Phill Jupitus: Wikis


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Phillip Christopher Jupitus

Phill Jupitus in Edinburgh 2006
Born 25 June 1962 (1962-06-25) (age 47)
Newport, Isle of Wight
Occupation comedian, guitarist, DJ, cartoonist, performance poet, radio and television presenter

Phillip Christopher Jupitus (born 25 June 1962) is an English stand-up and improvised comedian, performance poet, musician and podcaster.

Jupitus has been a team captain on BBC Two's popular music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks since its inception in 1996 and also appears regularly as a guest on several other panel shows, including QI and BBC Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.


Early life

Born Phillip Swan in Newport on the Isle of Wight, he took his stepfather's surname, Jupitus, when he was 16.[1] The shortening of his first name to 'Phill' arose due to his mother's reminders that the name 'Phillip' is spelled with two 'L's, something he carried over to the shorter form.

'Jupitus' is an anglicised version of the original surname Šeputis (pronounced [ʃəputis], shə-POO-tees) — written in the Cyrillic alphabet — ascribed to the Jupitus family by an immigration officer when they migrated to Britain from Lithuania in 1917.

Phill attended Northbury Infants and Junior schools in Barking and later attended Woolverstone Hall School near Ipswich as a boarder on a scholarship.

He took eight O-Level exams, failing four, and enrolled at a Technical College briefly to study at A-Level.

After dropping out of college, he became a civil servant for the then Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) (now the Department for Work and Pensions) working in a Jobcentre.

He now lives with his wife and daughters in Leigh-on-Sea.


During his five years at the DHSS, he began writing political poetry and drawing cartoons in distracted moments. He quit the DHSS in 1984, hopeful of a career move into the music industry.

Using the moniker 'Porky the Poet', he became associated with Anti-Fascist Action and the ranting poetry scene alongside fellow acts Kool Knotes, Swift Nick and Attila the Stockbroker and approached local bands to offer himself as a support act for their tours:

I thought it looked easy, I was very cheap. If you got another band to support you, there are probably four of them and roadies and managers. But me — I just turned up and read poems.

Phill Jupitus, [2]

Both Mark Lamarr and Sean Hughes, with whom he appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, also started their careers as performance poets. He toured the student scene of colleges, universities and student unions supporting bands such as Billy Bragg, The Style Council and The Housemartins.

He supported Billy Bragg once more on the Labour Party sponsored Red Wedge tour in 1985: "In the early 80s, I got involved with Red Wedge, in which Neil Kinnock got various bands to stage concerts for Labour. The reason I got involved was 20% because I believed in the cause, 30% because I loved Billy Bragg, and 50% because I wanted to meet Paul Weller".[3]

After Red Wedge, he found it difficult to get other bookings due to the decline of political poetry as a mainstream art. He joined indie record label "Go! Discs" as a runner, which had signed Billy Bragg and other bands such as The Housemartins.

Bragg has since said: "We ended up managing to get him a job at Go! Discs, which was brilliant. I was concerned that the cut-throat nature of the record business would make him jaded — underneath that rhino exterior there is quite a sensitive person — but that was before I realised that he was going to come back and do gigs again. Working at Go! Discs got his confidence up."[4]

His performances of two of his poems, 'Beano' and 'Nobby' were included in the 1986 Album 'Not Just Mandela' (released on Davy Lamp Records, with all proceeds going to the Anti-Apartheid Movement) alongide tracks by Billy Bragg and Attila the Stockbroker amongst others.[5]

He became press officer and compere for The Housemartins (appearing in the music video for "Happy Hour" in 1986), using the compere role to continue being front of an audience, whilst also taking support slots for other artists. During this time he worked as a warm up act on the Channel 4 TV show The Show. He quit working for Go! in 1989 and fell back on his poetry and compering to try and gain a foothold on the London comedy circuit.

