Simon Bird

Simon Bird

Simon Bird started his comedy career with the Cambridge Footlights in 2004, as a writer of their touring show Beyond A Joke. He appered in 2005 show Under The Blue, Blue Moon and 2006's Niceties.

He took part in Chortle's national student comedy awards for four years in a row: 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, coming second in his final attempt with a routine mocking his repeat entries.

He played the part of Will in E4’s comedy The Inbetweeners, alongside Joe Thomas, which won him the British Comedy Award for best newcomer in 2008, and became the biggest British comedy hit when it was turned into a movie.

The pair also had a sketch group, House Of Windsor, with Johhny Sweet, which span off into the TV series Cowards.

He landed a central role in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner in 2011, as one of two Jewish twentysomething brothers (alongside Tom Rosenthal) who revert to childhood roles at the weekly family meal. And he hosted the BBC Three panel game The King Is Dead.

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© Xavier Mas

Everyone Else Burns

Review of Channel 4's new apocalyptic cult comedy

It’s the end of the world… and it’s remarkably mundane. The doomsday religious zealots at the heart of Everyone Else Burns live an ordinary Manchester suburb, coping with the same family tensions as the rest of us – were it not for their devout belief in imminent eternal damnation.

Bravely sporting a pudding-bowl haircut, Simon Bird channels Peep Show’s Mark as patriarch David, petty and pedantic to the end. He believes that being the stickler for the rules of an ancient religious tome will make him a better man, ignoring the fact that his ugly ambition to climb the church hierarchy and ignorance of the needs of others that make him a worse one.

He’s the pompous buffoon of sitcom staple, but Bird plays things straight and subtle, reflecting the mood of a show that prefers to strike a wry, domestic tone rather than making a raucous parody of the sect’s wacky beliefs.

That said, we first meet David rousing his family in the middle of the night, as Rapture is upon us. Though – spoiler alert – it turns out not to be the end times, only a practise run to get the family in shape. Son Aaron (Harry Connor) is rather too into things, and his imagination is disturbingly full of visions of afterlife torture that Hieronymus Bosch would envy.

Meanwhile, David’s wife Fiona (Kate O’Flynn) seems resigned to her unrewarding lot, having invested too much into the life of familial servitude to challenge things; while Rachel (Amy James-Kelly) is starting to resent way the cult is limiting her ambitions of going to university and possibly finding a boyfriend.

In a telling scene, featured in the trailers, her parents read her report card, increasingly appalled she’s spent time studying rather than doorstep preaching on behalf of the Church of the Divine Rod, Jehovah’s Witness-style. ‘Straight As, five out of five for effort. Where did we go wrong?’ laments David.

Cracks, then, are starting to show in the dedicated but peculiar family dynamic, although they widen frustratingly gradually. Rachel’s plight makes her by far the most sympathetic character, a quality that’s relatively thin on the ground here. Ironically enough, there’s not much to redeem David, he’s irritating and one-note, getting comeuppances that never quite feel satisfying enough,

Producers have assembled a strong supporting cast, though they seem under-used, especially the ever-engaging Morgana Robinson who plays a cheerful, buoyant neighbour.  It would be good to see more of what Lolly Adefope can do, too, as Rachel’s encouraging teacher. Meanwhile, Kadiff Kirwan is effortlessly charismatic: the Paul Ryman to Bird’s Martin Brice if I can use an outdated Ever Decreasing Circles analogy.

When it comes to scene-stealers, Liam Williams brings his usual disconcerting energy as a new member of the flock, struggling with life, while  Al Roberts is the disquieting elder, speaking in a disconcertingly soft Professor Brian Cox-type accent.

However outrageously peculiar the premise of this sitcom, the execution is far more down-to-earth. Some jokes are underplayed to the point of being barely detectable, but relative newcomers Dillon Mapletoft and Oliver Taylor have snuck more into their script than you might think. Everyone Else Burns rumbles along watchably enough, with the characters subtly weaving their way into your psyche. But it would need a more devilish spirit to be instantly elevated it to Sitcom Heaven.

• Everyone Else Burns is on Channel 4 at 10pm tonight and is already on All4.

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Published: 23 Jan 2023


Gotta love site-specific comedy. This one takes place…

House Of Windsor

House of Windsor are three former Cambridge Footlighters…

Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2006

Cambridge Footlights: Niceties

Edinburgh Fringe 2007

House Of Windsor

Edinburgh Fringe 2008



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