Rob Rouse

Rob Rouse

Rob Rouse got his first break in comedy by winning the So You Think You're Funny? new act competition in 1998. As well as stand-up, he also performed as part of the Big And Daft trio with Ian Boldsworth and Jon Williams from 1997 to 2002, taking three shows to the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2002 he took his first solo show to the Fringe.

TV credits include presenting the first series of The Friday Night Project on Channel 4, the C4 sketch show Spoons, and playing Mike in the first series of the BBC3 sitcom Grown Ups.

In 2016, he played Bottom in Ben Elton's Upstart Crow.

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Big And Daft comedy trio reunite

To create new animated series, Rocky Robot

Sketch trio Big And Daft have reunited for the first time in 18 years to create a new family animation series.

Ian Boldsworth, Rob Rouse and Jon Williams performed together from 1997 to 2002, taking three acclaimed shows to the Edinburgh Fringe and landing a weekend show on BBC London Radio.

But they had a falling-out and decided to split up. Rouse became a circuit regular and actor, most recently seen in Upstart Crow; Boldsworth went on to perform under the name Ray Peacock, before reverting to his original name and creating the  The ParaPod podcast and movie; while Williams quit comedy to work in education.

However, they started speaking again last year when Boldsworth put together a retrospective of Big and Daft for his Patreon subscribers, and the trio reunited in person at the premiere of his ParaPod movie at the start of this year.

After the Patreon session Boldwsworth and Williams started working on Rocky Robot, a series about a mechanoid who wants to be a YouTube influencer. ‘ I was already writing Rocky Robot then, and pulled Jon back in as he said he really missed doing creative stuff,’ Boldsworth said. 

‘It was going to be a puppet show with Phil Fletcher, the man behind CBBC’s Hacker the dog, but we’ve had to put that on hold because it’s not safe to have a load of people under a desk together. 

‘We still want to do the puppet show in time.  Phil designed the original puppets and I’ve adapted them and redrawn them for animation.’

Ten, ten-minute episodes have been written, but not yet animated. However, two teasers clips have been released today.

Williams explained: ‘ Until early 2019, I had only seen Ian once, at the funeral of a mutual friend, since our final radio show on BBC London in September 2002. 

‘Out of the blue he got in touch as he was doing a retrospective of Big and Daft.  We had a chat both on and off the record and after getting a few things off my chest, it felt good to be talking again. 

‘As a result of our rekindled friendship, Ian proposed writing this idea he'd had for a family friendly puppet show  And so we began in late 2019 and continued throughout lockdown.’

When Covid hit they decided to make it into the cartoon, with Boldsworth teaching himself computer animation and doing all the drawings - ‘to be fair he's done an unbelievable job’,  Williams acknowledged. ‘I am genuinely impressed with the animation as he's only had the software two months.’

Rouse and Boldsworth

Rouse, above with Boldsworth, agreed to voice the character of Frank and has provided the music.

‘It feels weird being back together and speaking,’ Williams said. ‘Although I never lost touch with Rob, he's godfather to my eldest daughter. 

‘It will be even weirder when we all get back in a room together to work.  We've still only been in the same place together a handful of times...perhaps it's for the best.’

The trio are planning on making the pilot episode before Christmas.

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Published: 30 Oct 2020

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