Kandi Kane Baxter
Kevin Bloody Wilson
Ken Campbell and Doris the painting parrot
Rare footage of actor, improviser, wit and all-round eccentric giving a guided tour around the artwork of his pet parrot, Doris
More Ken Campbell videos
|Ken Campbell and Doris the painting parrot|
Born in Ilford, Essex, on December 10, 1941, Campbell studied drama at RADA before touring in rep. But in the early Seventies he set up is own theatre group, named after himself, that performed in unusual venues such as pubs. Members included Bob Hoskins and Sylvester McCoy.
In 1976, he and Chris Langham formed the Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool to stage Illuminatus!, an eight-and-a-half hour cycle of five of his own plays, as well as an unsuccessful stage adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with Langham as Arthur Dent.
Campbell’s TV credits include Alf Garnett's neighbour in In Sickness And In Health, and the irritating Roger in an episode of Fawlty Towers. On radio he played Poodoo in The Hitchhiker's Guide and he unsuccessfully auditioned for the part of the seventh Doctor Who in 1987, being beaten to the role by Sylvester McCoy.
Campbell has more recently been known for his series of one-man shows, the most successful of which has been The History of Comedy Part One: Ventriloquism.
I saw a number of Ken Campbell's one-man shows: Pigspurt, Jamais Vu, History of Comedy: Ventriloquism + a couple more, the titles of which currently elude me. They were all fascinating, inventive and chock-full of strangely amusing elements that made me keep coming back for more. For several years I have been anticipating a new tour so that I could confuse and amaze a new set of friends by dragging them along. Sadly that will now never happen. Far too early he has shuffled off this mortal coil. It seems that he went on something of a high, having recently returned from Edinburgh, but sympathies to his family and friends. And also to all of us who'll never see another show and experience that anticipatory moment "What is he going to do NOW!?"