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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Spitting Image Live premiere announced

Show launching at Birmingham Rep next year

The live version of Spitting Image will have its world premiere at the Birmingham Rep in February, it has been announced.

Subtitled ‘Featuring The Liar King’, the show has been written by comedians Al Murray and Matt Forde along with Sean Foley, the theatre’s artistic director.

It focusses on Boris Johnson but will also feature puppet versions of Tom Cruise and Michael Gove (‘together on stage for the very first time’, the blurb promises), Adele, Tyson Fury, Harry and Meghan, Stormzy, Beyoncé, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and more.

But whether the Prime Minister clings on to power until the opening may be a moot point.

Spitting Image co-creator Roger Law said: ‘Birmingham Rep and Spitting Image have been receiving numerous calls from friends of Boris Johnson pleading with us not to cancel his puppet from our theatre show, The Liar King, opening in the new year. 

‘Recent events made it doubtful if either Boris or Prince Andrew would be treading the boards… but after careful consideration we are now able to reassure them both that their puppets are the kind of heartless bastards essential for our kind of refined satire. 

‘Boris’s friends please note, and report to him that, yes, his puppet will appear wearing a "gilet jaune" yellow jacket pretending to be useful!’

A trailer has also been released today:

Foley – who recently revived the Morecambe and Wise tribute he co-created, The Play What I Wrote, for the Birmingham Rep – also directs.

The show is being co-produced by Avalon, the production company which revived Spitting Image for BritBox in 2020 – and which proved a hit when sketches were made available on social media. A one-off special for ITV attracted an audience of 4.4million, the highest Saturday night ratings at that time in four years.

Spitting Image Live: Featuring The Liar King runs at the Birmingham Rep from February 1 to March 12.

Tickets go on general sale here at midday on Thursday.

The venue is also repeating its Sky Comedy Rep writing development scheme, which it runs with Sky Studios.

Eight writers will be selected to develop a one-act stage play, and will be paid for their work. The writers will attend a series of workshops, receive tailored writing support, and trial their work at a scratch performance.

The scheme will culminate in showcase performances of the plays alongside industry events, at The Rep next year.

All the plays will focus around a simple premise: a proposal in a park.

Writers will also receive mentoring support from comedy stars. Previous mentors include Meera Syal, Guz Khan and Brassic creator Danny Brocklehurst,

Applications will open on Monday and close on August 1.

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Published: 27 Jun 2022

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