tour in order to raise funds for the party. The party launched its full set of policies at Conway Hall, 20 October 2015.

How many children does Sandi Toksvig have?

Sandi Toksvig has two daughters (Megan and Jesse) and a son (Theo). The children were carried by her then partner, Peta Stewart, from whom she separated in 1997, and were conceived through artificial insemination by donor Christopher Lloyd-Pack, younger brother of the actor Roger Lloyd-Pack.

Her three young children were a big reason behind her choice to come out publically. Sandi Toksvig did not want her children to grow up ashamed of having two mothers. Sandi Toksvig was warned about losing her job, and the family was bombarded with death threats forcing her to go into hiding.

Who is Sandi Toksvig married to?

Sandi Toksvig lives on a houseboat in Wandsworth with her wife, psychotherapist Debbie Toksvig. Since gay-marriage was illegal in England and Wales in 2007, the couple had entered into a civil partnership. whom she joined in a civil partnership in 2007. On March 29th, 2014, when gay-marriage was legalized in England and Wales, the couple renewed their vows and became officially married.

Sandi Toksvig acquired a British citizenship in 2013. She describes her “posh” accent as being the result of a deliberate attempt to copy the voice of Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter, after being ostracised at boarding school for having an American accent.

In an appearance on BBC 1 show The TV That Made Me, she stated she held the hand of Neil Armstrong’s nervous secretary to calm the woman down during the final moments. Sandi Toksvig confessed about her lifetime fear of famous children’s television puppet Basil Brush. In 2002, she wrote an episode of The Basil Brush Show entitled “Molly Christmas”.

How Much is Tyson Fury Net Worth After Signing the ESPN Deal?

The Gypsy King Tyson Fury’s treasure trove just became significantly larger after he signed a blockbuster five-year £80 million TV deal with ESPN. This has almost tripled his net worth, to above £100 million. The heavyweight boxer who has 29 unbeaten bouts to his name, is one of the most dominant forces in the current heavyweight category in boxing. Tyson Fury’s new deal has raised his status to the astronomical level of Britain’s richest athletes such as Rory McIlroy and fellow heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua.

The 6’9″ Tyson Fury is a former heavyweight boxing world champion. He won the title by defeating Ukrainian legend Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. Soon after that, Tyson Fury started battling some personal demons, grew overweight and took an indefinite break from the sport of boxing.

Tyson Fury’s legendary victory and breakthrough moment against long time champion Wladimir Klitschko made him richer by somewhere between £3.5 to £5 million. The fight was held in Dusseldorf, Germany’s Esprit Arena. The 55,000 seat arena was packed for the fight and millions tuned in to watch the legendary fight via pay-per-view.

Tyson Fury’s famous victory over Wladimir Klitschko catapulted his earning power to the next level. After winning the fight, Tyson Fury earned the entire cabinet of Wladimir Klitschko’s belts. Boxing fans and analysts alike were extremely impressed with Tyson Fury’s performance. He outboxed and outfoxed Wladimir Klitschko over 12 brutal rounds of top class heavyweight boxing. His net worth after that fight was around £20 million.

In a shocking aftermath to his legendary win, Tyson Fury went on a downward spiral in his personal life and was forced to spend three years away from the sport to deal with personal problems. That cost Tyson Fury all of his titles. After a three year absence, Tyson Fury signed an agreement with MTK Global and made a return to the ring in the year 2018.

Tyson Fury has often publically claimed to not care about money. However, he does have plenty of it. He even claimed that he will give away the £7 million he earned for fighting Deontay Wilder to a draw last year. Every body was highly impressed with his resilience when he got up from a knock down punch.

At the end of last year, his basic pay for the draw against Deontay Wilder during the Los Angeles bout was around £2.5m. Many people believed that Tyson Fury should’ve been judged as the victor of that fight.

After pay-per-view earnings were added up, Fury’s net earnings from the fight swelled up to £7 million. Tyson Fury said that he donated it to various charities.

Tyson Fury is now back and on a hunt for his second world title victory as he has targeted a second shot at Deontay Wilder in 2019.

Financially, it is bound to be an absolutely mouthwatering prospect for the Gypsy King.

Tyson Fury’s first fight of the new bumper ESPN deal saw him pocket a hefty £10 million for knocking out Tom Schwarz within two rounds. Tyson Fury is set to earn £12 million for his upcoming fight against Otto Wallin, which will take his net earnings from his new deal somewhere around £30 million.

This mammoth amount of money can really useful for Tyson Fury after he claimed last year that he was skint and is “on the dole”.

The 30-year-old Gypsy King Tyson Fury said: “To be honest, I’m skint. I don’t have any money in the bank. I’m on the dole.

I’m on Jobseeker’s Allowance at the moment. I’m not winding you up – I’m being truthful. Seriously, I didn’t make any money out of boxing at all. Don’t feel sorry for me – it’s not a bad thing.

“I give my promotional team half of the money and I donate the other half to charity or give it to people in need because I don’t think people should make money out of punching other people in the face. I fight because I love to fight.

“I’ll continue boxing until I’m 50 – until I can’t box any more.

“I help a lot of people with my money from boxing. I create homes, take homeless people off the streets, I give it to children’s charities. You can’t take money with you.”

Most people are extremely impressed with the new and improved Tyson Fury and he is expected to dominate during Saturday’s fight against Otto Wallin.

Steve Bunce said: “He looks faster, slimmer and is clearly better mentally. He is getting close to optimum.”

Mike Costello, 5 Live’s boxing commentator, added: “Wallin was a key sparring partner for Anthony Joshua.

v“He is not unknown but looking online he does look slow on his feet, so he will be beaten for speed, variety and class, it seems.

Jayne Torvill: Britain’s Very Own (Ice) Dancing Queen

Who is Jayne Torvill?

Jayne Torvill, OBE (Order of the British Empire) is a legendary English figure skater and ice dancer. Jayne Torvill won a figure skating Olympic Gold Medal along with Christopher Dean during the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. She was barred from competing in the Olympics after turning professional soon after that. However, she returned to the Olympics after a rule change by the International Skating Federation in 1993. She won a bronze medal during the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. In the process, she became one of the oldest figure skating medalists in Olympic history.

When was Jayne Torvill Born?

Jayne Torvill was born on October 7th 1957 in Clifton, Nottingham, England. She grew up in Nottingham, where she attended the Clifton Hall Girls’ Grammar School. She also worked in Nottingham as an insurance clerk at Norwich Union.

How did Jayne Torvill start Ice Skating?

Jayne Torvill was hooked on to ice skating at the tender age of 8 after a life changing after-school trip to the local ice rink. In the year 1971, when Jayne Torvill was only 14 years old, she became the British National Pairs Champion along with her partner Michael Hutchenson. After parting ways with Hutchenson, Torvill continued to skate on her own for a while before teaming up with Dean in 1975. After they finished 5th during the Lake Placid’s Winter Olympics in 1980, Dean quit his policeman’s job and Jayne Torvill gave up her job of an insurance clerk. They both decided to skate together full time.

