Nigel George Planer (born 22 February 1953 in Westminster, London) is an English actor, comedian, novelist and playwright. Planer is perhaps best known for his role as Neil Pye in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones. He has appeared in many West End musicals, including Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked along side Idina Menzel and Hairspray. He is long time comedy partners with Peter Richardson. He also narrates the children's TV show, Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids.
He was educated at Westminster School, the University of Sussex at Brighton, and LAMDA.
ActingEditPlaner is perhaps best known for his role as Neil, the hippie housemate of Vyvyan (Adrian Edmondson), Rick (Rik Mayall) and Mike (Christopher Ryan) in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones, which ran from 1982–84. Planer was one of the original cast of The Comic Strip team, pioneers of the alternative comedy movement in the UK. This was originally a nightclub stage show; Planer also appeared with its creator Peter Richardson as part of the double act 'The Outer Limits'. Planer and Richardson also wrote the That's Life! parody on Not The Nine O'Clock News. He played Professor Dumbledore in a Harry Potter parody, Harry Potter and the Secret Chamber Pot of Azerbaijan. In 2010, he guest starred as Roger Venables in 'Marple: The Pale Horse' alongside Julia McKenzie, Nicholas Parsons and Lynda Baron.
His first break in the theatre was understudying David Essex as Che Guevara in the original West End run of Evita. Nigel was in the original London cast of Chicago, as Amos Hart. He was a member of the original West End cast of Ben Elton's Queen musical We Will Rock You as Pop. From 10–15 July 2006 he played the part of the narrator in The Rocky Horror Show, taking on the role in Manchester and Bromley. He most recently starred as The Wizard in the West End production of Wicked alongside Idina Menzel at The Apollo Victoria Theatre. He ended his run on 7 June 2008 and was replaced by Desmond Barrit. He recently appeared on a BBC 4 programme under the guise of 'Nicholas Craig' to be interviewed by Mark Lawson. He took over the role of Wilbur from Ian Talbot in the West End production of Hairspray on 2 February 2009.. In 2010, Nigel Planer returned to the role of the Narrator in the UK Tour of The Rocky Horror Show playing in Cambridge and Northampton. Also in 2010, he will feature in Doctor Who: Live touring over the UK, as Vorgenson The Inter-Galactic Showman.
MusicEditNigel was one of the four members of the 1980s spoof rock band, Bad News, playing Den Dennis. As Neil from The Young Ones, Planer gained a number two hit single in 1984 in the form of "Hole in My Shoe", (originally a hit for Sixties band Traffic). A cover of Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" was a less successful follow up, only reaching No.97 in the charts. After that, an album was produced, entitled Neil's Heavy Concept Album. Nigel also took Neil's stage act on the road in that year as Neil in the "Bad Karma in The UK" tour. This culminated in a month-long run at St. Mary's Hall at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Young Ones also appeared on Cliff Richard's 1986 charity rerecording of "Living Doll", which spent three weeks at number one in the UK.
Nigel is the reader for the audiobook editions of many of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. He also appeared in the television adaptations of both Terry Pratchett's Hogfather and The Colour of Magic, and performed as a voice artist in the games Discworld 2 and Discworld Noir. Discworld Audiobooks narrated by Nigel Planer include (with number in parentheses indicating order of the book in the Discworld series): Other voice roles include the narrator of Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids and Dr. Marmalade in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants.
He has two sons from previous marriages: Stanley, with Anna Leigh (married 19 August 1988–95); and Harvey, with Frankie Park (married April 1999–2003).
He is arguably best known in Britain for his work in television comedy and satire, including:
- Boom Boom...Out Go The Lights (1980)
- Shine on Harvey Moon (1982)
- The Young Ones (12 episodes) (1982–84)
- Roll Over Beethoven (1983–84)
- The Comic Strip Presents… (25 episodes) (1983–2005)
- King & Castle (1986–88)
- Filthy Rich & Catflap (6 episodes) (1987)
- Blackeyes by Dennis Potter (1989)
- Frankenstein's Baby (1990)
- Nicholas Craig — The Naked Actor (1990)
- Nicholas Craig's Interview Masterclass (1990)
- Nicholas Craig's Masterpiece Theatre (1992)
- The Nicholas Craig Masterclass (1992)
- Carry On Columbus (1992)
- The Magic Roundabout (English adaptation and narrator on previously unseen episodes)
- Bonjour la Classe (1993)
- Sherlock Holmes (1993)
- Let's Get Divorced (1994)
- Wake Up! With Libby And Jonathan (1994)
- Blackadder the Third
- French & Saunders
- Jonathan Creek
- The Grimleys (1997–2001)
- Wicked (2006–08)
- Terry Pratchett's Hogfather (2006)
- Flood (2007)
- Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic (2008)
- Hairspray (2009)
- M.I.High (2009)
He has published several books including the novels The Right Man (2000) and Faking It (2003). Nigel also wrote A Good Enough Dad (1992) after his first son was born, talking about coping with becoming a father.
Comic Strip FilmographyEdit
- War (3 January 1983) - Tommy/Doc/Ivan/McClowsky/Australian
- The Beat Generation (17 January 1983) - Charles
- Bad News Tour (24 January 1983) - Den Dennis
- Summer School (31 January 1983) - Julian
- Dirty Movie (7 January 1984) - Nigel
- Susie (14 January 1984) - Dave
- A Fistful of Travellers' Cheques (21 January 1984) - Paul
- Slags (11 February 1984) - Marlon
- Private Enterprise (2 January 1986) - Derek
- The Strike (20 February 1988) - Bernard/Old Man/Camp Actor 1
- More Bad News (27 February 1988) - Den Dennis
- Funseekers (26 March 1988) - Tony , Writer (written by)
- South Atlantic Raiders: Part 1 (1 February 1990) - Stan
- South Atlantic Raiders: Part 2 Argie Bargie! (8 February 1990) - Stan
- GLC: The Carnage Continues... (15 February 1990) - TV Presenter
- Oxford (22 February 1990) - Steve's Manager/1st MI5 Man
- Spaghetti Hoops (1 March 1990) - Aldo Vini
- Red Nose of Courage (9 April 1992) - Home Secretary
- The Crying Game (5 May 1992) - Club Chairman/Waiter
- Gregory: Diary of a Nutcase (13 May 1993) - Governor Wilkins
- Demonella (20 May 1993) - Father
- Jealousy (27 May 1993) - Transvestite
- Four Men in a Car (12 April 1998) - Tim
- Four Men in a Plane (4 January 2000) - Tim Goodman
- Sex Actually (28 December 2005) - Graham