David Baddiel

David Baddiel

Date of birth: 28-05-1964

David Baddiel’s first brush with comedy was in 1982 when he wrote and performed in the Sixth Form revue at The Haberdashers Aske School, Elsetree, before developing his talents while a student at King's College, Cambridge. As well as graduating with a double-first in English Literature, he was vice president of the Footlights.

On leaving, he performed stand-up on the London circuit, while working on a PhD entitled Seductive Innocence: The Little Girl In Victorian Sexuality. There he met Robert Newman [then called Rob] and they started writing sketches for the Radio 4 show WeekEnding, which solicited work from any writers who wanted to contribute.

They were subsequently paired up with Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis for the Radio 1 comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience, which began in 1989. Two years later it transferred to BBC Two for two series.

Baddiel continued to work with Newman for the 1993 series Newman and Baddiel in Pieces –and later that year became the first comedians to play Wembley Arena, prompting the now clichéd saying that ‘comedy is the new rock and roll’. However, the duo’s relationship was under huge pressure at the time, and they subsequently split with some acrimony.

Baddiel then formed a partnership with Frank Skinner, who at the time was lodging at his London flat, recreating their living-room banter in both Fantasy Football League – which ran on BBC Two from 1994 to 1996, returning on ITV for the 1998 World Cup and 2004 European Championship ¬– and Unplanned, which started life as an Edinburgh Fringe show in 2000 before transferring to the West End and, eventually, TV.

In 1996, the pair teamed up with the Lightning Seeds’ Ian Broudie to record the England football anthem Three Lions, which has been a terrace favourite ever since.

Outside of these comic partnerships, Baddiel created the 2001 Sky One sitcom Baddiel's Syndrome and devised the Radio 4 panel show Heresy, which attempts to challenge received opinion. In 2009 he appeared in the 3rd series of Skins, alongside his real-life partner.

He has written three novels : Time For Bed, Whatever Love Means and The Secret Purposes and writes a regular literary column for The Times. He also wrote the 2010 comedy film The Infidel, starring Omid Djalili as a Muslim who discovers his parents were actually Jewish.

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David Baddiel's Jews Don’t Count goes to Channel 4

Polemic documentary based on his successful book

David Baddiel is to make a Channel 4 special based on his book Jews Don’t Count.

The broadcaster describes the 75-minute programme as  a ‘part polemic, part personal documentary that explores why, in his opinion, anti-Semitism is often seen as a lesser form of racism.'

It includes ‘shocking, surprising, humorous and sometimes awkward conversations’ with a range of voices – including prominent Jewish figures and those who have experienced anti-Semitism – in a quest to investigate why identity politics seems to have failed this particular identity.

Baddiel said: ‘I’m very excited to be given the chance to present my polemic about Jews not counting - not counting in the identity politics conversation, not counting as a real minority who experience real racism - on TV.

‘My critique is aimed mainly at progressives, at those people who care about minorities and racism - those people who consider themselves on the right side of history - and I think of a lot of those people as Channel 4 viewers.

‘So let me thank Channel 4 in advance for giving me this opportunity to address, and maybe take apart a bit, their own audience’s self-image.'

Shaminder Nahal, head of specialist factual programming at Channel 4 added: ‘Jews Don’t Count is set to be a searing and forensic look not just at anti-Semitism throughout the world today - but at the whole state of identity politics in contemporary discourse.’

Louis Theroux will be one of the executive producers of the programme through his company for Mindhouse Productions.

He said: ‘With so much more awareness around the world about the importance of diversity and the reality of all kinds of racial bias, it seems the perfect time to take a thoughtful, challenging, and funny look at why Jewishness has sometimes been left out of the racial reckoning, not to mention a great excuse to see David in conversation with a host of hilarious and fascinating people on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘This documentary is exactly what we need right now, a provocative and sparkling polemic that will start arguments and get people thinking about identity politics in a different way.’  

David Baddiel: Jews Don’t Count will air later this year on Channel 4 

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Published: 17 May 2022

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Book (2017)
Birthday Boy

DVD (2010)
The Infidel


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