When did Jayne Torvill win her Olympic Gold Medal?

During the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Jayne Torvill and Dean’s performance to the music of Maurice Ravel’s Boléro, became famous world wide. For their performance, Jayne Torvill and Dean received twelve perfect 6.0 marks. This was the first of five occasions when the pair of Jayne Torvill and Dean was awarded all perfect scores for artistic impression. Watched by an audience of 24 million Britons, it ended up being one of the most watched achievements in the history of British sports. Since the time limit was four minutes and ten seconds and their music was four minutes 28 seconds, they moved their bodies to the music for 18 seconds before starting to skate.

Torvill and Dean turned professional after their 1984 Olympic win and under then existing Olympic Committee rules their professional status made them ineligible to compete in the Olympics again. However, in the year 1993, much like every other sports governing body around that time, the International Skating Union relaxed the rules for professional skaters, allowing professional skaters to participate in the Olympics. As a result, Jayne Torvill and Dean participated in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, winning a bronze medal.

Between 1998 and 2005, Jayne Torvill went on a seven year hiatus from skating. In January 2006, Jayne Torvill and Dean began starring in the ITV show Dancing on Ice. Each year, the show runs from January to March and then goes on tour to arenas across the United Kingdom. In November 2011, Torvill said, “the standard each year has gotten higher and higher, which is exciting for us – to think what we can achieve with people who have never skated or are relatively unknown to skating.

Jayne Torvill and Dean were appointed as the honorary ambassadors for the 2012 European Figure Skating Championships which was held in Sheffield, England. In February 2014, Torvill and Dean visited Sarajevo for the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Olympics, and recreated their Bolero routine in the same arena where they won the gold.

Which are some of Jayne Torvill’s most legendary performances?

Encounter 1984

Encounter runs at over six minutes and was for Torvill and Dean their most enduring professional performance, winning them the World Professional Championships in 1984 and known to be used as performance piece until 1987. They resurrected the piece in 1994 to win at the World Team Championships. It is last known to have been performed at Wembley for the Face the Music World Tour filmed in June 1995.

The piece’s theme revolves around two people who walk past each other on the street, then they notice each other, do a double take, and instantly fall in love. What follows is a brief encounter of two people very much in love but destined to be apart. The costumes for this performance were very minimalist and unobtrusive, meant to keep up with the understated-ness of the piece. Jayne Torvill’s costume consisted of a sleek light grey-blue dress which was cut like a mini-skirt. Dean wore a silver-grey outfit. During Encounter’s repeat performances in the 90s, Torvill wore a dress designed to look identical to the original. Dean’s shirt and trousers were designed to match the colours of Torvill’s outfit.

Shepherd’s Song 1986

This dance was designed specifically for the 1986 Sports Aid Gala, the proceeds of which went to causes in need in Africa. There is no clarity about any repeat performances of this dance. However, a photo caption on page 76 of the book Fire on Ice suggested that Shepherd’s Song was indeed incorporated into the World Tour, especially for for its next visit to the Wembley Arena.

The lyrics are in fact those of a very simple old folk song depicting a Shepherd and Shepherdess calling to each other across mountain pastures. 

The booklet with the CD “A La Francaise” gives the following translation of the song.

Shepherd, across the water, you are scarcely having a good time,

Sing bailero, lero, lero.
Scarcely, and you?
Sing bailero, lero.
Shepherd, how do I get over there, there’s a big stream, sing bailero, lero.
Wait, I’ll came and get you,

Bailero, lero, lero.”

Paganini 1987

Paganini was a full Company Ballet that choreographed by the legendary Tatiana Tarasova. Torvill and Dean, served as the leads for this performance along with Yuri Ovchinikov. This spectacular performance consisted of many complex and stunning balletic dance exchanges between Torvill and Dean. It also featured a few solo performances with the other company members who were present on the ice along with Jayne Torvill and Dean. The piece evoked a sensation of a traditional Russian ballet with both Jayne Torvill and Dean performing extremely well throughout the routine, punctuating it with many beautiful and unique moves. The costumes are simple – Chris in a flamboyant white shirt piece and Jayne all in white, very similar to, if not the same as, her costume in Shepherd’s Song. Originally filmed and performed for the one-off televised production with the Russian All Stars at the Luzhniki rink in Moscow in 1987, it is not clear whether it became a permanent part of the Russian All Stars Tour, but it seems likely that it was performed in at least the first five months of the Tour. La Ronde, another company performance that they were working on during that time was probably never finished or performed. It would appear that it was probably disbanded and replaced with Akhnaton.

Excerpt from Torvill and Dean’s biography:

Tatiana wanted to do a story of Paganini, portraying two sides to his character. Niccolo Paganini was many things: the greatest violin virtuoso of the last century, a composer, the megastar of his day, and romantic adventurer devoured by melancholy. He had seemed to Tatiana to be a perfect hero for Russian – a soul in conflict with himself. Yuri Ovchinikov would be dancing Paganini’s crazy persona, Chris dancing the creative one, with Jayne as the great man’s muse. Neither of us took to the number, but restrained ourselves for the sake of a peaceful life.

Missing 1987

This (intentionally) dimly lit performance was always accompanied with South American Music. The performance gave the impression of two people on the run, traveling at night and contending with the elements. Chris wore grey-brown trousers and shirt, with Jayne in a simple one-colour burnt red dress. This dance featured some incredible symmetry, most notably the spinning moves that were specifically created to demonstrate the state of despair running through the dancers/characters. This routine was performed throughout the Russian All Stars Tour. It was also performed at various exhibitions including the 1990 Sports Aid Gala. In the year 1994, Missing was recreated for the American Artistry on Ice documentary.

Excerpt from Torvill and Dean’s biography:

One thing that required our attention was Chris’s response to some Andean music, which reminded him of the terrible things – particularly the officially sanctioned kidnappings – that had been happening in Chile and Argentina in recent years. The subject was very much in the air after the Falklands War, and more recently the Costa Gavras movie, Missing. Chris saw in his mind those who had vanished, the fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, lovers, friends and children, and devised a series of movements linking two people who could be seen as friends or brother and sister, confronting authority, cowering before it, searching for lost loved ones, and ending where they started, in limbo.

Akhnaten 1987

Akhnaten is another company performance devised for the Russian All Stars Tour that was never commercially released on film, and only a home video filmed by a former cast member is available on the internet. The costumes were of traditional Egyptian royalty design. The piece received good reviews including repeated praise in the New York Times, and they refer to the piece regularly in their autobiography.

