Paul Tonkinson

Paul Tonkinson

Date of birth: 30-11-1968
Paul Tonkinson started stand-up in 1992, when he won the Time Out New Act of the Year Award. The same London magazine named him stand-up comic of the year in 1997. He is now a circuit stalwart, and regularly entertains the troops.

He gained more exposure as presenter of BBC Two's The Sunday Show in 1996; and in 2001 he landed the job as Johnny Vaughan's replacement on The Big Breakfast. However, he lasted only two months before he was fired.

He was the first breakfast show presenter on Xfm Manchester when it launched in March 2006, before moving to Xfm London the following year. He left the station in early 2008.

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Mr Swallow makes his TV debut

...as we reveal the next batch of Sky comedy shorts

Nick Mohammed's Mr Swallow and Colin Hoult's character Anna Mann are to make their first television appearances in Sky’s next series of comedy films, Chortle can reveal.

Liam Williams, Paul Tonkinson and Rosie Cavaliero, and musical trio The Midnight Beast have also made romantic shorts as part of the broadcaster’s Valentine's Day-themed series, alongside London-based American comic Desiree Burch and Paul G. Raymond of sketch duo In Cahoots.

Three of the films are the first commissions for Sacha Baron Cohen's production company Spelthorne Community Television, which he recently set up with former Objective Productions chief executive and Peep Show producer Andrew Newman.

The shorts will be available on demand from February 8 and air on Sky Arts later in the month.

In Mr Swallow's Valentine, Mohammed is joined by regular collaborators Kieran Hodgson and David Elms for the character's latest 'play within a play', as Mr Swallow and his business partner Mr Goldsworth put on a production of Romeo and Juliet for Valentine's Day with a wannabe actor.

It is being made by Guilty Party Pictures, the company run by comedians Simon Bird and Jonny Sweet with Inbetweeners producer Spencer Millman.

In Anna Mann's Valentine, made by Glasgow-based The Comedy Unit, Hoult's irrepressible alter-ego gatecrashes a couple's Valentine's dinner, forcing them to face up to the state of their relationship. Dan Tetsell, Rebecca Johnson and Harman Singh, from the Porridge reboot, co-star.

Williams's short, made by Four Lions producers Warp Films, is set in a world where it's normal, just about, to take a dating coach on a date with you. It co-stars Jamie Demetriou, Natasia Demetriou, Harry Potter's Isabella Laughland and comic Jonathan Pointing.

Comedy band The Midnight Beast - Stefan Abingdon, Ashley Horne and Dru Wakely - star alongside Angelos Epithemiou creator Dan Skinner in their short, a twisted reimagining of the musical Grease in which good girl Sally has a surprise for bad boy Dandy the morning after February 14. The film is made by Colour TV.

The rest are made by Spelthorne Community Television, christened after the Staines borough where Cohen's character Ali G hails from.

Cavaliero and Tonkinson's film traces the comic misadventures of a middle-aged couple on a weekend getaway to rekindle their marriage, while Burch's focuses on a single woman and her single gay best friend bilking as many establishments as they can on Valentine's Day when he pretends to propose to her.

Finally, in Raymond’s film, the comic plays Rich, who along with his feckless friend AJ (Alexander Jeremy), encourages his old-fashioned dad to enter the daunting world of internet dating. Comedian Mark Silcox plays Rich's father and Megan Hockley co-stars.

Sky's head of comedy Jon Mountague said: 'I love that our popular and successful Comedy Shorts are back and now with added romance - it’s no coincidence that I share a surname with Shakespeare’s Romeo.

'Much loved by our on demand and Sky Arts customers, this new heart-tickly batch of funnies will set the pulse racing. If comedy be the food of love, play on, with this brilliant array of adorably funny talent. Happy Valentine’s.'

The Valentine's season follows similar Christmas, Halloween and Irish-themed strands on Sky Arts.

- by Jay Richardson

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Published: 20 Jan 2017

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