Frank Skinner: Wikis

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Frank Skinner
Frank Skinner.jpg
Skinner in 2008 at Wembley Stadium
Birth name Christopher Graham Collins
Born 27 January 1957 (1957-01-27) (age 52)
West Bromwich, England
Medium Stand-up, television, Radio
Nationality British
Years active 1987-present
Genres stand-up comedy, chat show, sitcom
Notable works and roles Fantasy Football League
The Frank Skinner Show
Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned
Shane
British Comedy Awards
Best comedy entertainment personality (2001)

Frank Skinner (born Christopher Graham Collins on 27 January 1957 in West Bromwich) is an English writer and award-winning comedian, best known for the hit football song "Three Lions" with David Baddiel and The Lightning Seeds, as well as presenting, alongside Baddiel, the hit comedy show Fantasy Football League. He is currently a radio presenter on the Saturday morning slot on Absolute Radio.

Contents

Career

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Youth and early career (1957-1993)

He was born at Sandwell General Hospital, and grew up at 181 Bristnall Hall Road, a council house in neighbouring Oldbury. He was the youngest of four children born to West Cornforth-born former semi-professional footballer John Collins and his wife Doris. He has two older brothers, Keith and Terry, as well as an older sister called Norah. His father had played for Spennymoor United before the Second World War, and met his mother in a local pub after Spennymoor had played West Bromwich Albion in an FA Cup game in 1937. He attended Moat Farm Infant School from 1961 to 1964, St. Hubert's Roman Catholic Junior School from 1964 to 1968, and then Oldbury Technical Secondary School from September 1968.

He passed 2 O-levels in the summer of 1973 and was allowed to take A-levels in English Language and Art, along with several O-level re-sits, at Oldbury Technical School Sixth Form. He took 4 A-levels (including English Language and Literature) at Warley College of Technology and then graduated from Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University) in 1981 with a degree in English. This was followed by a Masters degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, the following year. After graduating, he spent four years as a lecturer in English at Halesowen College, whilst being a stand-up comedian on the side, before quitting his job in 1989 to pursue his comedy career full-time. During this period a bout of influenza made him give up drinking, and he remains one of the UK's most high-profile recovering alcoholics.

Collins took on the pseudonym Frank Skinner when the actors' union Equity told him there was already someone of the same name on their books (their rules do not permit two members with identical names). He took the name from a member of his late father's dominoes team. Skinner had performed his first stand-up gig in 1987 and made his television debut a year later. In 1990 he co-wrote and starred in a weakly-received sitcom, Packet Of Three, on Channel 4 but continued to see his reputation as a stand-up grow. He won the 1991 Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe, beating Jack Dee and Eddie Izzard. Frank Skinner announced to Question Time that he is a British Labour Party Supporter. He also said that, if Jesus were to come to earth, he thought Jesus would vote Labour.

Career peak (1994-2005)

He often works with best friend and ex-flatmate David Baddiel, notably on the popular late night entertainment show Fantasy Football League, from 1994 to 2004 and on Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned from 2000 to 2005.

The duo also co-wrote and performed the football song "Three Lions" with the Lightning Seeds and the England national football team for Euro 96, and re-released it for the 1998 World Cup. Both times the song reached #1 in the UK charts. In 2001, he released his autobiography "Frank Skinner by Frank Skinner", which became an instant bestseller. An accompanying TV show, "Frank Skinner on Frank Skinner", in which Skinner showed where he lived as a child and interviews with Skinner, his friends and family members, was recorded and shown on ITV in 2001. From 1995 to 1998, Skinner had his own chat show on BBC One, it ended when the BBC refused to meet pay demands of a reported £20 million. [1] After a short break the show found a new home at ITV in 1999, where it ran until late 2005. He has appeared in a number of self-written sitcoms, including Blue Heaven (1994) and Shane (2004). In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. He has lived in London since 1991, but still supports West Bromwich Albion F.C.[2] and Warwickshire County Cricket Club. When West Bromwich Albion won promotion to the FA Premier League in 2004, he featured in an Express and Star article which commemorated the club's promotion.