Excerpt from Torvill and Dean’s autobiography:

Chris had been interested for a while in ancient Middle Eastern history, and on a trip to London immersed himself in the Egyptian room of the British Museum. He liked the feel of the mythology, Isis and Osiris, Pharaoh as god, the idea of dying as rebirth into the real world, the richness of the funerary ornamentation, all that gold lapis lazuli, the stylised poses in the paintings, the hieroglyphics, and in particular the love story of Akhnaten and his queen Nefertiti. Then by chance we came across the CD of a new opera by Philip Glass, called, of all things Akhnaten. This is not exactly top ten material – minimalist style, vastly long phrases of repeated notes, but in mood just what Chris was looking for. All we needed was to reduce a three-hour epic to 30 minutes. To do that demanded total immersion in the story and imagery. It was an odd thing to do, which involved some long negotiations on our behalf with Philip Glass himself.

The dance opened with a strong image to seize and hold the audience. A huge pyramid of silk, 25-foot square at its base, was being admired by modern tourists. Suddenly, a line attached to the top whipped the pyramid up and away, revealing the world of ordinary Egyptians in the 14th Century BC, all in skirts and sandal-like skates. Chris as the Pharaoh made his entry carried on a throne, which led into a love sequence with Jayne as Nefertiti, then a rebellion by the people and a royal death, leaving Jayne/Nefertiti in mourning.

1989 Revolution/Imagine

Performed during the latter half of the All Stars Tour and also used to win the 1990 World Professional Championships, this piece is very different from any other they performed. This visual stunner was extremely technical and physically demanding. Iy involved quite a few high and drawn out lifts. True to the style of the music, Revolution is extremely fast-paced and performed with an aggression that neither had displayed before. The movements express violence, dissent, anguish, and entrapment. The costumes were very sophisticated in style: Chris wore back trousers, white open-necked shirt, and a smart black and purple waistcoat, while Jayne wore black trousers and a voluminous white silk blouse. In an unusual move, Jayne Torvill put on black skates which blended right in with her trousers. Something like this was normal for Chris who always wore skates which matched with the dominant colour of his costume. However, Jayne Torvill rarely matched her skates with her costumes, and she used white skates for most of her routines.

Excerpt from Torvill and Dean’s autobiography:

Revolution was most ambitious. Its inspiration was a Montréal dance group we had seen in Sydney with the odd name of La La La Human Steps, whose rapid, machine-gun, staccato movements were unlike anything we had seen before. Chris thought the technique might be adapted for the ice, if we replaced the dancers’ lifts and throws with quick-fire upper-body movements. It was long, fast and very testing, not only of our abilities as dancers, but also as actors, in particular Jayne, who had to go completely against character, with vicious movements and displays of anger. That was new, not only for her: nobody to our knowledge had done anything like this on ice before.

Excerpt from the Blade Runners documentary:

I didn’t like Revolution at first because I’m not an aggressive person, so it was good that he pushed it because it brought out another side of me – another character that I could portray”. Chris then goes on to explain the theme of the piece, and explains how it leads into imagine and why the perform the two pieces together: “the idea is of it’s a young couple that have been married for a few years and it’s not that fairytale life of happiness. Which happens to a lot of people – that something goes wrong and tension builds and anger grows within that. And I wanted to put that onto the ice – this raw aggression – and overstate it – so that, for people sitting right the way back, it becomes literal though body. But it follows on in a sort of resolve – not necessarily a happy ending – it then goes into Imagine. Maybe there is something else, maybe there is a compromise or at least an understanding of their situation. They may not get back together or it may not be resolved but they’ve analysed that they have a problem and maybe there is something to work towards and achieve a happier solution

1991 Iceworks/Tilt

In the year 1990, Jayne Torvill and Dean were approached by the BBC programme Omnibus to do a special programme on their choreography. The documentary focused on how their choreography had advanced during their professional years, away from the rigid rules of amateur competition, focusing on the comic performance of Hat Trick, the highly political expressiveness of Missing, the technical difficulties of Oscar Tango, and the stylistic flamboyance of Revolution / Imagine. The documentary makers also managed to convince Jayne Torvill and Chris to choreograph, perform and produce a specific dance for it. The piece was named Iceworks for the documentary but later named Tilt when performed at events. As an ice dancing piece produced for television, Iceworks was able to include dry ice effects, an artistic backdrop, and highly evocative lighting effects in its production. The up-and-coming Jazz composer Andy Sheppard was asked to compose an entirely new piece of music specifically for the routine, and Chris worked closely with him on the composition process. The music was derived initially by blending saxophone with the sound of Chris and Jayne’s blades gliding across the ice; thereafter a beat kicks in together with a slightly ethereal simple tune. The costumes used for this piece were essentially matching tight fitting all-in-one pieces. The colour scheme was a mixture of pastel colours: yellow, pink, mauve, and blue.

This dance routine was extremely difficult for Jayne Torvill and Chris:

“I couldn’t relate to the stark, modern music that had been commissioned by the Omnibus people. To be frank, I couldn’t understand Chris’s ideas for the music, couldn’t understand what he was trying to get me to do” (source: Facing the Music: 1995:227–228). They were working to a tight deadline for the programme but in the end the pressure became too much and the programme was delayed with the BBC’s agreement. Jayne took a two-week break with her just-married husband Phil Christensen before returning to start work with Chris on Oscar Tango. Iceworks was later completely for transmission as part of Omnibus in 1991, and achieved the highest viewing figures ever for the programme.”

Peter Kay: Life and Career of the Legendary British Comedian

Who is Peter Kay?

Peter John Kay is a legendary and beloved English comedian and actor. Peter Kay has written and acted in several film and television projects. He has also served as a producer on many such projects. Aside from that, Peter Kay has also written three successful books.

When was Peter Kay born?

Peter Kay was born on July 2nd 1973 and brought up in Bolton, Lancashire, to a family of Irish descent, Kay studied media performance at the University of Salford. He began working part-time as a stand-up comedian, winning the North West Comedian of the Year award. In 1997, he won Channel 4’s So You Think You’re Funny contest and the following year was nominated for a Perrier Award for his show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As his popularity and public stature increased, Peter Kay co-wrote and starred in That Peter Kay Thing for Channel 4 in the year 2000. This resulted in a spin-off sitcom, Phoenix Nights, which ran for two series from 2001–02, and in turn generated another spin-off, Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere, in 2004. During the year 2005, Peter Kay recorded a funny promotional video. In the video, Peter Kay mimed to Tony Christie’s 1971 hit “Is This the Way to Amarillo“. The video was re-released later in aid of the Comic Relief charity. Upon the re-release, the video was credited to “Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay”. The song reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart, remaining at the top spot for seven weeks and ended up being the the best-selling song of 2005 in the UK.

