Al Murray

Al Murray

Murray's grandfather Sir Ralph Murray was a diplomat, working at the Political< Warfare Establishment propaganda unit. And his great-great-great-grandfather was William Makepeace Thackeray.

Al wread modern history at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he started performing comedy.

His break came in 1994, when he was invited compere in Harry Hill's Edinburgh show Pub Internationale, and created the pub landlord character.

Nominated for the Perrier more often than anyone else, Murray was ruled out the running in 1999 for being 'too popular', until organisers relented. He was also nominated for best theatre tour in the 2008 Chortle awards.

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Al Murray goes to wars...

New series for Sky History

Al Murray is to host a new Sky History series about  Britain’s military past.

The comedian and his  alter ego The Pub Landlord, will be joined by comedians and other celebrities from nations we have been at war with over the years in the six-episode series entitled Why Do The Brits Win Every War?

They include German Henning Wehn, American Reginald D Hunter and Glaswegian Sanjeev Kohli, to investigate the history of Scotland versus England.

Murray promises to uncover lesser-known aspects of Britain’s historic victories and challenge some of the myths surrounding some of its most infamous battles.

He said: ‘Barely a day goes by in the UK without someone mentioning one war or another, so Sky History has asked me, with the help of some of the country’s friends – who used to be our enemies – to take a look at the trail of victory and defeat that leads us to the present day.’

And in the guise of the The Pub Landlord, he added: ‘This country is currently undefeated world war champions of the world, fighting at all weights. We have a proud track record of defeating all comers, why we even had a war against the French that lasted 100 Years, the Hundred Years’ War, and the reason it lasted a century is we were enjoying winning it so much we spun it out for the full ton.

‘The Germans had two cracks at the world title, which you have to respect, but they came up short. The Americans think they defeated us, whereas what we were actually doing was dropping them before they became too much trouble: and look at what an excellent decision that was. A victory no doubt, whichever way you look at it.’

Murray, who studied history at Oxford University, has presented several TV programmes on the topic before, including the previous Sky History show Why Does Everyone Hate the English?, and co-hosts the Second World War  podcast We Have Ways of Making You Talk.  

Why Do The Brits Win Every War?, produced by Avalon starts on Wednesday October 20 at 9pm

Here is the information about each episode, although the order may be subject to change.

                                                                                                                     October 20: Napoleonic Wars: Al is joined by proud Frenchman Fred Sirieix, from First Dates, to separate the fact from the fiction of the Napoleonic wars. Was the battle of Waterloo really a great British victory or did Napoleon score an own goal? Were Nelson’s tactics in the battle of Trafalgar genius or reckless? Were our troops the pick of Europe? Or did the French actually dance rings around us? Al and Fred grab their cannons (and pedalos) to find out.

October 27: Second World War: In this episode Al joins forces with German comedian Henning Wehn to delve deeper into the truth behind some WW2 myths. Taking to the skies, they explore whether the Spitfire really was the saviour of Britain that it was cracked up to be. The pair also dive under the waves to find the truth behind the famous enigma machine and get behind the controls of their own tanks to discover how the legend of German tank superiority might actually have come down to radios rather than armour plating.

November 3: American War of Independence: In this episode Al faces up to one of the world’s superpowers and the richest nation on Earth to discover how the former British colony of America somehow slipped through its fingers. Joining him to fight for his nation’s honour is comedian Reginald D. Hunter. Together, they explore how the frontiersmen of America used guerrilla tactics to outwit the British redcoats, how the most effective spy for the American army was a slave and turn their hands to firing the rockets that set fire to the White House.

 November 10: The Vikings It’s 865 AD and the Great Heathen Army, the Vikings, have invaded Britain. Al takes up his sword to discover the truth behind how the Vikings were so successful in Britain. John Thomson represents the northern Viking horde as they explore the truth behind what Vikings really looked like, before they get ready for a Viking wedding. The pair delve into how these invasions started the north/south divide and set sail to discover the truth behind the Vikings’ fearsome battle prowess, with help from British cultural historian Dr Janina Ramirez.

November 17: Roman Conquest: What did the Romans ever do for us? Well, they certainly put the Brits through their paces back in AD 43. Al is joined by ‘ Bruno Tonioli to look at key battle tactics during the Roman Invasion. From wading through the waves in Roman armour, to seeing how hard it was to invade, to the power struggle the Celts went through to hold onto their identity and just how difficult it is to fire a catapult.

November 24: Scotland versus England: In this episode Al meets ‘the Auld Enemy’, where bitter sibling rivalry is as strong today as it’s ever been. Joined by Sanjeev Kohli, Al visits Craufurdland Castle to explore the truth behind famous battles from the wars of Scottish Independence. The pair don mighty (pedal powered) steeds to recreate the legendary axe attack from the battle of Bannockburn, claim independence for a town that’s switched sides too many times to mention, and explore just how effective ‘cow camouflage’ is when invading a castle.

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Published: 22 Sep 2021

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