Angus Deayton - Entertaining Speaker
Gordon Angus Deayton, nicknamed Perkins, was born in 1956 and raised in Surrey by his father, a Prudential manager and his mother, a cookery teacher.
An early interest in football led to a trial with Crystal Palace when he was 12, but didn’t materialise and he went on to study French and German at New College, Oxford University. Joining in the comedy circuit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Angus was soon recruited as part of a spoof Bee Gees band, the ‘Hee Bee Gee Bees’.
Unbelievably the band even sold a single and went to number two of the Australian chart with “Meaningless Songs in Very High Voices” written by Four Weddings fame Richard Curtis.
To the box
Deayton also appeared in ‘You’ll Have Had Your Tea By Now’ in Edinburgh. Between 1981 and 1987 he wrote and featured in a spoof Radio show on Radio Four, then adapted to TV as KYTV, a precursor to The Day Today. Deayton also collaborated with comedy colleagues Alexei Sayle and Rowan Atkinson for whom he played the ‘straight man’ on stage in his ‘Not Just A pretty Face Tour’ in London’s West End, Australia and Broadway, as well as in the ‘Just For Laughs’ at Montreal Comedy Festival. He even appeared in episodes of Atkinson’s legendary Mr Bean. In 1990 Deayton took on the role of grumpy Victor Meldrew’s long-suffering neighbour Patrick Trench in One Foot in the Grave and beat Sandy Togsvig to host Have I Got News for You.
Angus hit the big time with Have I Got News For You. His particular brand of sarcasm and cutting edge wit made him an instant favourite with the comedy news panel show. In 1993 a kiss’n’tell story by an ex-girlfriend earned him the moniker of “TV’s Mr Sex, a strangely prophetic tag that would spell his demise nine years later. By 2002 Angus’ eleven-year tenure on HIGNFY ended after 23 series, following two separate scandals, which were highlighted in the tabloid press. The BBC asked for his resignation saying that his job as a satirical commentator was no longer reasonable.
Awards a go go
Angus took home his first TV comedy awards in 1992 when he won Best Entertainment Programme and Best Entertainment Series at the British Comedy Awards, Best Comedy Performer and Best Television Comedy at the British Press Guild, a BAFTA for the Best Light Entertainment Show. Three years later he scooped the BBC’s TV Personality of The Year. He had also picked up a few gongs for his radio work before. After co-writing and appearing in Radio Active he earned a Premier Ondas Award in 1983, a Sony Award For Best Radio Comedy in 1982 and a British Press Guild for Best Radio Comedy in 1981.
He still works as a presenter on shows like Before They Were Famous and TV Hell, although it’s long way from presenting BAFTA’s or the BBC’s New Year’s Eve show… Radio work is continuing too with new episodes of Radio Active in 2002 and he starred in BBC comedy Nighty Night in 2004. His big career comeback though was presenting ITV’s reality cooking show Hell’s Kitchen followed by Bognor Or Bust.