In 2008, he co-wrote and starred in Britain’s Got the Pop Factor… and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice, a parody of several British reality television shows. While starring in it, Peter Kay released the single “The Winner’s Song” as Geraldine McQueen, the fictional protagonist of the series. The song was a super hit and reached #2 in the UK singles chart. His 2010–11 stand-up comedy tour was officially inaugurated into the Guinness World Records as the most successful of all time, playing to over 1.2 million people. He co-wrote and starred in Peter Kay’s Car Share, a sitcom screened by the BBC for two series between 2015–17. He also starred in the 2015 BBC sitcom Cradle to Grave. Peter Kay received a large number of awards in the year 2016. He won the BAFTA TV Awards for Best Male Comedy Performance and Best Scripted Comedy. Peter Kay also won the National Television Award for Best Comedy for Car Share. Aside from the awards for his comedy, he also received an educational boost by receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford.

Where did Peter Kay grow up?

Peter Kay was born and brought up in Deane, Bolton, Lancashire, where he attended Mount Saint Joseph RC School, leaving with one GCSE in art. Peter Kay’s father, Michael Kay worked as an engineer. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to see Peter Kay’s success and passed away just before Peter’s career was about to take off. Peter Kay’s mother, Deirdre O’Neill, is a Roman Catholic from Coal Island, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland and Peter was brought up in her faith.

Growing up, Peter Kay worked several minor jobs. His résumé includes working in a Netto supermarket, cash and carry, toilet roll factory, cinema, petrol station and a bingo hall. Peter Kay’s previous jobs inspired episodes for his show, That Peter Kay Thing.

Peter Kay began a degree course at the University of Liverpool in Drama, Theatre Studies and English Literature. Struggling with the course, he changed to studying a Higher National Diploma (HND) in media performance (including stand-up) at the University of Salford’s Adelphi Campus School of Media, Music and Performance. On July 19th, 2016, at Salford’s Lowry Theatre, as reward and recognition for his incredible contribution to the entertainment industry, Peter Kay received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from his alma mater.

His first stand-up was the competition the North West Comedian of the Year, which was held in Manchester and hosted by Dave Spikey, who would later be the co-star and co-writer of Phoenix Nights. Even though Peter Kay was last on the bill, he still won the competition. He beat Johnny Vegas for the title. Peter Kay has maintained that he was always seeking a career in comedy. While Peter Kay’s comedy success was growing, he was still not able to earn enough money to make a living off it. As a result, Peter Kay was forced to continue working part-time as an usher at his local cinema in Bolton while performing stand-up locally. However, the cinema shut soon and Peter Kay had to choose  between finding another job or pursuing comedy full-time.

After Peter Kay entered and won Channel 4’s So You Think You’re Funny? contest in 1997, he started making his first semi-professional stand-up appearances. Peter Kay’s first semi-professional stand up gig was at the 1998 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. At the festival, Peter Kay also received a prestigious Perrier Award nomination. During this time, he also appeared at various other clubs, such as London’s Comedy Store.

Though the aforementioned success led to a boost in Peter Kay’s public recognition, he didn’t really achieve mainstream recognition until his first live video show Live at the Top of the Tower in 2000. During this period, he appeared on several chat shows, such as Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and Parkinson, on the latter of which he had previously served as warm up. During this time-period, work also began on his Phoenix Nights series. Following advertisements for John Smith’s butter which imitated Peter Kay’s style from Phoenix Nights led to the development of Peter Kay’s catchphrases such as “‘ave it!” and “two lamb bhunas”.

Who is Peter Kay married to?

In a Bolton nightclub in 1998, Peter Kay met Susan Gargan whilst he was working at the local cinema. The couple married in 2001 after being in a relationship for three years. They have remained very private about their children. They have a teenage son, Charlie Michael Kay (that they named after their fathers, with Charlie being the name of Susan’s late father). They are also thought to have other children

Which was Peter Kay’s first TV project?

Peter Kay’s first TV project came during a 1997 episode of New Voices. It was a  a comedy series which focused on showcasing rising talent. His episode, “Two Minutes”, written by Johanne McAndrew, saw him play a getaway driver as two of his friends attempted to rob a pub of its takings. Peter Kay played a delivery driver as a part of the cast for BBC drama Born to Run in the year 1997. Peter Kay presented a slot titled “Peter Kay’s World of Entertainment” on BBC2’s The Sunday Show. Peter Kay then went on to make an episode of Channel 4’s Comedy Lab, “The Services“, in the year 1998. That went on to win a Royal Television Society award for the best newcomer. That award winning episode went on to serve as a pilot for That Peter Kay Thing. After the spectacular success of the series, Peter Kay and his co-writers – Neil Fitzmaurice and Dave Spikey, utilized the “In the Club” episode as the basis for Phoenix Nights. That show went on to be an immediate hit. Phoenix Nights was set in a newly refurbished social club which was run by Brian Potter. Part of the first series was filmed at the St Gregory’s Social Club in Farnworth, Greater Manchester. The club’s exterior, hallways and function suite were used for the show.

In 2004, Peter Kay followed the success with Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere, a spin-off of Phoenix Nights. The show featured the bouncer characters from the show—played by Kay and Paddy McGuinness—and at times also featured other characters from Phoenix Nights. Six episodes were made and broadcast from November to December 2004 by Channel 4. In 2005, Kay was awarded a Rose d’Or at the international television festival in Montreux for Best Performance by an Actor.

On 17 April 2006, Channel 4 broadcast a “Peter Kay Night”, showing out-takes from Phoenix Nights (previously featured on DVD), a behind-the-scenes documentary “180 – A Tour Documentary”.  The show featured behind the scenes of Peter Kay’s Mum Wants a Bungalow tour. It also screened the Peter Kay Live in Manchester show in its entirety. After an absence of four years, Peter Kay returned to television with the BAFTA-winning satire of reality talent shows, Peter Kay’s Britain’s Got the Pop Factor… and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice, in the year 2008. Peter Kay co-wrote the show with Paul Coleman. The two-hour special was screened on Channel 4 on 17 October 2008. Peter Kay won his second Royal Television Society award for best actor for playing an Irish transsexual dinner lady called Geraldine McQueen.

Which are Peter Kay’s Best Live Performances?

Peter Kay has released numerous DVDs of his incredible live performances. The titles include Live at the Bolton Albert Halls (which holds the record as biggest selling British stand-up DVD), Peter Kay: Live at Manchester Arena, Live at the Top of the TowerPeter Kay: The Live Collections (the previous two combined), and Peter Kay Live – The Tour That Didn’t Tour Tour (this DVD was recorded during his fifteen-night sold-out run at The O2 Arena in London).

In the year 2007, for Comic Relief, Peter Kay released a wonderfully hilarious cover version of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, a song originally recorded by the Proclaimers. The video was essentially Peter Kay’s celebration of British talent. In 2009, Kay switched his musical fund-raising to Children in Need with the release of Peter Kay’s All Star Animated Band, which had taken two years to complete. He brought together over 100 animated children’s characters in a six-minute animated medley. These characters included Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and Paddington Bear. The video also featured a lot of the characters’ original voice artists such as Bernard Cribbins, Neil Morrissey, Ken Barrie and Ringo Starr. The video premiered on BBC1 on November 20th 2009.

