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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 10:01 GMT
Russell Brand's colourful career
Russell Brand
Brand is famous for his trademark hair and dress sense

Instantly recognisable with his backcombed hair, tight-trousered bohemian costume and his old-fashioned turn-of-phrase, Russell Brand has enjoyed a colourful career to date.

His CV is marred by sackings and tabloid headlines - but he was out to prove he had grown up as he hosted the Brit Awards, which were broadcast live for the first time in eight years.

Russell Brand effectively tried to scupper his own career at every turn, from being asked to leave his first stage school to being fired from his first big TV and radio shows.

The majority of his erratic behaviour was down to his growing dependence on drink and drugs - crack and smack being the narcotics of choice during his early career.

But after an intervention from his agent, he went to rehab and finally got his career back on track, a career that has been rising ever since.

Brand, 31, attended the well-regarded Italia Conti theatre school, famous for turning out many a girl band member and TV actor.

Erratic behaviour

He managed to secure some small TV roles but in his own words he was asked to leave the school, having already started on his destructive streak.

He still landed a scholarship at a drama college in London where he began working on his stand-up routine, which he performed in pubs.

But once again his erratic behaviour forced the hand of teachers, who asked him to leave.

Russell Brand
Brand has joined the Comic Relief line-up

Brand got himself an agent and did a run at the Edinburgh Festival, a grounding for many of the great stand-ups.

He was hired by MTV to present the Dance Floor Chart show, but he was sacked in disgrace after turning up for work dressed as Osama Bin Laden the day after the 11 September attacks.

Brand landed his own show on London station XFM but was also fired from that after crossing the boundaries of decency, which once again Brand put down to his drug abuse.

Another low came when he was hired for the BBC's Cruise of the Gods comedy, alongside Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and David Walliams.

After getting caught brawling in a lap dancing club during filming on location he was sent home - drink this time was the cause.

Transformation

But an intervention by celebrity 'superagent' John Noel straightened him out, sending him to rehab for three months in 2003.

Brand says he been clean and sober since, attending Narcotics Anonymous - now a stipulation in his E4 contracts. He is also patron of drug treatment charity Focus 12.

His transformation began as host of E4's Big Brother discussion show E4forum, now called Big Brother's Big Mouth.

He also got his own show on 6Music, the BBC's digital rock station.

Some eight months later there was surprise in some quarters when he was taken on at Radio 2 to present a Saturday night slot. Lesley Douglas, controller of Radio 2, called Brand at the time a "genuine radio talent".

And then he was handed the reins of the Brits from Chris Evans, charged with keeping an auditorium full of boozed up music stars in line live on primetime terrestrial television.


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