Nick Hancock

Nick Hancock

Nick Hancock started his comedy career at Cambridge, where he was president of the Footlights alongside Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt. After several years on the circuit, he got his break with by hosting Room 101, which he co-created and fronted from 1992 to 1999. And in 1995 he began presenting They Think It’s All Over alongside regular team captains Gary Lineker and David Gower. Lee Mack replaced him as host in 2005, and Hancock stepped down from showbusiness: First to work for a mortgage company and then to stay at home as a househusband..

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Nick Hancock returns to the limelight

Starring in a new touring farce

Nick Hancock is making a return to the limelight in a new touring farce.

The comic has kept a low profile since being replaced as the host of BBC One panel show They Think It’s All Over by Lee Mack in 2005. 

At the time, he said he was quitting showbusiness, explaining: ‘I felt I’d outstayed my welcome. I felt like the child in the playground who was told he was out of the game.’

Now he has been cast in the new show Octopus Soup, being  produced by the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.

He plays Seymour, a risk-averse insurance consultant just about to make a vital conference call when a bungling burglar stumbles in.

The corporate world is not alien to Hancock, who went to work for a mortgage-broking company after leaving TV. But he left after a year admitting: ‘I did enjoy it, but it made me realise that perhaps there’s a reason why I do the job I do – I’m not particularly good at anything else.’

Since then the former Cambridge Footlights president has been a househusband in Stoke,  although he has done occasional guest work on BBC Radio Stoke and briefly hosted the BBC Two show Breakaway.

He attempted a comeback in 2016 with a planned live comedy sports quiz show called Squeaky Bum Time. But try-out gigs in Carmarthenshire and Oxfordshire were pulled in the face of poor ticket sales.

The cast of Octopus Soup! also features Paul Bradley, who played  Nigel Bates in EastEnders and Eric Richard, who played Desk Sergeant Bob Cryer in The Bill for 17 years.

Hancock originally came to attention in stage play, starring in Arthur Smith’s An Evening With Gary Lineker in the West End in 1991.

Written by Jack Milner and Mark Stevenson, Octopus Soup! will run at the Belgrade Theatre from February 2 to 16 February, before a 10-week national tour visiting Blackpool Grand Theatre, Darlington Hippodrome, Portsmouth Kings Theatre, Eastbourne Devonshire Park Theatre, Windsor Theatre Royal, Cardiff New Theatre, Malvern Festival Theatre, Swansea Grand Theatre and Guildford Yvonne Arnaud.

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Published: 7 Dec 2018

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