Peter Kay returned to Comic Relief in 2011 with a cover version of “I Know Him So Well”. Multi-platinum artist Susan Boyle and Peter Kay in the guise of Geraldine McQueen from Britain’s Got the Pop Factor re-recorded the song. The video which accompanied the single was also directed by Kay and identically parodied the original video shot for shot. It premiered on Comic Relief on Friday, 18 March 2011.

Peter Kay’s Car Share, his own sitcom began airing in May 2015. The series proved to be a huge success and much to Peter Kay’s joy, a second series was commissioned to start in April 2017. In October 2015, Peter Kay also starred in Cradle to Grave, a BBC sitcom based on the teenage life of Danny Baker.

After an absence of seven years, Peter Kay announced a return to stand-up in November 2009. Peter Kay returned with four (later extended to 20) dates at the Manchester Arena the following April with a show entitled The Tour That Doesn’t Tour Tour…Now On Tour. The ridiculously high demand for tickets caused Peter Kay to announce soon that the entire show would become a part of a tour. In January 2012, the tour entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful stand-up comedy tour of all time, featuring a total audience of 1.2 million people.

Peter Kay’s stand up tour faced some criticism when a lot of disabled fans were hit with bills of up to £39 while being on premium phone lines to book Peter Kay’s tour tickets.

Peter Kay announced his intention to again make a return to stand-up with his first brand new tour in eight years in November 2017. Peter Kay Live: Have Gags, Will Travel was scheduled to start touring in 2018, beginning with the Genting Arena in April before touring at venues such as SSE Hydro, Manchester Arena, The O2 Arena, First Direct Arena, SSE Arena Belfast, Sheffield Arena and Echo Arena Liverpool.

However, much to his fans’ chagrin, Peter Kay announced on December 13th 2017 that he was going to cancel all future work projects (including Peter Kay Live: Have Gags Will Travel tour) for family reasons. Peter Kay also implored the media to respect the family of him and his family. The tour hit criticism once again because of the highly expensive phone calls for refunds. Fans were charged 62p per minute to call premium rate phone lines to claim ticket refunds.

In February 2007, Kay played flamboyant gay director Roger DeBris in the Mel Brooks musical The Producers at Manchester’s Palace Theatre for 120 shows.

He appeared in the first episode of the 2002 series of Linda Green, playing a pizza delivery man who ended up being something of a soulmate to the eponymous heroine. He has had two roles in Coronation Street. The first, in the late 1990s, was a brief appearance as a shopfitter, but in January 2004 he co-wrote his own scenes, appearing alongside Sally Lindsay, who played Shelley Unwin.

Who did Peter Kay play on Doctor Who?

On 17 June 2006, Peter Kay appeared in the Doctor Who episode “Love & Monsters”. Peter Kay’s character was the sinister Victor Kennedy. As the episode progressed, Victor Kennedy was exposed as an alien named Abzorbaloff.

Peter Kay was also included in the Independent on Sunday’s “Happy List” in 2009 as “simply Britain’s best comedian”. Peter Kay was included in 2010 as well (as an exception to their general rule). He was mainly appreciated for raising funds for the Children in Need foundation.

On September 9th, 2017, Peter Kay participated in the “We Are Manchester” benefit concert to mark the reopening of Manchester Arena after it was shut down because of the terrorist attack in May. Peter Kay addressed the crowd with a moving speech before he introduced the concert’s headline act Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

15 Best Things to See and Do in Wales

Among all the mainland countries that make up Great Britain, Wales is the smallest, and perhaps the most unique (yes, Wales is not England). The unique and gorgeous surroundings of Wales offer many wonderful reasons to visit. The southern part of the country has the cosmopolitan capital city of Cardiff. It also serves as a good base or a starting point for tourists to explore this spectacularly beautiful country. With its splendid castle, arcades, and historic buildings, it’s a city with plenty of places to visit and things to do. When you’re ready to venture further afield, you’ll find an abundance of attractions, including more than 400 castles and fortifications, gardens, breath-taking scenery, and heritage railways. Wales doesn’t just have sheep and pasture land for people to see. Whichever way you decide to spend your time in Wales, you are bound to enjoy and appreciate every minute of it. Aside from the sights and food, the Welsh are some of the most interesting, easy-going people you’ll find anywhere and they will make you feel very welcome, no matter which impossible-to-pronounce town you go to.

Here are the 15 best things to see and do in Wales:

1. Brecon Beacons National Park

Brecon Beacons National Park

Brecon Beacons National Park covers some of the most unbelievably gorgeous area of Wales. The national park is every hiker’s dream. It is bordered by two quite different sets of Black Mountains. The first, to the west, is the source of the River Usk, while to the east is the range famous for its wild ponies. Most of the mountains in this 520-square-mile park stand higher than 1,000 feet above sea level. Quite a few even go beyond 2,000 feet. The mountains are named after the red sandstone that causes them to resemble the beacons of light once used to warn of incoming invaders. While you are there, ensure that you explore the park’s many caves and waterfalls, especially Henrhyd Falls at Coelbren. Just outside the park, near Abergavenny, you can even take a guided tour of a coal mine at Big Pit National Coal Museum.

2. Snowdonia

Snowdonia

When most people think of Wales, one of the first images that pops in their mind is that of Snowdonia. It is a staggeringly beautiful range of mountains and hills located in the county of Gwynedd. Snowdonia consists of 14 majestic peaks towering over 3,000 feet above sea level. The most famous of the peaks is the majestic Snowdon, which rises to 3,546 feet above sea level.Snowdon’s summit is also accessible by train . The beautiful mountains and peaks of Snowdonia can be seen as far away as Porthmadog on the west coast. When you’re here, it’s easy to see why the area has featured so heavily in local legends, including those based around King Arthur, who locals continue to insist was Welsh (and Camelot was actually Wales). Snowdonia National Park is also one of the most popular hiking and climbing destinations in Britain, and extends from the coast all the way to Bala Lake.

3. Exploring Wales by Rail

Exploring Wales by Rail

Wales was once well renowned for its mining operations, in particular the mining of slate used for roofing. Intact, that style of roofing is still very common in Wales. While the majority of those mines and quarries have closed, the narrow-gauge railways used to shift goods (and later, Victorian-era tourists) around the country have been restored and now provide scenic excursions. More than 10 heritage railway lines travel to some of the most popular landmarks. Those landmarks include mountains, seaside towns, and castles. You can soak them all in by  simply jumping on a steam train. Many of the bigger lines, such as the 14 mile-long Ffestiniog Railway which runs through Snowdonia National Park, offer unique train driving courses and volunteer opportunities to add to the travelling experience.

4. Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

This magnificent castle was commissioned and constructed by King Edward I in the 13th century. It was established as a seat for the first Prince of Wales. The sprawling Caernarfon Castle is one of the largest castles in Wales. Consisting of 13 towers and two gates, the massive Caernarforn Castle is considered one of the most impressive and well-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe. The Caernarfon Castle is built on a site which featured an even older castle built during the Norman conquest of Britain. The Caernarfon Castle dominates the waters of the River Seiont and the Menai Strait on one side and is protected by a moat on the other. Its royal heritage continues to this day, and in 1969, it was the scene of Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales.

5. Devil’s Bridge and the Hafod Estate

Devil's Bridge and the Hafod Estate

Located 12 miles from the seaside town of Aberystwyth, Devil’s Bridge is actually three bridges spectacularly stacked atop each other, with the oldest dating from the 11th century and the newest built in 1901. They span the Rheidol Gorge, where the River Mynach plunges 300 feet into the valley far below. Follow the Falls Nature Trail to the bottom. It’s a bit of a climb back up – especially those steep, slippery steps of Jacob’s Ladder, the segment leading to the oldest bridge – but the views are incredible.

Afterward, visit Hafod Estate, 200 acres of lovingly restored woodlands and 18th-century gardens once considered the finest in Britain. While the manor house fell to ruins long ago, tourists can still enjoy pleasant hikes along well-marked trails which will take them past wonderful waterfalls, ancient trees, and the estate’s old, walled formal gardens. And if you’re looking for an idyllic cottage vacation, the wonderful old Hawthorn Cottage allows guests an unforgettable experience.

6. Llandudno

Llandudno

Dubbed the “Queen of the Welsh Resorts,” Llandudno is the largest seaside resort town in Wales. Located on the north coast with views across the Irish Sea, this picture-perfect tourist destination lies between the Welsh mainland and the Great Orme, a peninsula inhabited since the Stone Age. The town’s unique promenade is free of the usual seaside shops and cafés, which were wisely placed behind the seafront to ensure Victorian visitors a more peaceful experience. The best views of the town and its surrounds are from the Great Orme, easily accessible by a heritage tramway. Well connected by rail and road, Llandudno is a good base for touring Wales’ spectacular North Coast.

7. The Isle of Anglesey

The Isle of Anglesey

The iconic Isle of Anglesey consists of a number of quaint, cute and small fishing villages sprinkled along its more than 100 miles of attractive coastline. Anglesey is separated from mainland Wales by the mile-wide Menai Strait. The strait can be crossed with the help of the Menai Suspension Bridge which was built in 1818. The Isle of Anglesey features some serene sandy beaches and landmarks such as South Stack Lighthouse. Anglesey’s mild climate has made it extremely popular among day trippers and campers alike. The small Holy Island, which is linked to Anglesey by a bridge is another popular holiday resort featuring two gorgeous promenades. The cute and tiny Salt Island offers spectacular views and a chance at some bird watching for nature lovers. Finally, tourists shouldn’t forget to visit one of the world’s most famous and ridiculously named towns and get some pictures clicked along with the sign board. Of course, we are talking about the town with the world’s longest name for a place: “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllandysiliogogogoch”. We didn’t make that up, watch this video to know more about this incredibly named town:

8. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal

It took 10 years to design and build the aqueduct that carries the Llangollen Canal across the wide valley of the River Dee in north east Wales, and it remains even today a feat of civil engineering, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 18-arched bridge is built of stone and cast iron, its arches soaring 100 feet above the river, and is more than 1,000 feet in length. In 1801, when the aqueduct was built, canals were an important means of transport for manufactured goods and raw materials, and aqueducts were a more efficient means of carrying them across deep valleys than staircases of canal locks. This one is the longest navigable aqueduct in Great Britain and the highest in the world. A narrow walkway with a railing allows pedestrians to cross the bridge, but it’s far more fun to cross it on a canal boat. It’s not for those with acrophobia, as the boat sits high on the shallow canal, and it’s a long way down to the river. For a less vertigo-inducing ride, horse-drawn canal boats take tourists on a tree-shaded stretch of the canal from nearby Llangollen Wharf.

9. Portmeirion

Portmeirion

Portmeirion is a beautiful hotel resort and visitor attraction on the coast of Snowdonia National Park in GwyneddNorth Wales. Built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975, Portmeirion was designed to resemble a quaint Italian fishing village. Visitors staying overnight get the whole place to themselves once the gates are closed, when they can explore its beautiful gardens, fountains, church, and the coastal paths of the lower village. This has been the location for numerous films and TV programs, including the 1960s cult show, The Prisoner.

10. Pembrokeshire Coast

embrokeshire Coast

The country of Wales, as a result of being surrounded by the sea on three sides, features some incredibly stunning and dramatic coastline. Some of the most imposing is to be found along the coast of the Pembrokeshire Peninsula, which juts out into the Irish Sea. You can explore it on foot along the dramatic Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail, finding villages like the picturesque little resort of Tenby, still partially enclosed by its medieval walls. Other Pembrokeshire coast highlights are Pembroke CastleSt. David’s Cathedral (in the town of the same name), and idyllic fishing harbours such as Laugharne, where Welsh poet Dylan Thomas lived for much of his life; his boathouse home above the bay is now a museum. And just like everywhere else in Wales, travellers don’t need to stay in basic bed and breakfast hotels. Adventurous travellers can find quaint and unique places to stay, including classic old farm cottages, gypsy caravans, or vintage railcars.

11. Conwy

Located just a brief drive away from the English city of Manchester, the Northern coastal town of Conwy offers something for every kind of traveller: a stunning castle, medieval architecture, and plenty of shopping options. The best views of Conwy Castle and River Conwy, with its suspension bridge designed by Thomas Telford, are from the 13th-century town walls built by King Edward I to keep the Welsh at bay. The National Trust’s Aberconwy House is Conwy’s only surviving 14th-century merchant’s house and one of the first buildings constructed inside the town walls. Other interesting homes are the Elizabethan Plas Mawr, and the Smallest House in Great Britain.

12. Rhossili Bay

Rhossili Bay

This three-mile stretch of golden sand and coastline is located in Swansea’s Gower Peninsula. Its vast expanse runs runs as far as the eye can sea and you won’t run out of places to have fun and frolic around on the Rhossili Bay.

In the year 2018, Rhossili Bay was voted Wales’ best beach. Aside from that, it has been named among the UK’s top 10 beaches for the last five years straight. Besides its jaw dropping and award-winning beauty, the surrounding coastline pubs like The King’s Head and Worm’s Head offer some of the best pub grub with a side of beautiful beer gardens views. The best thing? It’s all dog-friendly so your furry friends can join you for some fun in the sandy as well .

