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Phill Jupitus

Phill Jupitus

Phill Jupitus began his performing career in 1984, when he quit working in a Job Centre to become a left-wing punk poet, going by the name Porky The Poet.

He did the rounds of pubs and universities, supporting bands including The Style Council, The Housemartins and Billy Bragg. Two years later, he began working for indie label Go! Discs - whose artists included Billy Bragg - where he eventually became press officer for The Housemartins. He has also directed videos for Billy Bragg and the late Kirsty McColl.

And as his poetry turned into comedy, Jupitus remained linked to the music scene, with his big TV break coming in 1996, when he joined BBC2's pop quiz Never Mind The Buzzcocks as a regular team captain.

He also hosted his own show on BBC GLR, where he presented his own show from 1995 to 2000, and became the breakfast DJ on 6 Music in 2002.

As a stand-up, he has performed two UK tours: the Star-Wars-themed Jedi, Steady, Go in 1996, and Quadrophobia in 1999.

Phill also supported Madness on their 2000 national tour, and starred in a sitcom called Dark Ages for Granada Television. In January 2000, he joined BBC1's comedy panel game It's Only TV But I Like It as a team captain, alongside Jonathan Ross and Julian Clary.

He has also provided the voice of Dandelion in an animated series based on Watership Down for ITV and in Aardman Animation's Rex The Runt.

He has also played a patient in Holby City and an embittered sports journalist in the film Mike Bassett: England Manager.




Impossible. Both the title of the play and the answer to the question: ‘How easy does Phill Jupitus find it to sustain a credible Scottish accent?’

He’s cast as Arthur Conan Doyle in this piece exploring the true-life intellectual clash the Sherlock Holmes author had with Harry Houdini over spiritualism. The creator of literature’s most logical mind was bizarrely in thrall to mediums, even though his potential friend would debunk their trickery, explaining how they used same techniques he deployed on stage. It’s an argument of superstition versus rationality that seems rife for dramatic exploration, although writers Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky don’t do enough interesting with the promising premise.

Jupitus seems miscast as Conan Doyle, even if the crack about his accent is a little unfair, since in reality the author did speak in a slightly strange brogue. More problematic is that neither Jupitus, nor the script, offers much more to the Conan Doyle that a naif who just wanted to believe so much, possibly because he’s still mourning the death of his son – a rather pat suggestion that’s offered as an unalienable explanation for everything. The author even thinks Houdini has supernatural powers, even when the illusionist explains it’s fake, which may be true to reality, but we get no closer to understanding why.

Houdini is naturally a more charismatic showman of a figure, and Alan Cox gets stuck into the theatrical vanity and flamboyant bombast of a self-styled ‘honest liar’ – since he comes clean about his deception. There’s no more character to him, either, but at it’s an entertaining turn.

The dialogue, however, is pretty flat, each character setting forward argument and counter-argument as if exchanging correspondence, rather than engaging in impassioned debate. Occasionally there’s a line of wry wit or intellectual flourish, but they stand out for their rarity.

Friday 28th Aug, '15
Steve Bennett



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Phill Jupitus Dates

Fri 9 Oct 2015

Sun 18 Oct 2015

Sun 8 Nov 2015

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