Post ITV (2006-present)

In 2005, Skinner announced he was going to leave behind his television work in favour of returning to the stand-up comedy circuit. A second series of Shane has been made, but not shown. In February 2006, he received an honorary degree from Birmingham City University.[3] Skinner and David Baddiel covered the 2006 FIFA World Cup by podcast for The Times, a British broadsheet. The podcasts received a nomination for the 2007 Sony Radio Academy Awards. In May 2006, he appeared as a guest speaker at the Oxford Union. Skinner learned to play the banjo for a celebrity reality show, Play It Again, which was broadcast on the BBC in March 2007. He had 3 months to learn the instrument before competing in a bluegrass festival. Unfortunately for Frank, when it came to the festival, nerves got the better of him and he played very poorly.

In 2007, he announced a new live stand-up tour, his first for 10 years. On 1 May he performed a warm-up gig before a sell-out crowd at the Swindon Arts Centre, and followed this up on 26 May at the 150 capacity Forest Arts, New Milton. His final preview performance was at the Junction Theatre, Cambridge on 29 July. In August Frank returned to the Edinburgh Festival for 2 weeks at The Pleasance, the venue where he won the Perrier Award.

In the Autumn Frank returned to the live circuit performing a 69 date national tour including three sold out homecoming performances at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham which were recorded for a forthcoming DVD.

Skinner returned to ITV to take part in a new show, Tough Gig, which aired on Tuesday 12 June 2007 at 10pm, chronicling his visit to an Osho commune in Dorset.

In November 2008 and in the light of senior broadcasting figures such as ITV boss Michael Grade and Sir Terry Wogan calling for TV to clean up its act regarding use of swear words, Skinner decided to experiment with removing swear words altogether from his stand up live act although stated that it would be a shame if 'clever swearing' was lost.[4] He also stood in for an ill Paul Merton as a team captain on the 21 November edition of Have I Got News For You.[5]

He revealed on 28 November 2008 on the BBC political show This Week that he earns £300,000 a year.

He hosted an episode of Have I Got News For You in April 2009, having also been a guest on the previous series.

In July 2009 he was a member of the Mock the Week panel on the first episode of the new series and also appeared on the second and sixth episodes of the first series of You Have Been Watching. In addition, in October, Frank guest-hosted Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

He hosts Frank Skinner's Credit Crunch Cabaret (a series of comedy variety shows) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 14–30 August 2009.[6]

Absolute Radio

From March 2009 Frank started to present the Saturday Morning Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio with his co-hosts Emily Dean and Gareth Richards, produced by Avalon Television. After an initial 12-week stint proved very popular with the listeners, Skinner's contract was extended until summer 2010.[7]

Opinionated

Frank is recording a pilot for a brand new TV show Opinionated in December 2009. Audience members will be encouraged to voice their opinions on current topics. Frank - host - will be joined by two comedians to help examine both sides of the argument, whilst keeping a very close eye on the funny side.

Personal Life

In September 2009 Frank Skinner was awarded his second honorary degree, from Wolverhampton University. Skinner describes himself as a political liberal, but has called for the re-introduction of the death penalty.[8]

Videography

VHS Releases

  • Frank Skinner — Live (1992)
  • Live At The Apollo (1994)
  • Fantasy Football Video (1994)
  • Just For Laughs — Highlights From The Montreal Comedy Festival (1995)
  • Live At The Palladium (1996)
  • Unseen Fantasy Football (1996)
  • Two Men And A Football — Fantasy Football 3 (1996)
  • The Unseen Frank Skinner Show (1997)
  • More Unseen Fantasy Football (1997)
  • Live In Birmingham (1998)

DVD Releases

References

External links


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