13. Bodnant Garden

Bodnant Garden

A National Trust property, Bodnant Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens in Britain, created over many years by generations of the McLaren family and brought to its present heights by the 2nd Lord Aberconway. Highlights of the spectacular gardens are the grand formal terraces, overlooking views across the River Conwy to Snowdonia, and the famous Laburnum Arch. This curved walk of about 50 yards is covered with laburnum, whose abundant, long blossoms cover it in cascades of yellow in late May and early June. During Springtime, Dell, a deep valley of towering trees over endless streams, is abloom with ravishing rhododendrons. But the wide variety of flowering plants assures that the gardens are filled with colour throughout the whole season. The Bodnant Garden is also the home of 40 UK Champion Trees. These trees have been judged as the best examples of their kind across Great Britain. The elegant Georgian Pin Mill was moved here from Gloucestershire.

14. Hay-On-Wye

Hay-On-Wye

Located in Brecknockshire, this is every  book lover’s utopia that is also the home to the famous Hay Festival.

For all booklovers, it doesn’t get much better than this. This little market town is a second-hand bookshop haven that’ll cater to just about every kind of literary tastes. Bookworm travellers can stock up on prime reading material from the beautifully restored Booth’s Books. For those who are interested in rare, and out-of-print, children’s books, Rose’s Books is the place to go. Not really interested in reading? Don’t worry, you can find shelter from all the reading at the Old Black Lion pub. It’s a perfect spot to sip on local ales and look at the people around.

15. Cardiff Market

Cardiff Market

No visit to the country of Wales can be complete without visiting the capital city of Cardiff, situated on the south coast of Wales. And no visit to Cardiff can be complete without visiting the Cardiff Market, a Victorian indoor market dating back to 1891.

From pots and pans to bread and butter, and from nuts and bolts to rock and roll, Cardiff Market brings you the finest Welsh wares all under one great glass roof. You’ll find a wealth of real gems and a chance to experience warm Welsh hospitality from the market traders

Top Gear Botswana Special: Cocking About the Spine of Africa

Top Gear Botswana Special is a full length Top Gear Special which aired in the year 2007 during the fourth episode of Season 10 of the show. It was the first Top Gear Special which was shot entirely in Africa and placed the presenters in some of the most hostile environments they had ever faced.  The Top Gear Botswana Special was a spectacular adventure and is extremely loved by all fans of Top Gear even today.

The episode’s filming involved a thorough and extensive planning of the route that the Top Gear crew was going to take across the immense Makgadikgadi Pan (the world’s largest salt flats, as wide as the country of Portugal). A significant amount of time was spent trying to ensure that the cars being used for the film did not venture anywhere near areas under conservation. The Top Gear crew worked extensively with a team of environmental experts during the planning process. A support team of bush mechanics followed the Top Gear crew throughout the Top Gear Botswana Special. The support team’s role was critical for the drive through such hostile and unforgiving terrain. Once the crew reached the Okavango Delta, the Top Gear crew was assisted by professional guide Clinton Edwards. Some more filming and logistics support was provided by AfriScreen Films and Letaka Safaris. AfriScreen had already worked extensively with the BBC’s Natural History unit before teaming up with Top Gear. 

Top Gear Botswana Special: The Premise

As 4X4 SUVs were becoming increasingly popular in Britain, the producers of Top Gear felt that there wasn’t really a need for people to buy SUVs so that they can drive up Surrey’s ‘leafy lanes’.  To find out if the ‘arduous’ task of driving up Surrey’s ‘leafy lanes’ could be carried out by something other than a 4×4 SUV, the Top Gear producers challenged Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May to drive across the rugged and dangerous terrain of Botswana in some used cars bought within Africa. Each presenter was given a budget of £1,500 for the challenge. The presenters were also told that the car that they chose had to be a two-wheel drive vehicle and ‘not have been designed in any way for off-road use’. 

Top Gear Botswana Special: The Cars

As most people would imagine, James May decided to sensibly buy a 1985 Mercedes-Benz 230E. It was a car that the entire continent of Africa favoured and loved and in May’s words, could be fixed with ‘a brick and a piece of string’.

Jeremy Clarkson (as expected), went the ‘exotic’ route and chose to buy a 1981 automatic Lancia Beta Coupé. He justified his decision because of Lancia’s successful rallying history (the Beta however, has no rally pedigree).

Richard Hammond meanwhile, made a really odd choice of a 1963 Opel Kadett.

After they arrived at the starting point of the challenge near Botswana’s border with Zimbabwe (which had prohibited the BBC from filming within its borders), Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond learned that their two wheel drive cars would embark on a journey of 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres), right up to Botswana’s northern border with Namibia. As they set off on their first leg, all three revealed the faults with their cars. Jeremy Clarkson confessed  that the dials and several components of his car’s dashboard were broken. James May also had a minor number of parts that weren’t working properly. His handbrake was so badly damaged that he could pull and apply it while driving and nothing would happen to the car. Richard Hammond had brakes that worked very well on one wheel, but only worked on that particular wheel. There was also a strange smell of petrol in his car. However, Hammond was soon enchanted by his car and even gave it a name, Oliver (he regretted that immediately though). As the trio moved off the tarmac and onto unsurfaced roads, Hammond’s Kadett (Oliver) was the first car to break down. At this moment, the trio learned that if their car breaks down and fails to start, they will have to complete the journey in their least favourite car of all time, the Volkswagen Beetle. Luckily, ‘Oliver’ was fixed and the trio reached the camp site on the edge of the vast Makgadikgadi Pan. 

Top Gear Botswana Special: Crossing the Makgadikgadi

At the Makgadikgadi camp site, the trio learned that they would be driving across it for two days. Because of the nature of the surface, they were advised to strip and lighten their cars as much as possible to avoid them breaking through the thin top crust of the salt pans and getting stuck. As a result, James May and Jeremy Clarkson went on a rampant weight shedding spree. They removed seats, interior trim and panels, along with the windows and other components. The weight shedding continued until the cars were reduced to just their basic shells with engines. Richard Hammond on the other hand, had grown too fond of ‘Oliver’ and only removed the spare tyre. Just as the trio was about to leave, a convoy of quad bikes and microlights arrived. It was an informal visit by Seretse Ian Khama, the Vice President of the country at that time. Khama was highly impressed by the ambitious plan of driving across the Makgadikgadi but he found the cars to be quite rubbish. After receiving the Vice President’s best wishes, the trio set off on their drive across the spine of Africa. They made steady progress at the start until the Lancia and the Mercedes started digging into the Makgadikgadi’s surface. Fearing the worst (driving the beetle), Clarkson and May went on an even more radical weight shedding spree. But prior to that, they needed the help of Richard Hammond and the rest of the Top Gear crew to push them out of the “prehistoric gunk” they were stuck in. Despite further issues with the surface, it eventually firmed up and allowed the entire team to reach one of the Makgadikgadi’s islands (which was also their next camp site). The next day, the trio learned that their challenge during the next stage won’t be mud, it would be dust. This proved to be a cataclysmic problem for Clarkson and May as their stripped down cars provided no protection from the dust. They had to re-design their wardrobe in order to protect themselves from the dust. Much to their chagrin, Hammond faced no such problem as he hadn’t removed anything but the spare wheel from his car. Clarkson broke down twice but managed to get his Lancia going and the trio cleared the Makgadikgadi, making camp on the edge of the Kalahari desert. 

