1974-03-05

MATTHEW RICHARD LUCAS, a British comedy actor, was born. He is perhaps best known for his acclaimed work with David Walliams in the U.K. television sketch show Little Britain and spoof interview series, Rock Profile, as well as for his portrayal of the surreal score-keeping baby George Dawes in the Reeves and Mortimer comedy panel game Shooting Stars.

In July 2006 he was placed 9th in the list of the UK’s 100 Most Influential Gays and Lesbians, in fields as diverse as entertainment, business, politics, and science, by the British newspaper The Independent. He studied drama at the University of Bristol and is a former member of both the National Youth Music Theatre and the National Youth Theatre.

His career in comedy began on the London stand-up comedy circuit at the age of eighteen as Sir Bernard Chumley, legendary actor and raconteur — a character who was to appear later in Little Britain. Lucas’ association with Reeves and Mortimer began in 1992, when he was spotted by Bob Mortimer on stage.

In 1994, Lucas appeared in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. The second series of the show featured Lucas in several sketches. He went on to star with them in Shooting Stars. He quickly rose to fame as George Dawes, the giant baby, who would deliver a string of meaningless gags (often in character) and insults before delivering the score, while sitting at and playing a drum kit. Many of these parts were introduced not in the style of a baby, but of a grown man — indeed, often, he would come on dressed as a specific adult such as Elton John.

Lucas has also written for Ali G and Borat actor Sacha Baron Cohen. Lucas ventured into the world of stage musicals in 2002, when he took one of the main roles in Boy George’s musical Taboo, at The Venue, London. He played the part of infamous performance artist Leigh Bowery, which required him to wear some outrageous and spectacular outfits and make-up. In 2005, he took his first role in a television drama, a supporting part as a Venetian Duke in the BBC historical serial Casanova, written by Russell T. Davies.

Since 2006, Lucas has been the voice of the radio and television character Digit Al, devised as part of a public information campaign on digital switch-over. In November 2006 he appeared on the BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs.

Little Britain is Lucas’ most successful work. Originally a BBC Radio 4 show, it later became a TV series. Little Britain has won numerous TV awards, spawning large DVD sales and merchandising. It plays heavily on memorable catchphrases which have become ingrained in playgrounds and offices around the UK. Lucas plays four of the most popular characters in the series, which he writes and acts in along with David Walliams; apparently disabled Andy Pipkin, teenage Vicky Pollard, ‘bottom enthusiast’ Daffyd Thomas and fat fighter Marjorie Dawes.

In December 2006, Lucas and long-term partner TV producer Kevin McGee were joined in a Civil Partnership ceremony in London. Guests at the service included Walliams as well as Dale Winton and comic Rob Brydon. The ceremony was kept fairly formal, with male guests wearing suits but the evening reception had the guests dressed in pantomime costumes. Evening guests included a hugely broad cross-section of stars from the worlds of television, comedy, music, theatre and the arts.

Lucas was the first celebrity to make an appearance in 2008’s Big Brother Celebrity Hijack on E4, working alongside Big Brother in a series containing housemates aged 18-21 with various talents. Lucas and Wlliams’ most recent project has been creating a version of Little Britain for the US market. Both actors have also been bravely taking on various straight-acting roles to much acclaim.