He conceived and directed the Brit-nominated video for Billy Bragg's track "Sexuality" in 1991 and wrote a parody version about bestiality. He also made an appearance alongside R.E.M. in Bragg's "You Woke Up My Neighbourhood" video and on Searchlight magazine's 2006 "Hope Not Hate" campaign tour with Bragg, singing the parody.[citation needed] He has also appeared numerous times at the Glastonbury Festival acting as DJ and compere in The Left Field tent.

Jupitus also produced the music video for Kirsty MacColl's 1991 single release "All I Ever Wanted" from the album Electric Landlady.[6] He appeared at her tribute concert in 2002 as compere and also sang "Fifteen Minutes", one of her songs.[7]

He began hosting his own show on BBC GLR in 1995, a regular job that would last until 2000. After which he embarked on his first stand-up tour of the UK Jedi, Steady, Go, performing the Star Wars story in a "comedic" fashion.[8]

Phill performed at the Reading and Leeds festivals in 2008.

In October 2009, he joined the West End cast of Hairspray playing the role of Edna Turnblad at the Shaftesbury Theatre.[9]


Jupitus was one of the panelists on the first TV episode of the show "Loose Talk" which made a brief transition to television in 1994.

Jupitus' break came in 1996 when he joined BBC Two's pop quiz Never Mind The Buzzcocks as a regular team captain. He also frequently appears on QI as a guest panellist; during the Vodcast for one 2007 episode, he showed off an impressive Dalek impersonation and also has a history of doing impersonations of QI host Stephen Fry while on the show.

His second UK Tour 'Quadrophobia' in 1999 was later released on VHS.

Other works

Phill Jupitus at the 2009 Glastonbury Festival.

His first vinyl recordings were part of the live Newtown Neurotics album "Kickstarting a Backfiring Nation" as Porky The Poet in 1987.

He was the Breakfast DJ on BBC 6 Music from 2002 until 30 March 2007 (the last song played, by listener request, was "Broadway" by The Clash), and made brief returns to the station during the summer of 2007, sitting in for Stephen Merchant on Sunday afternoon and Liz Kershaw on Saturday mornings. In 2010 he publicly criticised the BBC's announcement that it was to discontinue the station, describing the decision as "not only an act of cultural vandalism, it's also an affront to the memory of John Peel and a slap in the face to thousands of licence-payers." [10]

Away from his comedy and DJ work, Jupitus has also worked on Radio 4 as a regular contributor to Loose Ends, News Quiz (where his performances are notable for a range of parody voices), I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Just A Minute, presented 'Best Sellers' - a series on the life and work of Peter Sellers - and wrote and presented 'Disneyfied', a documentary on the work of Walt Disney.

He has presented several editions of the popular 'Top Ten' series for Channel 4, while also joining another "comedy" panel game - It's Only TV But I Like It - as a team captain, alongside Jonathan Ross and Julian Clary.

He has made one appearance in an Episode of Holby City as a patient (Episode titled 'Men are from Mars' Season 4 Episode 3). As a voice actor he has provided the voices for Dandelion in an ITV adaptation of Watership Down and also performing a selection of voices for Rex the Runt by Aardman Animations.

He appeared as a sports journalist in the movie Mike Bassett: England Manager.

Jupitus made a guest appearance on the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band 40th anniversary DVD performing with the band on the track 'Mr. Apollo' and has toured with them around the UK. He appears on the Bonzos' 2007 album Pour l'Amour des Chiens.

He performed with The Blockheads on their 30th anniversary tour in 2007 and has done so sporadically since Ian Dury's death, also appearing in Dury's place for Drip Fed Fred during the Madness concert at Wembley Arena shortly before Dury's death.

He co-wrote and starred in the play Waiting For Alice with Andre Vincent which had a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The world premiere took place on 16 July 2007 at the St. Ives Theatre in Cornwall, a regular holiday spot of his for the last 25 years.

