Alistair McGowan

Alistair McGowan

Date of birth: 24-11-1964
Alistair McGowan caught the bug while a pupil at Evesham High School, impersonating teachers, and after graduating from the University of Leeds with a BA in English, he went on to study at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

After graduating in 1989, McGowan started work on the stand-up circuit, and was quickly signed up by Spitting Image to provide many of the voices. He also appeared in minor roles several Nineties comedy shows, including Harry Enfield and Chums, The Imaginatively Titled Punt & Dennis Show, Fist of Fun and Murder Most Horrid.

His big break came in 1999 when BBC One commissioned Alistair McGowan's Big Impression, later to become simply The Big Impression, to represent the input of the rest of the cast, especially Ronni Ancona – with whom he had a romantic relationship, which ended just as filming began. However, they enjoyed a long professional relationship, with Big Impression running until Christmas 2003.

McGowan has also been a straight actor, taking over from Stephen Tompkinson in the comedy drama, All Quiet On The Preston Front; playing Mr Kenge in the 2005 adaptation of Bleak House, and the title role in the short-lived detective programme Mayo in 2006.

On stage, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2006 for a musical version of The Merry Wives of Windsor opposite Judi Dench and Simon Callow; and in 2008 starred in a revival of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado for Carl Rosa Operas

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ITV sports show for Alistair McGowan

Exec produced by Harry Hill

ITV has commissioned a full series of sports comedy show You Cannot Be Serious, to be fronted by Alistair McGowan.

Harry Hill will be executive producer on the six-part series, to be made by Avalon Television. His role comes despite reports that he had fallen out with the company over its desire to make more episodes of TV Burp, which he found too exhausting.

You Cannot Be Serious, which will air in the summer, has plenty in common with TV Burp, as it will feature funny clips from the week’s sport, as well as sketches and impressions from McGowan.

ITV commissioned the series following a successful pilot last year.

McGowan said: 'The pilot was great fun to do and the idea of applying a healthy mix of irreverence, love and imagination to the world of sport seemed obvious to me and I can’t wait to get started on the series.'

Hill and McGowan have a longstanding working relationship, dating from early Edinburgh shows and their joint Radio 4 show When Harry Met Ally in 1992. Hill said: ‘He’s the best impressionist in the country and it’s great he’s coming to ITV.’

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Published: 9 Feb 2012

Tits out... | How McGowan was censored by the BBC

Tits out...

Alistair McGowan said the BBC banned him from using…



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