Top Gear Botswana Special: Racing through the Kalahari

After the trio arrived at a small village in the Kalahari, Clarkson, Hammond and May were informed that their cars would participate in a time trial on a specially designed rally course in a dried riverbed. The cars were driven by the  “Stig’s African cousin”, who was dressed in the Stig’s helmet, loincloth and shoes. On the way to the time trial course, the Lancia broke down and had to be repaired once again. During the time trial, Hammond’s ‘Oliver’ set a time of 1:12, while May’s Mercedes beat that time comfortably by clocking in at 1:06. Sadly, Clarkson’s Lancia failed to start after overheating and couldn’t get a time on board. The Stig’s African cousin walked off as a result. While waiting for his Lancia to cool down, Clarkson discovered a major new problem. Both his Lancia and Hammond’s ‘Oliver’ ran on leaded fuel and their reserve supply had been completely used up. As a result of their depleted fuel supply, the trio had to take the straightest possible route to the nearest town of Maun. During the off-road section, May’s Mercedes got stuck in the loose surface but he managed to drive the car out. As the sun went down and the trio was on the road to Maun, Oliver’s alternator stopped working and Hammond had to get a member of the film crew on board to help illuminate the road ahead of him with a torch. Despite the scary issues, all three cars arrived safely at a fuel station in the town for refuelling and they turned in for the night at a local hotel.

Top Gear Botswana Special: On to the Okavango

After spending the night at Maun, the presenters were informed by their producers that their cars would now proceed towards the famous biosphere reserve of the Okavango Delta. The journey would take three days and they would find the finish line near the Namibian border at the end of the delta. As a part of the upcoming journey’s preparation, both Clarkson and May had to animal-proof their cars from whatever material they could find on the streets of Maun. Because of Mercedes’ popularity in Africa, May found a spare boot lid and a rear for his car during the work before it was outfitted with corrugated metal doors. Clarkson on the other hand outfitted his Lancia with a wooden gull-wing door, a loudspeaker and handset system and sealed the other door with all the empty drink cans used on the trip at that point. He also decorated his bonnet with three animal skulls. While modifying the cars, Clarkson and Hammond attached a cow bell to the underside of May’s car. They also put a cow’s severed head inside the boot, and stuffed raw meat in various hiding places within the car. Behind the scenes, after the raw meat was found, the pair were questioned by a local guide for endangering themselves, May and the film crew from an animal attack by attempting this practical joke.

With the modifications complete, the trio set off for the Delta and immediately hit a sandy, dirt trail upon entering the Delta’s game reserve. Clarkson’s Lancia suffered further problems when its throttle jammed open and the car was unable to brake properly. Despite the trouble, the trio ended their day by taking a moment to observe a number of animals at a watering hole, with each presenter trying their best David Attenborough impersonation. This segment of the film also mocked the Top Gear film crew’s inability to film wild animals. They camped for the night as May serviced his Mercedes and a bush mechanic helped Clarkson clear out sand from one of the Lancia’s carburettors.

On the next day, the generally reliable Oliver suffered a crash and damaged its steering by hitting a tree stump. After Hammond had fixed it, the trio encountered a river that they had to cross. Worried about Oliver, Hammond opted to find a crossing point further along the bank of the river. Clarkson and May however, chose to wade across where they were. A crazy idea that the trio had for getting across was not shown in the TV broadcast. It involved wrapping the cars in some tarpaulin, inflating it with air, and then floating them across the river. After wasting three and a half hours on this goofy idea, the Top Gear team abandoned it. Clarkson and May helped each other cross the river successfully. The guide shot a hole through the cars’ floor panels to let the water out. Hammond’s attempt to ford the river at a proper crossing point yielded disastrous results as Oliver promptly sank in the river and had to be towed out. Oliver suffered extensive water damage and Hammond had to spend the entire night fixing its engine and electrics along with the bush mechanics. The rest of the team went ahead to make camp. Next morning, much to everyone’s  surprise, Oliver was back to working condition. Even the horn which wasn’t working early on, had been fixed. As the trio made it across the Delta, new problems started emerging. Oliver wasn’t braking properly unless Hammond de-clutched and used the handbrake, while the Lancia was constantly veering off to the right and beyond repair.

Top Gear Botswana Special: To the Finish Line

After finally driving out of the Okavango Delta, Clarkson and May removed their animal protection modifications from their cars. Unsurprisingly, the Lancia suffered another problem at that point. The starter solenoid had stopped working and needed repair for the car to start up again. Although Clarkson managed to get the Lancia going again, he was unable to drive it in any gear but the second. Inevitably, the Lancia broke down once again on the side of the road. However, most of the support and film crew had become fed up with the Lancia’s constant breakdowns (a lot of which weren’t even shown on TV). They all left the broken down Lancia as only Clarkson and two bush mechanics tried to get it going. Somehow, the Lancia was able to get going again, and it limped to the border with Namibia, behind Hammond and May.

Unsurprisingly, the Lancia was declared as the worst car of the journey due to its constant breakdowns. However, despite Hammond’s Oliver needing only minor repairs (most of it because Hammond drowned it in a river), and May’s Mercedes having almost no problems at all (not much of it was left though), Clarkson declared the backup Beetle as the winner as it had no modifications or mishaps along the journey. Needless to say, Hammond wasn’t pleased with that.

Top Gear Botswana Special: Trivia

  • As a homage to 1984’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the end credits of the episode replaced each crew member’s first name with “Archbishop Desmond” (e.g. “Archbishop Desmond Clarkson, Archbishop Desmond Hammond, and Archbishop Desmond May”).
  • Once the filming had concluded, Richard Hammond, who had madly fallen in love with Oliver, decided to get the car back home with him to England. The news was announced to the public during season 10. Oliver arrived in Britain on time to be displayed for the public during the last episode of season 10. 
  • Oliver appeared once again in the lorry driving challenge at the Alpine Proving Grounds during season 12 of Top Gear.
  • Oliver also appeared on Richard Hammond’s CBBC show, Richard Hammond’s Blast Lab. 
  • James May’s Mercedes was donated to a filming advisor while the Beetle was donated to one of the bush mechanics. The Lancia was sent to be scrapped. 
  • Following the broadcast of the episode, the Environmental Investigation Agency heavily criticised the BBC for allowing Top Gear to film in the sensitive Makgadikgadi pans. The agency claimed that Top Gear “had damaged the environmentally sensitive salt pans, leaving scars across the Makgadikgadi salt pans by driving vehicles across them”. The BBC dismissed the claims by stating that the cars had not gone anywhere near the conservation areas, and that they had followed the advice of environment experts. Even the government of Botswana rose to the show’s defence and stated that their was no damage done to the wilderness as the Top Gear producers had spent many weeks planning a safe and suitable route.