He is also a continuity announcer for the UKTV channel Dave during the channel's evening schedule. During 2008 he did the voice over work for Dave's show 'Batteries Not Included'. He has appeared on Dave's show 'Argumental', where team captain Marcus Brigstocke made him laugh so hard he fell off his chair and took a long time to recover. Jupitus and Brigstocke were reunited on the Radio 4 show (hosted by Brigstocke) "I've Never Seen Star Wars", where Jupitus tried out things that he'd never tried out before such as eating a Findus Crispy Pancake, undergoing a colonic irrigation, and shaving another person's head. They will be reunited again in the UK tour of Totally Looped where they will perform together at Brighton Theatre Royal, Portsmouth Southsea Kings and Victoria Halls, Stoke in Spring 2009.

Jupitus has also appeared on the Radio 4 show The Unbelievable Truth twice.

Jupitus is a regular guest with the Comedy Store Players.

Since August 2008 he has become the new host of the Times football podcast "The Game", replacing the previous co-hosts Gabriele Marcotti and Guillem Balague, although Marcotti will still be the regular pundit on the show.

Since September 2008 Jupitus has produced a weekly podcast along with Phil Wilding, who produced his BBC 6Music show, called Phill And Phil's Perfect Ten. The popular podcast is released for free on the pair's website and itunes every fortnight.

In December 2008 Jupitus took part as a guest presenter on RTE's comical topical discussion show The Panel (Irish TV series) [11]

He is currently starring in a UK tour of the hit American improv show, Totally Looped[12].

In 2002, Phill Jupitus was a stand-in presenter on BBC Radio 2 as he sat in for Steve Wright while he was away on holiday.

During the 2008 Major League Baseball season, Jupitus presented a feature during the seventh inning stretch of Channel Five's featured Sunday night game. Each week he'd read a section or quote from one of his favourite baseball related books. He is fan of the Boston Red Sox and has their logo tattooed on his arm.

On Friday 13th/Saturday 14 February 2009 Jupitus co-hosted the first BadMovieClub[13] on Twitter. At midnight exactly, over 2,000 Twitter users simultaneously pressed 'Play' on the film 'The Happening' and continued to 'Tweet' whilst watching, creating a collective viewing experience which generated 40,000 'tweets' in under 2 hours. The first showing took place at 9pm, hosted by Graham Linehan.

In April 2009, archive episodes of Phill And Phil's Perfect Ten were made available on audible and itunes as audiobook bundles of 4 with bonus 'perfect ones' attached.

Personal quotes

One of the most positive and surprising reactions we got from the listeners was when one morning we had been told to play the new U2 single at 8pm. When we asked why we had to do this, our beaming controller said: ‘Because every radio station is!’ Which wasn't really a reason. We started to play it and it was pretty much business as usual with the lads. Chiming electric guitars and Bono upset about something. After a minute I took it off, saying: ‘Right, I imagine it carries on like that, but if you want to hear the rest of it tune in to Terry Wogan. I work for you lot, not U2's record company, and I'm sure that Bono would fully support me in my stance against external oppression … these are The Futureheads.’ I braced myself for the deluge of emails. After just two pissy emails from U2 fans, dozens said well done, because in their words ‘that's what 6 Music is supposed to be about'.[14]


  1. ^ "Phill Jupitus: You ask the questions". The Independent. 2002-03-13. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  2. ^ Giving It Large standupcom Magazine Chris Wilson 1999
  3. ^ Home Entertainment - Phill Jupitus The Guardian 1 December 2000
  4. ^ How we met - Billy Bragg & Phill Jupitus The Independent on Sunday Tony Naylor 18 April 2004
  5. ^ [1]Not Just Mandela accessed 25 May 2009
  6. ^ Connections - J is for.. accessed 19 November 2006
  7. ^ The whole story from Kirsty's tribute. 23 September 2002
  8. ^ Who is Phill Jupitus accessed 19 November 2006
  9. ^ Photo Flash Belinda Carlisle and Phill Jupitus are west end Hairspray Bound
  10. ^ "Killing BBC 6 Music would be a slap in the face to licence-payers". 
  11. ^
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ BadMovieClub website
  14. ^ "Killing BBC 6 Music would be a slap in the face to licence-payers". 

External links

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