Angus Deayton
Angus d
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Appearance type: Host
Broader curriculum vitae
Profession: Actor, Comedian, Writer, Broadcaster, Musician

Angus Deayton (born 6 January 1956) is an English actor, writer, musician, comedian and television presenter. He is best-known as the presenter of the satirical panel game Have I Got News For You , a job from which he was fired in October 2002 after a second round of tabloid revelations about his personal life.

Early lifeEdit

Deayton was brought up in Surrey and attended Caterham School. He showed early promise as a footballer, and had a trial with Crystal Palace. He was also captain of the Caterham U16 Rugby team. But a sporting career was not to be, and he read languages at New College, Oxford, where he was recruited into the Oxford Revue, performing with them at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This led to the creation of the parody band The Hee Bee Gee Bees in 1980. Their best selling single Meaningless Songs (plus the B-side Posing in the Moonlight) was a parody of the falsetto style of countless disco hits from pop group the Bee Gees. The parody songs were written by Richard Curtis and Philip Pope.

Career in TelevisionEdit

Angus Deayton

The foundation of Deayton's career was a parody of British radio stations, Radio Active, transmitted on BBC Radio 4 between 1981 and 1987, in which he both co-wrote and performed. It transferred to television as KYTV between 1989 and 1993. During this period, Deayton was also frequently seen appearing as a straight man alongside Rowan Atkinson; and starred with Atkinson in two separate roles (a pool attendant and a man on a park bench) in one of the earliest episodes of Mr. Bean. He also appeared opposite Atkinson in the Black Adder episode "Born to be King" (1983) as one of the Jumping Jews of Jerusalem, a kind of mediaeval variety act. He also appeared regularly in comedy sketches on Alexei Sayle's Stuff.

In 1990 Deayton was cast as the Meldrews' neighbour Patrick Trench in the British suburban sitcom One Foot in the Grave and was selected as the host of Have I Got News For You .

Deayton's suave manner as host of Have I Got News For You and a tabloid kiss-and-tell story by an ex-girlfriend led to him being nicknamed "TV's Mr Sex" in 2002. He was much in demand as a presenter of television specials including the BBC's New Year's Eve show and the BAFTA Awards. He also featured in a series of advertisements for credit cards and the films Savage Hearts and Elizabeth. He was in one episode of Coupling where he appeared in a fantasy sequence alongside Mariella Frostrup.

In May 2002, the News of the World newspaper published allegations of his (adulterous) use of a prostitute and illegal drugs. He was ridiculed mercilessly by Paul Merton and Ian Hislop, (as well as Ken Livingstone and comedian Dave Gorman) in the following episode of Have I Got News For You , but was allowed to continue as presenter. After a second round of allegations emerged in the papers the following October, Deayton was fired as presenter two episodes into the new series of Have I Got News For You . Since then, the show has been hosted by a different guest presenter each week.

Deayton is associated with the Comic Relief/Sport Relief charity and has featured in many of its TV broadcasts.

After being forced out of Have I Got News For You , he continued to work on other projects including a new episode of Radio Active which was broadcast in December 2002. In 2003, he guest-starred as Downing Street's top spin doctor in an episode of the BBC comedy Absolute Power, starring Stephen Fry and John Bird. He starred in BBC comedy Nighty Night which was shown from January 2004. A few months later, he made a return to presenting with ITV's cookery reality show Hell's Kitchen and then the light-hearted quiz Bognor or Bust. In January 2006 he hosted an ITV show based upon self-help videos called Help Your Self.

Deayton appeared for the England team as a second-half substitute in the Soccer Aid football match in support of UNICEF on May 27, 2006.

He also co-presented the BBC Sport Relief charity programme Only Fools on Horses in July 2006.

In 2007 he made an acting appearance in Casualty, playing an exaggerated version of himself in a Comic Relief-related storyline.

Deayton returned to the BBC in June 2007 hosting a new TV comedy panel game, Would I Lie To You?. In November 2007, he was censured by the BBC for making a "pungently personal" joke about Sir Jimmy Savile and his late mother on the show.

Deayton was also selected by ITV to be the host of the third series of Hell's Kitchen, which started broadcasting on September 3, 2007 at 9:00pm.

He also presents Comedy Sketchbook, a nostalgic look at classic comedy sketches, on BBC1.

Personal lifeEdit

At Oxford he was involved with the actress Helen Atkinson-Wood (a co-star on Radio Active and KYTV) and later lived with the 1970s singer/songwriter Stephanie de Sykes. Since the early 1990s he has been involved with the scriptwriter Lise Mayer, and they have a son named Isaac.

Deayton is a Manchester United supporter, and a good friend of former player and current coach Brian McClair.


In May 2002 the British tabloid newspaper News of the World published allegations about Deayton's relationship with a prostitute, Caroline Martin, and use of cocaine. After this his salary was reduced by the BBC. In October there were further reports of a long-standing affair, and he was asked to step down as the quiz master of Have I Got News For You on 29 October 2002.

The BBC said his position as a satirical commentator on the week's news had become untenable. Some viewers suggested that—as his position was essentially that of an actor reading a script—he should have been allowed to continue, especially because some of the previous guests on the show had been guilty of more serious infractions in their private and professional lives. However, other viewers argued that as a staple along with Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, he was not entitled to have such a controversial private life and then criticise others for such dealings on the show. Many took the view that the two regular panellists on Have I Got News For You , Merton and Hislop, contributed to his downfall; both by failing to offer Deayton support and by mercilessly pillorying him about the revelations, most memorably on the show immediately following the scandal appearing in the tabloid press. When Merton was asked by Michael Parkinson whether he had stabbed Deayton in the back, he replied "No, we stabbed him in the front". Other panellists, such as Stephen Fry, have supported Deayton by refusing to appear on the show again.

External linksEdit