Harry Enfield

Harry Enfield

Date of birth: 30-05-1961
A former milkman, Harry Enfield started his comedy career as an impressionist on Spitting Image, but shot to fame Channel 4's Saturday Live, first in the guise of Greek kebab-shop owner Stavros, then with the iconic Eighties builder Loadsamoney.

He appeared both as Loadsamoney and his peniless Geordie counterpart Bugger-All-Money at he Nelson Mandela Birthday Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium in 1988, before the character was killed off as Enfield felt he was becoming a hero, rather than a parody,.

He landed his own BBC show in 1990, first with Harry Enfield's Television Programme, and then Harry Enfield and Chums, the change in title acknowledging the contribution of co-stars Paul Whitehouse and Kathy Burke. Characters included Tim, nice but dim, Smashie and Nicey, Wayne and Waynetta Slob, Mr Cholmondley-Warner and Kevin the Teenager - who would star in his own film, 2000's Ibiza-set Kevin & Perry Go Large.

Many of Enfield's characters have gone on to front advertising campaigns, and he created a spoof life coach for a series of TV commercials for Burger King in 2005.

In 1992, he played Dermot in the first series of Men Behaving Badly on ITV. But it was not considered a success and the commercial broadcaster did not recomission it. When the BBC picked it up, Enfield was replaced by Neil Morrissey.

He has also made a number of one-offs, including Sir Norbet Smith - A Life for Channel 4 in 1993, and Norman Ormal– A Very Political Turtle for BBC one in 1998. He also presented a guide to opera, one of his passions, for Channel 4 in 1993.

Enfield's successful partnership with Whitehouse ended in the mid-Nineties, with his partner going on to create The Fast Show. In 2000, Enfield signed a lucrative deal with Sky One to create a new batch of characters for Harry Enfield's Spanking New Show - but it failed to replicate the success of his BBC shows.

In 2002 Enfield returned to the BBC with Celeb, based on the Private Eye comic strip about ageing rockstar Gary Bloke, but it only lasted one series.

Enfield's awards haul includes the 1998 British Comedy Award for top BBC1 Comedy Personality and Silver Roses of Montreux in 1990 (for Norbert Smith), 1995 (Smashie And Nicey - End Of An Era) and 1998 (Harry Enfield and Chums).

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© BBC/Balloon Entertainment/Colin Hutton

Island Of Dreams

TV review by Steve Bennett

The Windsors creators Bert Tyler-Moore and George Jeffrie have not strayed too far from what they know with the latest BBC Two comedy pilot, with heightened versions of celebrities, rather than Royals, inhabiting Island Of Dreams.

Set in Richard Branson’s Virgin Island hideaway of Necker, the comedy draws on Fantasy Island – with the character of Baboo excitedly trilling, ’The plane! The plane!’ as the stars arrive.

Away from home, the celebrities’ stories unfold under the watchful eye of the Virgin tycoon, brilliantly played by Harry Enfield, occasionally suggesting a sinister edge behind that beatific smile.  For the writers are not afraid to puncture the cuddly public image by branding Branson ‘a bearded perv’ who pollutes the environment and aggressively avoids taxes. His terrible trains are a running joke, too.

Such aspects give a little satirical spice to what is essentially another half-hour of cheesy fun, with the caricatures of the stars hooking up, considering their careers or stumbling across hints that there might be more to the quasi-mythical island paradise than meets the eye.

Certainly, the performances are camp, including accents turned up to 11, from the flattened Cockney vowels of Morgana Robinson’s insecure Adele to the Gloucestershire twang of Samantha Spiro’s foul-mouthed JK Rowling.

Also in the starry cast are Jamie Demetriou as rival billionaire tycoon Elon Musk; Al Murray as talent-free Gregg Wallace (though be warned: we do see him in his thong); Tom Basden and Richard Gouldiung as Daniels Craig and Radcliffe respectively; and Dustin Demri-Burns as Professor Brian Cox, invited to assess the Virgin Galactic rocket set to launch from the island Thunderbirds-style.

Island Of Dreams is not quite as big and brash as the soap-operafication of the Royal Family, but there’s fun to be had with these daft versions of familiar faces, plus plenty of wry jokes and inappropriately crude lines to make it an entertaining half-hour of silliness.

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Published: 3 Jan 2019

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