Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 12:27 UK
Comedy award suits Paul Whitehouse
Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse as builders Lee and Lance
Paul worked as a plasterer before creating comedy with Harry Enfield

Comedian Paul Whitehouse is celebrating another Bafta award for his BBC TV sketch series with Harry Enfield.

You'll hear his catchphrases quoted everywhere, but few may know Paul began life at Stanleytown in the Rhondda.

His father worked for the coal board while his mother sang with Welsh National Opera, but the family moved to north London when Paul was four.

He first met his Fast Show co-star Charlie Higson at university but they dropped out to work as decorators.

Their big break came when drinking pal and aspiring stand-up comedian Harry Enfield was booked to perform on Channel 4's Saturday Live TV show.

They helped him write sketches for characters such as Stavros the kebab shop owner and Cockney plasterer Loadsamoney.

Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse as Smashie and Nicey
Smashie and Nicey were so close to truth they prompted a radio revolution

When Harry was given his own TV series, Paul joined him on screen to create more classic comedy characters such as the Old Gits, the Self-Righteous Brothers and, most memorable of all, radio DJs Smashie and Nicey.

On the back of this success, Paul and Charlie were given carte blanche to create an even quicker paced sketch programme, and The Fast Show was born.

After several TV series and specials, the cast began touring the nation's theatres, giving characters such as Ron Manager, Ted the gardener and Chris the crafty Cockney a new lease of life.

Paul then gave his comedy writing and acting skills greater scope in series with a more series edge such as Happiness and Help, the latter winning a Bafta award in 2006 for Best Comedy Series, to add to his two previous prizes for The Fast Show in 1998.

Paul Whitehouse in David Copperfield
An appearance in David Copperfield helped demonstrate Paul's versatility

He also turned his hand to serious acting with the role of the pawnbroker in a BBC TV production of the Charles Dickens classic David Copperfield and Sir Cadogan in the big screen adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

But he joined forces once again with his old friend for the Harry and Paul sketch series on BBC One which won the prize for Best Comedy Programme at the 2009 Bafta awards.

Although this was Paul's fourth Bafta, it was the first time Harry had received British TV's most prestigious award in his twenty year career.

Paul's comic creations have been closely and even cruelly observed - Smashie and Nicey were so close to the real thing that they hastened the end of the Radio 1 careers of many of the station's ageing DJs.

Celebrity fans include Hollywood hearthrob Johnny Depp who begged Paul to let him appear in a "Suits You" sketch on The Fast Show.

Paul is still working with Charlie Higson - they produced the award-winning spoof phone-in show Down the Line for BBC Radio 4 and are currently planning a tongue-in-cheek travel series for TV.




SEE ALSO
Wales-made TV series wins Bafta
27 Apr 09 |  Wales
Harry Hill takes Bafta TV prize
27 Apr 09 |  Entertainment

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