Jon Culshaw

Jon Culshaw

Date of birth: 02-06-1968
Jon Culshaw's radio career began in hospital radio in his home town of Ormskirk, Lancashire, landing his first professional job was at Red Rose Radio in Preston in 1987. He went on to work at Pennine Radio, Radio Wave in Blackpool and Hull's Viking FM, where a receptionist persuaded him to go on stage with his impressions.

In 1993, Culshaw won a talent search run on Steve Wright's Radio One show, beating 8,000 candidates. It led to a job on Spitting Image, voicing about 40 characters, and Culshaw now boasts 350 impersonations, including Ozzy Osbourne, Tom Baker, Russell Crowe and Michael Parkinson.

His big break came when he made national headlines for a 1998 Capital Radio stunt in which he successfully called Downing Street and go through to Prime Minister Tony Blair while pretending to be Tory leader William Hague, and engaged him in a lengthy conversation.

In 2000, he starred in the Radio 4 ensemble series Dead Ringers, and soon became its main star. That year, the programme won the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Radio Programme, and in 2001 scooped the Sony award and the British Comedy Award for best radio comedy. The radio show ran for ten series, plus several specials, then transferred to TV in 2002. Seven series had been made as of 2007.

In 2001-2 Culshaw had a programme on ITV called Alter Ego, in which he interviewed celebrities while simultaneously impersonating them. In early 2004, his own show, The Impressionable Jon Culshaw, was commissioned for ITV One, and in 2005, he was a contestant on Comic Relief does Fame Academy. In 2006, he took over BBC One's long-running Commercial Breakdown show, airing odd and funny adverts from around the world.

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Tim Vine joins dance show

With Nina Conti and Jon Culshaw

Tim Vine, Nina Conti and John Culshaw are to take part in the next series of Let’s Dance for Comic Relief.

The high-profile series will run over three Saturday night heats from February 16, followed by a final on March 9.

Although the full line-up has yet to be revealed, it has also been announced that Ricky Hatton will be among the contestants; while judges will include Frank Skinner and Jo Brand.

Alex Jones, who hosts the show with Steve Jones, said: ‘I'm ridiculously excited to be back on Let's Dance. We have some of our best comedians as panellists, and an unbelievable line-up of brave celebrities who are all prepared to don their dancing shoes to raise lots of money for this year’s Red Nose Day.’

Last year’s competition was won by Roland Rivron, with his interpretation of Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice.

The show has previously helped boost the profiles of the likes of Rufus Hound and Russell Kane, while raising money for Comic Relief.

Meanwhile, Dara O Briain and Jack Dee have arrived in Zambia for their Comic Relief challenge of paddling 100 kilometres up the Zambezi River towards Victoria Falls, through rapids and crocodile infested waters, and camping rough along the route.

Their quest starts tomorrow, and here is footage of them arriving at the river.

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Published: 28 Jan 2013

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